New South Australian premier has big plans for state’s public sector

By Chris Johnson

March 21, 2022

Peter Malinauskas
Peter Malinauskas led a landslide Labor victory at SA’s weekend’s state election. (AAP Image/Matt Turner)

South Australia’s 47th premier has flagged a broad policy agenda for the state, with public sector reform high on his list of priorities.

Peter Malinauskas led a landslide Labor victory at the weekend’s state election and was sworn in as premier today.

His initial remarks indicate that the state’s health, education, emergency services, energy, and housing bureaucracies should brace for a significant shakeup.

First in his sights is post-pandemic recovery, with the new premier promising substantial changes.

“It is my ambition to amend the Emergency Management Act. It is not fit for purpose for a pandemic that lasts two years,” he said.

The state’s COVID restrictions and regulations will be closely scrutinised, with numerous adjustments expected. 

Health policy was central to Labor’s campaign and the leadership of SA Health is now on notice.

The state’s ambulance service should expect particular attention. Ambulance delays and resulting deaths plagued Steven Marshall’s first-term Liberal government in the last weeks of the election campaign.

Marshall has resigned as Liberal party leader.

Malinauskas has vowed to implement wide-sweeping changes. 

“Our policy agenda is broad,” he said.

Our policy agenda is broad. We have a plan for hydrogen, we have a plan for three-year-old preschool, we have a plan for educational reform that is long, going from preschool to tertiary education.

“We have a plan for our health system, we have got a big housing policy. This is a very substantial agenda.”

When it comes to the state’s public service, it seems few agencies will escape scrutiny.

The new premier has signalled serious challenges ahead.

“Clearly, the task before us is very substantial, we’ve got a number of issues that we’d like to address within the community,” Malinauskas said.

“Some are going to be difficult, some are going to be challenging and take some time, others are particularly urgent.

“But it’s a task that we are wholeheartedly committed to.”

Malinauskas said while he wants to govern by consensus, he will not roll over for the prime minister Scott Morrison

“I will work collaboratively with any government of any persuasion that is willing to do the right thing by South Australia, plain and simple,” he said.

“If there are examples of where the federal Coalition want to do something good by our state, I will acknowledge it.

“But I’m not going to be ScoMo’s quokka either. If they do something I don’t agree with, I will stand and fight for South Australia’s interest.”

The new premier also intends on returning the Adelaide 500 V8 Supercars to the capital city’s streets by the end of the year, suggesting a renewed attention to tourism and events.

The annual Adelaide 500 racing event had a 22 -year history and usually took place in February and March, but the South Australian Tourism Commission withdrew its support in 2020. 

“We congratulate Peter Malinauskas and his team on their victory in the South Australian election,” Supercars CEO Shane Howard said.

“We now look forward to working together to deliver the Adelaide 500 on the streets of Adelaide in December in what will be a spectacular season finale.”

South Australia’s new government will feature a number of women, with much of Labor’s wins on Saturday being thanks to savvy campaigns from young progessive women.

Seats won included the electorates of Adelaide, Newland, Elder, King, Davenport and Gibson, all by women candidates.

“I stand here today as the leader of a modern Labor Party that reflects our society, a very high proportion of female members of parliament,” the new premier said.

“This is what modern Labor looks like.”


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