The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:35): I rise today to speak about the important announcement made yesterday, 26 October 2021, by the Premier of South Australia, the Hon. Steven Marshall MP, releasing South Australia's COVID-Ready Plan.
I would like to acknowledge and thank the Hon. Stephen Wade, Minister for Health, for his hard work and for his valuable information update about the COVID-Ready Plan during question time today.
Everywhere I go, I have constituents saying how thankful they are to be living in South Australia. Our state, throughout the pandemic, has managed to keep coronavirus at bay. We have been maintaining a safe record while avoiding the economic damage caused by prolonged lockdowns that we have seen interstate.
Following on from the announcement of South Australia's road map out of COVID-19 restrictions, our state will soon face the prospect of living with COVID in our more open community, and that presents opportunity and anxiety for different people in equal measure. As our vaccination rates continue to rise, it is important that we have clarity on how restrictions will be eased, and it is important for our state to have a blueprint that gives certainty to families, business owners, industry sectors, international students and tourists alike.
The announcement yesterday, with the date set to open our borders on 23 November, is a timely reminder to prioritise getting vaccinated as soon as possible to protect yourself, those you care about and the broader community. As honourable members will know, earlier this year, Adelaide was ranked as the third most liveable city in the world and the most liveable city in Australia.
Our reputation as one of the safest and most liveable places on earth is only possible thanks to all South Australians and frontline professionals who have made sacrifices, who have diligently followed SA Health and SAPOL directions and worked together as one community from day one to ensure that our state remains safe and strong through this difficult and unprecedented time.
I am very proud that the Marshall Liberal government has worked in partnership with our communities. Through the various grant programs available from Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Multicultural Affairs, and the Department of Human Services, multicultural organisations were able to apply and receive state government grants to address urgent and priority needs to support our multicultural communities through this challenging time.
I would like to express my deep appreciation again, to recognise our wonderful multicultural community leaders, volunteers and organisations who have been proactively engaged and worked together with government, SA Health and SAPOL through the pandemic. Unlike in other states where we have seen gaps in communication and communities left out or left behind in health campaigns, South Australia's culturally and linguistically diverse communities have been working in collaboration with government agencies to distribute translated information and resources and encourage vaccination uptake within their communities.
So many organisations have been holding vaccine information sessions with SA Health, arranging bilingual volunteers to help with vaccine drives by assisting with translation, filling in forms, and by providing transportation to bring vulnerable community members to get vaccinated. I would also like to thank, once again, all of the community leaders and particularly SA Health, the Minister, the Hon. Stephen Wade, and Professor Nicola Spurrier for hosting many health forums for community and religious leaders. I had the honour to take part at most of these forums.
It has been wonderful also to recognise organisations like the AMRC, the Islamic Society of South Australia, the Pakistani Medical Association, BAPS temple and African communities through the African women's association for organising mobile pop-up clinics at the premises. Thank you so much, everybody, for keeping the community safe and strong.