Transcript - Adelaide Press Conference

8:50AM ACST

JOSH TEAGUE

Well, good morning and may I say, welcome to Heysen and on behalf of Member for Kavel, Dan Cregan and I, we are absolutely delighted to have the Deputy Prime Minister and the Premier here this morning to see the tremendous transformation that’s going on here at the South Eastern Freeway. We’re seeing a once-in-a-generation upgrade and after seeing works commencing during the course of last year and now well advanced, we can see just what a transformation is being made, which is making safer and quicker and better all-around for the 54,000-plus users of this stretch of the road every day. Dan, this is a fantastic development.

DAN CREGAN

Thank you, Josh. It is an absolute pleasure to be here with the Premier and Deputy Prime Minister, as Josh mentioned and also the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Corey Wingard. 54,000 people travel on the South Eastern Freeway every day, many from my community and we are seeing the improvements in safety and of course, the refurbishment of the tunnel which we will touch upon this morning, it is a very significant investment from the Commonwealth and the State and we’re very proud to be seeing this work come to completion. I think 50 per cent of the work is completed in regards to the road surfacing.

COREY WINGARD

Yes, look, thank you again. It is great to have the Deputy Prime Minister here and the wonderful partnership that we’ve forged with the Federal Government and all the projects we are delivering. As has been pointed out, the resurfacing project here, some $35 million upgrading the deep asphalt replacement here of the South Eastern Freeway and we know how important it is and we’re going right the way, of course, through to Crafers as well. In the more recent Budget as well, we thank again the Federal Government for their partnership with us on upgrading the Heysen Tunnels. We know this is a key piece of infrastructure here in South Australia. It hasn’t been given any love for a long, long period of time and we’re going to be getting that up to a national standard as well, so we thank them very much for their partnership on that.

But since January this year we’ve started $680 million worth of road projects across South Australia and that couldn’t be done without the great partnership with the Federal Government. What we’ve done is put the planning in place, worked with the Federal Government, identified the areas that need to be improved and we’ve gone about delivering on those projects. No fake fights, we’re getting on with the job of partnering with the Federal Government. And with that, of course, we’ve seen through Infrastructure South Australia and Infrastructure Australia, more projects go on the IA list for South Australia. So, we’re very much in lockstep and again, you know in the most recent Budget, $3-billion plus came South Australia’s way. We got 22 per cent of the new infrastructure spend coming to our state and we’re very, very grateful for that.

Again, I don’t want to harp on it, but it is that partnership that’s made this happen and we are truly grateful for that relationship. Of course, that new spend, we have got a pipeline of works now, roughly $1 billion a year over next four years, which is significant spending on infrastructure here in South Australia. You’ll know as you go through the city a number of projects that are well and truly underway – Goodwood, Springbank, I drove up through there on the way here today. That project’s going amazingly well. But then through our regions you’ll also see lots of projects happening there – the Joy Baluch AM Bridge is a great project that’s travelling along really nicely. Also out of Port Wakefield Road, big projects happening there. And then there’s the road safety works as well, again, that we’ve identified, worked with the Federal Government on. They’ve put a big suite of money on the table for all the states to deliver and we have been doing an outstanding job in that area.

So, if you are travelling through our regions, we’d love to see people out in our regions and spending money in our regions, holidaying in our regions. You will notice roadworks. We do say to people it may slow you down a little bit, you may have a little bit of inconvenience, but we don’t apologise for that because we know it’s important to get these road safety projects done – road shoulders, audio tactile line marking, barriers. They make our roads safer and make sure people get home to their families so they can spend more time with their loved ones. With that, I’ll hand over to the Premier to say a few words.

STEVEN MARSHALL

Thanks very much, Minister. It’s great to have Michael McCormack back in South Australia. He’s a great friend of our State. He’s out selling the Federal Government’s Budget and what a Budget it is to sell – a fantastic Budget. It’s received a lot of extraordinarily positive feedback, especially around the continuation of the infrastructure spend and we’ve been the beneficiary of that here in South Australia. We’ve cut out all the fake fights with Canberra. We’ve sat down, we’ve talked about our plans, our aspirations, shared those with the Commonwealth and they have joined with us in delivering an infrastructure boom in South Australia – $16.7 billion worth of projects underway in South Australia at the moment and the Federal Government’s Budget just means that that pipeline is going to continue for a very long period of time.

