Emergency Management Acts

Wednesday December 01, 2021

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:12): My question is to the Premier. Premier, once the Emergency Management Act lapses do the directions given under that act also lapse?

The Hon. S.S. MARSHALL (Dunstan—Premier) (15:13): The Emergency Management Act remains in place. What we have coming to a conclusion now is the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, but the Emergency Management Act, you're quite right, is essentially the main piece of legislation that we have in the South Australian parliament to control how we deal with all state emergencies. The State Coordinator is appointed under that act, who is, of course, the police commissioner.

That major emergency declaration is renewed every 28 days on a recommendation from the police commissioner, but it needs to be accepted by the cabinet, and ultimately it goes to the Governor. That remains in place for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, as I said yesterday in the parliament, we will have a look at revising the Emergency Management Act because it was never envisaged for emergencies that went over 19, 20, 21 months. It was really more for a flood or a fire.

With regard to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, which was passed and concludes, I think, today or yesterday, that had a series of powers, some of which were relevant initially, some which were no longer relevant, some where we have found other ways of delivering those on a continuing basis and some which we just didn't feel we needed going forward.

As I said yesterday, on balance, we didn't feel that we needed to extend that. Back in August, a different situation, we did argue prudently to extend it through until next year, but a lot of work has been done since that time, of course. I think we as a state find ourselves in a much better position now than where we were in August because of the great partnership we have with the people of South Australia, the high vaccination rate. So for all of those reasons, we formed the opinion that we wouldn't be seeking an extension to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act.