The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:48): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, representing the Minister for Police, a question about SAPOL interactions with Strike Force Wyndarra.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: 'Wyndarra' is an Aboriginal word for west winds. In November 2019, an Adelaide woman approached SAPOL and on her behalf SAPOL made referrals to the New South Wales Police Force between the dates of 21 and 28 November. That woman then attended the New South Wales Kings Cross Police Station on 27 February 2020 in person. Consequently, on 4 March 2020, the New South Wales Police Force set up Strike Force Wyndarra. It was established to respond to historic allegations of rape made by this Adelaide woman. That strike force was comprised of four investigators and a senior supervisor.
In the Parliament of New South Wales estimates this past Friday, it was revealed there by the New South Wales police commissioner that Strike Force Wyndarra officers were purportedly refused permission to travel to South Australia, on a request made on 13 March 2020, for travel anticipated variously, according to the police commissioner, for either 16 March or between 15 and 18 March. The officers scheduled to meet this woman on 16 March 2020, exactly one year ago today—travel that, had it been completed, would have indeed been one year ago today, at a very different time.
I note that this planned travel, however, was one week prior to our state closing our borders on 22 March 2020. Following this supposed refusal, SAPOL officers made an attempt to interview the woman here in South Australia in April 2020 but, according to Commissioner Fuller's tabled evidence, the Adelaide woman requested again to speak directly to the New South Wales officers involved in this strike force.
Evidence provided to our South Australian Legislative Council COVID-19 select committee showed that, in that same month of April 2020, between 22 March and 21 April 2020, 9,241 essential travellers crossed our borders in that month and indeed 10,750 non-essential travellers crossed our borders in that month. That makes 20,295 people in total who came into South Australia following the closure of our borders on 22 March 2020. Again, I note that the travel that was refused on 13 March 2020 was prior to our borders even closing at all. My questions to the minister are:
1. Was police business deemed essential under the border travel criteria?
2. Of the approved essential travellers that month alone following the closure, how many were approved as essential that were on police business?
3. Was an actual request ever made on behalf of or by Strike Force Wyndarra to enter South Australia?
4. Will all of this information and the relevant details of the investigation be provided to the Coroner, if it has not already?
The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (14:52): I thank the honourable member for her questions for the minister in the other place, and I undertake to refer them to the minister and seek an answer on her behalf.