Covid Support

In Parliament, Questions

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:38): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Treasurer on the topic of COVID supports.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: We all know full well that, given the situation of border closures and travel restrictions, and the backlog of exemptions—some 5,900 still in play, and a wait of as long as five weeks for some South Australians stranded at our borders or interstate—these matters are becoming increasingly pressing. What South Australians may not be aware of is that SA Health has approached Treasury for support for these stranded South Australians in recent weeks.

My question to the Treasurer is: what supports have been asked for by SA Health for South Australians stranded across our borders, who are stuck, sometimes for as long as five weeks, living in their cars, increasingly running out of money, increasingly facing health complications and being separated from families, loved ones, job opportunities and education, and what has the Treasurer’s response been to them?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (14:39): I am not aware of the detail. I understand there have been discussions between Health officers and Treasury officers about providing the sort of support that has been outlined. In relation to what my personal view is, I have not been supportive of that. I am not sure whether there were precise details in terms of the levels of support that were being suggested by Health officers with Treasury officers. They were discussions between Health officers and Treasury officers. Treasury officers raised the issue with me as a matter of principle. I indicated that I didn’t support the payment of subsidies or supports to persons who happen to be located interstate and trying to get back into the state.