Today we’re just celebrating $680 million worth of projects which have started since the beginning of this year. Joint projects between the Federal Government and the state government delivering upgrades to 1,500 kilometres here in our state. That’s like driving from here to Melbourne and almost back again. That’s the amount of work that is being done in South Australia that has started in South Australia since the beginning of this year. That’s supporting 2,500 jobs. So, we’re very grateful to the Federal Government. They’ve been able to lean into the opportunity to upgrade our infrastructure across Australia. We’re very pleased with our share that we’ve got in South Australia and we’re doing it at a time of historically very, very low interest rates. So, it’s a good time. It’s creating jobs but most importantly, it’s improving our road networks, which means that people are getting home faster, they’re getting to work faster, productivity is improving and so is road safety.

With those words of introduction and grateful thanks, I now introduce the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Michael McCormack.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, thank you Premier and I do appreciate being here with Minister Corey Wingard and local Members Josh and Dan. Ninety-three deaths last year in South Australia, 715 injuries. Seven hundred and fifteen injuries, the families of those people who’ve suffered those injuries, the families of those who are now no longer with us, they will live forever with those scars, with that emotional trauma. They know how important road safety is. We all have an obligation, we all have a duty when we’re on the roads to do the right thing. Unfortunately, we all see too often those people who have lost their lives. We’re all effected in some way, shape or form. We all know someone who’s lost their life or been injured permanently on our roads and we want to make sure that as best we can to put in the infrastructure to avoid those unnecessary crashes.

We are working towards Vision Zero. This little yellow badge represents National Road Safety Week. We launched it here in Adelaide last night. It’s an important measure. It’s an important week. It’s important to remember that those people who’ve gone before us and are now no longer with us, that empty chair at the Christmas table, that person who’s not there for the weddings or the family events they otherwise would have been.

So, I met with of course, Vincent Tarzia last night. I had Scott Buchholz, who is the Assistant Minister for Road Safety in the national Parliament. We take it so seriously we’ve got a particular portfolio in that area and I know how important Corey Wingard takes road safety and road safety infrastructure. And that’s why South Australia, $252 million – more than a quarter of a billion dollars – of road safety upgrades. You’ve heard Minister Wingard mention the audio tactile lines, you heard him mention rumble strips, you heard him talk about those little things which make such a difference, particularly on our regional roads and I’m very pleased as a regional Minister that much of South Australia’s national road safety upgrades are going into – the first tranche – are going into regional roads where, all too often, regional people are over-represented in those road toll statistics.

So, it is Vision Zero, of course, so we all should remember this week in National Road Safety Week but every time we get behind the wheel of a car to make sure we do the right thing, we do the responsible thing, not just for ourselves and our families but for other road users, for those other people we don’t know, complete strangers. Do the right thing and we’ll all get home sooner and safer.

But as Premier Marshall has just indicated, $680 million of infrastructure being put down since January 1 this year, being built, being constructed and here the Heysen Tunnels, 50,000 tonnes of asphalt being laid, being replaced and making sure the Heysen Tunnels can continue to do the great job that they’ve done since 2000, can continue to get that volume of traffic – tens of thousands of vehicle movements each and every day – getting people home sooner and safer, getting people to their business, getting people to where they need to be.

And of course, you heard him mention 1,500 kilometres of roadways but, perhaps more importantly – and I pay, you know, due diligence and due homage to all those people wearing the hi-vis because they are helping us along with 2,500 other workers put those necessary workers in these construction sites and we’re very thankful to those hi-vis workers. They are building the South Australia of the here and now but of the future. South Australia is a great place in which to live and we want it to have the very best infrastructure so that more people can come and enjoy the lifestyle that South Australia offers.

