Labor has returned to office in South Australia with a policy agenda focused on health, energy and skills.
What are the Malinauskas Government’s key priorities? New hospitals, funding for health services and ambulances, a hydrogen power plant and five new technical colleges. Let’s break that down.
Contracts for a new $1.95b Women’s and Children’s Hospital were awarded prior to the election campaign with the hospital to be completed by 2026.
The $10b Torrens to Darlington Project is the final 10.5km piece of the North-South Corridor, the most significant infrastructure project ever undertaken in South Australia. Funding was committed by state and commonwealth governments prior to the state election campaign.
The Malinauskas Government supports a major intervention into the energy market with the construction of a new hydrogen power plant and associated electrolyser facility. The project‘s mission, to be overseen by a new State agency Hydrogen Power SA, will be to create a new Green Hydrogen industry in SA as early as 2025, harnessing the State’s abundant wind and solar resources, and boosting the local skill base in new technology.
Notably, the SA Labor Government remains committed to overturning train and tram privatisation and will also not proceed with a $660m entertainment centre proposed by the previous Liberal Government to be built on the Torrens River, diverting those funds to Health.
The Cabinet includes new ministers in almost every portfolio although a number of ministers were members of the last Cabinet four years ago.
Premier: The Hon Peter Malinauskas
Deputy Premier: The Hon Dr Susan Close MP, who is also Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Minister for Defence and Space Industries and Minister for Climate, Environment and Water
Treasurer: The Hon Stephen Mullighan MP
Attorney General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector: The Hon Kyam Maher MLC
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Minister for Energy and Mining: The Hon Tom Koutsantonis MP
Minister for Health and Well Being: The Hon Chris Picton MP
Minister for Education, Training and Skills: The Hon Blair Boyer MP
Minister for Tourism and Minister for Multicultural Affairs: The Hon Zoe Bettison MP
Minister for Child Protection, Minister for Women and Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence and Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing: The Hon Katrine Hildyard MP
Minister for Human Services: The Hon Nat Cook MP
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries: The HonClaire Scriven MLC
Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services: The Hon Joe Szakacs MP
Minister for Trade and Investment, Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Minister for Planning: The Hon Nick Champion MP
Minister for Small and Family Business, Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs and Minister for Arts: The Hon Andrea Michaels MP
Minister for Local Government, Minister for Regional Roads And Minister for Veterans Affairs: The Hon Geoff Brock MP
The new Premier, Peter Malinauskas, moved quickly to act on his major priorities in delivering health outcomes and lifting COVID-19 restrictions.
Premier Malinauskas will take a more active role in the Government’s COVID-19 response, already indicating that he would like SA restrictions to be more in line with the rest of the country.
Once the new ministers settle into their offices, there are likely to be some changes expected in the machinery of the South Australian Government, with the likely departure of some departmental executives.
The large Labor win in South Australia will certainly give confidence to Federal Labor ahead of the federal election due in May.
The popularity of the new leader, Peter Malinauskas, the increase in the Labor primary vote and a campaign focused on health should be a concern for Scott Morrison and the Federal Government.
The Marshall Government is the first incumbent government to lose an election since COVID-19 made it to Australian shores with incumbency now less a political advantage post-pandemic. However, to put the win into perspective, South Australia only has one or possibly two marginal seats and is not a key battlefield state.