• Rikki Lambert

SA Labor won't play politics with the pandemic, proposes permanent Cross-Border Commissioner

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese, regions shadow minister Catherine King and Mr Malinauskas in 2019

SA Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas concedes the pandemic situation has moved on from his state party's proposed dedicated COVID-19 quarantine facility, but says he is disappointed treasurer Rob Lucas has 'played politics' with the pandemic calling on them to officially shelve the policy.

Mr Malinauskas visited the South East of the state on Monday to declare that if Labor wins the March state election, they will appoint a permanent 'cross border commissioner' to resolve Victoria-South Australia border issues. Victoria and New South Wales have such a commissioner and Victorian nationals western state MP Emma Kealy has previously called for SA to appoint one.

To hear the full interview on Flow, listen to the podcast below:

With South Australia's emergency powers to handle the pandemic expiring in December thanks to amendments moved by South East MPs and backed by the Opposition, Mr Malinauskas was circumspect about how Labor might handle a government request to extend the powers further.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman had moved a bill to extend the powers until after the March state election - April 2022 - but with the government's control on the majority of the House of Assembly gone, Mount Gambier ex-Liberal-turned-independent Troy Bell MP moved that the powers expire in December instead.

Mr Malinauskas also confirmed with Flow that Labor will 'quarantine' $100 million of the $660m earmarked by the Marshall Liberal government for a city basketball statement to spend on regional health. Labor does not yet know where it would spend the money it has committed, but is consulting and will announce that allocation before the state election, the Labor leader said.