Of course, it’s been very difficult with coronavirus, but certainly agriculture, resources and construction have led the way through this, to make sure that people are in work, to make sure that construction is happening. And I’m very, very pleased to be able to work with Corey Wingard. He’s one of the very best Ministers. We’re on the phone regularly every week making sure that what South Australia wants, needs, contests, demands and most of all, deserves, he’s getting it, because Corey is a doer. He is a builder and he’s building a better South Australia with the Liberal Government here. I pay every compliment to Steven Marshall and his team for wanting to put these road safety upgrades in place, for getting the workers in the construction sites and for building a better South Australia.

JOURNALIST

Deputy Prime Minister, with your infrastructure hat on, is the Federal Government 100 per cent committed to the north-south corridor upgrade no matter what the cost?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, we want to make sure that we build the construction that South Australia wants, needs, expects, demands, deserves and expects. That’s what I said earlier. And yes, we want to build this particular important corridor. We want South Australians to get where they need to be sooner and safer. And I’ll always work with governments of any political persuasion. Very happy to work with the Marshall Liberal Government because they are getting on with making sure that they get the projects that have gone through IA, they get the projects that they’ve prioritised and indeed, as Corey and I just discussed, if they can bring any projects forward then I’m happy to play ball in that regard. Happy to play ball with any state or both the territories if they do want to bring construction forward to talk with them to do just that.

JOURNALIST

That $1.1 billion that’s left to cover the north-south corridor after this [inaudible] money?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, it’s a 10-year rolling program. We’ve got $110 billion of money at the moment that we’ve committed over the next decade. And that’s supporting 100,000 workers. In the Budget, $15.2 billion of additional projects supporting 30,000 extra jobs. They’re big numbers. They’re big numbers. But what they equate to is building a better Australia. What they equate to is building a better South Australia. And I’m happy to work with Corey, to work with the Marshall Government. I know that they’re committed to making sure that they’ve got workers on site on the ground on these important projects, whether they’re in the heart of Adelaide or indeed, in the most remotest part, in Rowan Ramsey’s electorate. I’m more than happy to work with them to build a better South Australia and that’s what I do. Thankfully from South Australia’s point of view we’ve got a very good Finance Minister in Canberra. His name is Simon Birmingham and he’s from South Australia and he and I work very closely to make sure that South Australia gets, I’d say, more than their fair share.

JOURNALIST

Deputy Prime Minister, it’s almost a week on from Josh Frydenberg delivering his Federal Budget. Are you satisfied and do you think that that document is resonating with the Australian electorate?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Yes. A big yes. Capital Y, capital E, capital S. Absolutely, yes. I know Josh Frydenberg’s in Adelaide this morning talking at a business chamber event. I know that he’s there with James Stevens and I know that he’s talking up the Budget. But it’s not just Josh, myself and others talking up the Budget, it’s households right across South Australia, it’s households right across the nation, talking up the Budget and they know there’s something in it for them. They know that whether they’re particularly interested in aged care, particularly interested in defence, particularly interested in childcare outcomes, whether they’re farmers, whether they’re industry, no matter what area of endeavour you are engaged in in Australia or whether, indeed, you’ve managed to, you know, lose your job in this global pandemic and receiving welfare for the very first time in your life through no fault of your own, there’s also something in the Budget for those people. We’ve not left anybody behind. We’re making sure that this is the Budget for the here and now but also for the future.

JOURNALIST

You’re talking about, you know, giving South Australians what they want. Are there any discussions been happening about building a freeway bypass or a railway line potentially?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

I’m going to throw that to Corey. I’m more than happy if Corey brings it forward to very much listen to him but I’m going to let him answer the specifics of that question.

COREY WINGARD

What you’re talking about is the freight bypass, of course and again we’ve partnered with the Federal Government for the first $12 million of improving that road and road widening there and bridgeworks that is being completed as we speak. But we can’t thank the Federal Government enough for their injection in the Truro Bypass, which is just another step in that process. That’s going to be a really great project. Again, another step in that freight bypass. Of course, we have money there for the planning study for that great freight bypass to take the big, heavy high-productivity vehicles off the South Eastern Freeway, get them around the back on to ultimately the Northern Connector and into Adelaide that way. So, look, this is a really great project. We have been working and doing the planning works with the Federal Government. We’ve put a couple of steps and stages in place now. We’ll continue to do that planning works, but we see a real great opportunity here for South Australia.

