29 April, 2020

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:48): Today marks day number 96 from when the first case of coronavirus landed in Australia. A month ago, new cases of coronavirus were growing at a rate of more than 20 per cent a day. For more than 10 days now, the rate has fallen to less than 1 per cent a day in Australia. It is particularly comforting to know that yesterday,

28 April 2020, South Australia again achieved zero new cases, which is a new record of no new cases for six consecutive days.

Sadly, across the world we have seen how deadly and how quickly the coronavirus has spread and the devastating health and economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic so far. For example, in the United Kingdom over 21,000 people have died. This is nearly 100,000 times our death rate per capita. In countries like Spain, France, Italy and in some states of United States of America the devastation has been even worse.

Australia's actions, including travel bans, quarantines, restrictions on gatherings, social distancing and comprehensive testing as well as contact tracing, have made a real difference in how Australia and South Australia is managing the COVID-19 public health emergency. We must continue to suppress the virus whilst planning our road to recovery, and I remind members that if they have not yet downloaded the COVIDSafe app it is time to do so.

I rise today to say a big thank you to everyone in South Australia; the cooperation and diligence of the whole community of South Australia has been amazing. Thank you to everyone who is following the government's COVID-19 measures and at the same time reaching out and supporting others in need during this most challenging time. It is by working together that we are all keeping our community safe and strong in South Australia.

I would like to place on the public record my heartfelt thanks for the incredible work of our front-line professionals. Doctors, nurses, health care professionals and emergency services teams at SA Health, SAPOL and SA Pathology have dedicated their services to emergency front lines every day, working around the clock to safeguard the wellbeing of everyone and protect our community from the COVID-19 pandemic. South Australia is leading the nation in successfully flattening the curve of this highly infectious disease because we have some of the very best, world-class health and emergency services heroes in Australia.

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron once said, 'The real test of being a prime minister or a president or a cabinet minister is how you respond to the difficult crises that are put in front of you.' The coronavirus pandemic that our country is facing is arguably the worst crisis in the modern history of Australia, and this public health emergency has certainly placed Prime Minister Morrison and his cabinet ministers in the position of facing their biggest test in government. Similarly, the same challenge has also been imposed on the Premier of South Australia and our government ministers in response to COVID-19.

The federal Morrison Government has demonstrated outstanding leadership in managing the coronavirus pandemic for Australia, and we are incredibly lucky to be in South Australia because of the exceptional leadership of the Premier, the Hon. Steven Marshall, together with the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, the Hon. Stephen Wade, and the entire Liberal Government team in managing the coronavirus emergency plans for South Australia.

The goals of the Marshall Government have been very clear from day one: flatten the coronavirus curve as low as possible and keep the supply of high level hospital beds above the demand curve of patients, compile the medical hardware and appropriate workforce that is required to achieve the best health outcomes, examine real-time data and reconcile it against predictions, and benchmark the state's COVID-19 response against comparable peers across Australia and seek to better them.

The strong leadership and meticulous emergency plans by this Government have delivered an excellent outcome in terms of COVID-19. It is our plan to continue to keep South Australians safe, calm and strong during this extremely difficult and challenging time.