Cross-Border Permits

Thursday March 18, 2021

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:12): My question is to the Premier. Can the Premier inform the house how long the cross-border permit system will be in place?

The Hon. S.S. MARSHALL (Dunstan—Premier) (15:12): The cross-border arrangements are put in place by a direction of the State Coordinator. The State Coordinator is the police commissioner, who is acting in that role during this major emergency declaration. We have those cross-border registration requirements for a good reason—so that we can track people coming into South Australia should there be an outbreak. It has been a very, very effective mechanism to date. Obviously, this has caused some inconvenience in the community, but we think that it is a very important frontline measure for keeping our state safe.

I would say, though, that as the vaccine rollout continues the Transition Committee and indeed the police commissioner will look at all the restrictions that we have in place. It's quite possible that he will ease those requirements going forward. This was in many ways our first line of defence, especially when we saw that devastating second wave go through Victoria. I note that the member for Mount Gambier was really on the frontline—absolutely on the frontline. It was enormously inconvenient for his electorate and also the member for MacKillop's electorate.

What I can say, though, is the dedication of the local people who live in those cross-border areas and their adherence to the requirement has actually kept our state safe. It has kept the South-East safe. That is a very important part of our state. It is a very attractive part of our state. It is a very productive part of our state. We note that in Victoria there were very serious ramifications, and indeed loss of life, due to that devastating second wave. The communities in the South-East were extraordinarily inconvenienced, but by and large they were happy to do that to keep the South-East safe.

As the risk diminishes, I think it is a reasonable expectation to ask: when can we further remove those restrictions? I'm happy to go back to the police commissioner and get some advice but, at this point, he hasn't given any indication that they will be removing it. However, as I said, as the vaccine rollout goes on I'm quite sure we will be looking to ease restrictions commensurate with the risk.