The other thing we have done, I mentioned IA before and this is something that the Deputy Prime Minister has been very focused on and we’ve been really pleased to work with him on that. We’ve identified high-productivity freight networks as being a key for this State. We know that our regions offer so much – be it mining, agriculture, livestock. We want to make sure that we are transporting these goods across South Australia as efficiently and effectively as possible. So, we’re very focused on working with the Federal Government on establishing that freight network for all of our regions so that we can benefit from the investments we’re making.

JOURNALIST

So, what about our public transport, then, in the regions? You know, is the Government prepared to talk about setting up a rail line between Mount Barker or Murray Bridge to the city?

COREY WINGARD

Well, one of the other pieces of work we’re doing and that’s part of the planning studies we’re doing, are on a Mount Barker freight or transport operation and how that might look. So, we’re doing that planning work at the moment. There is always a lot of talk around about rail. We’re looking at buses and all other mediums as well. So, we know we’ve tried, of course, the on-demand bus service up through the Hills and that’s been a really great success. So, there’s a number of opportunities before us and we’re exploring those and making sure we’re building the right infrastructure for South Australia.

JOURNALIST

We’ll ask you while we’ve got you, two more mass vaccination clinics for South Australians to open later this month. Are you satisfied that they’re opening fast enough considering the demand that is out there for the COVID vaccine?

STEVEN MARSHALL

South Australia has the fastest rollout of any state on mainland Australia with the vaccination. It’s a very important program and we’re well underway. Of course, we opened up the first mass vaccination clinic at Wayville. That has been steadily increasing its volume virtually every day. And, of course, the two next mass vaccinations clinics will open up in the coming weeks. We start with Noarlunga, which will open on the 25th of this month and then out to Elizabeth for the 31st of this month.

We’re also obviously delighted that as of today anybody over the age of 50 can go along to their GP or to one of our mass vaccinations clinics or one of our hospital-based clinics and get their jab. It’s really important that people remember this is safe, it’s effective, it’s free of charge. And the best thing we can be doing as a nation at the moment is making sure that we have that effective vaccination roll out in South Australia. We’re going from strength to strength with that run rate increasing virtually every day.

JOURNALIST

Premier, you’ve obviously freed up additional stocks of the as AstraZeneca vaccine to go to GPs. There’s still obviously thousands in the stockpile there. Are you looking to free up even more to potentially speed things up again in the coming weeks?

STEVEN MARSHALL

We certainly are working with the Commonwealth on the stocks that we have in South Australia. Obviously, they’re handing the logistics to the GPs, but when we find that we have some quantities that we can’t use immediately well then, of course, we want to free that up for the GP network in South Australia to use. I think we’ve got around 279 GP practices in South Australia which are currently part of that vaccination program. It’s going very well in South Australia. In fact, I think we’re almost top of the tables right across the entire country at the moment. But these mass vaccination clinics will really add some grunt and make sure that everybody who is, if you like, eligible to have their jab can get it as soon as possible.

JOURNALIST

Have staff been relocated from other facilities to help out with these new mass vaccination clinics?

STEVEN MARSHALL

Yes, look, we’ve taken a lot of time to get the planning on this right. Obviously, we’ve looked very carefully at what’s happened with Wayville. We’ve been very, very satisfied with the ramp up there and the learnings from that mass vaccination clinic will now inform Noarlunga opening on the 25th of May and then followed by Elizabeth on the 31st of May. And then, of course, we’re also looking at a further mass vaccination clinic. The next one will be in country SA down in Mount Gambier.

JOURNALIST

What’s the timeline on that facility?

STEVEN MARSHALL

I don’t have it with me, but happy to provide it to you later today.

JOURNALIST

While we’re still talking health, are you moving fast enough to address the ongoing issues within our emergency departments?

