Four sisters at the centre of an international custody dispute must be sent back to Italy, a Family Court judge has ruled.
The girls' mother last week launched an application in the Family Court in Brisbane for the discharge of an order for the girls to return to Europe, where their father lives.
The sisters, aged nine to 15, attracted international media attention in May when they went into hiding to avoid a 2011 Family Court order to have the custody dispute settled in Italy.
The sisters, who hold dual Italian-Australian citizenship, travelled to Australia with their mother in 2010 for a one-month holiday and have remained here since.
During last week's hearing, the mother's legal team argued that the return order should be discharged because it was made more than 12 months ago and the girls had settled in Australia.
But the Department of Child Safety said the court was bound by the Hague Convention on child abduction.
Discharging the order wouldn't be fair on other families who had honoured the convention, it argued.
Justice Colin Forrest on Wednesday ruled there were insufficient exceptional circumstances to allow the girls to remain in Australia.