STEVEN MARSHALL

What we’re seeing across the entire country at the moment is a massive, massive increase in presentation rates at emergency departments, particularly around mental health. This is occurring in every single state. Now, we’re not immune from that in South Australia, but what we’re doing is massively expanding our emergency department capacity. We’re working with ambulance officers, we’re working with new alternative ways to treat people that are presenting, like our urgent mental healthcare centre, the very first of its type in Australia. It is a peak period at the moment. We don’t want people to be delayed. But I want people to be assured that we are working night and day to expand that capacity across our state.

JOURNALIST

We are talking, obviously, road safety. We know the Police are launching Operation Fatal Distraction this week to coincide with National Road Safety Week. We understand very high range drink-driving [inaudible]. Just what’s your message to South Australians when they’re out there on the roads and particularly those who may be doing the wrong thing?

STEVEN MARSHALL

Too many South Australians are still thinking that road accidents occur with somebody else, but the statistics are alarming. We’re seeing more and more people getting behind the wheel. They’re being inattentive, they’re not driving to the conditions. I’m pleading with the people of South Australia now – too many South Australians are losing their lives behind the wheel. When you get into a car or when you get on to a motor bike, please, pay attention. Do the right thing. Protect your own life. Your families will thank you for your attentiveness on the road.

This is National Road Safety Awareness Week. We’re doing everything we can in South Australia to send a very, very strong message, when you get behind the wheel or get on a bike, you’ve got to drive or ride to the conditions, obey all of the road safety laws in South Australia. The consequences of not doing the right thing will be dramatic in terms of the effects on your family if you do the wrong thing. And it will also be dramatic on your hip pocket if you do the wrong thing as we increase those penalties for not abiding by the laws in South Australia.

JOURNALIST

Premier, [inaudible] said this morning about 12 per cent of South Australians have now been vaccinated. Is that good enough at this stage? And is the Government still hoping that by October all adults will be vaccinated?

STEVEN MARSHALL

Well, we’re delighted with the pace here in South Australia. It’s the fastest of any of the mainland states. Of course, there’s more to be done and that’s why we’re opening up more of the mass vaccination clinics. Two more to open up in the next couple of weeks in South Australia. My strong message – it’s safe, it’s effective, it’s free of charge and it will protect you, your family, your workplace. It will protect the entire South Australian society and the good thing about it is the more people we get vaccinated the closer we’re getting to ultimately opening up our borders to the rest of the world next year.

JOURNALIST

And are we on track for that October deadline?

STEVEN MARSHALL

Yes, so we’re increasing our run rate all the time. We’ve always said that with the reset with regards to the expert advice that we received from ATAGI that AstraZeneca remains very safe and effective for those over the age of 50 but for those under 50 we’re moving to the Pfizer. We’ve always said our plan is to get as many people vaccinated by the end of the year as possible. What we’re now seeing in South Australia, of course, is a massive increase in that run rate. We’re seeing people presenting in higher numbers. Of course, as of today, anybody over the age of 50 can go along to their GP or one of our mass vaccination clinics and have their shot. And that’s great news. Those people that have been waiting, today’s the day. Get in, book online. Present yourself and let’s get that vaccination roll out really, really happening in South Australia.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

I’ll just add some comments in relation to the mental health – you asked Premier Marshall about mental health. Each and every one of us, whether you’ve got politicians or indeed, the media, are very much aware of the need to have more mental health spending. And, indeed, that’s what last week’s Budget did – just that. More than $2 billion. But perhaps most importantly, $820 million towards 57 new centres, whether they’re either Head to Health or indeed, Headspace. And I know that Christopher Pyne, the former Liberal Member for Sturt, was very much one of the proponents in the early stages of those Headspaces and they make such a difference to obviously young people. But in the Budget, there were Headspace and Head to Health facilities promised and committed to for people of all ages. Whether it’s South Australia, whether it’s anywhere across the nation, we know how important this is. The Prime Minister has made a personal crusade to make sure that in this Budget we have record spending in mental health and I’m delighted to be in a Cabinet alongside those other members who made this such a priority in the Budget because it is a big issue. Premier Marshall has just indicated that. Whether it’s in South Australia, whether it’s in the capital city, whether it’s in a remote region, right across this State, right across this nation, we are committed to making sure that we provide services in the right places, right now.

ENDS 9:15AM ACST

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