South Australia’s Premier has announced an immediate $350 million stimulus package to help the state “weather the economic storm” of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Premier Steven Marshall said SA had already taken an economic hit
- He said the stimulus package was ensure the state was prepared
- There have been seven confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA
Steven Marshall said the package would include current infrastructure projects being brought forward, as well as new projects around road maintenance, housing, tourism and health.
He said South Australia had already taken an economic hit from the loss of international university students, a drop in international visitors and issues with trade.
“We cannot turn our mind away from the likely economic impacts from the coronavirus here in South Australia and around the world,” he said.
“There are going to be significant effects going forward — that’s going to happen without a doubt.
“What we’ve got to do in South Australia is make sure we are as prepared as we possibly can be.”
The package was also aimed at easing the economic impact of the bushfire crisis and ongoing drought.
“We’re not going to stop it [coronavirus] from coming to SA, but what we can do is slow the progress so we put ourselves in the very best position possible,” Mr Marshall said.
“We are leading the nation in the preparedness and the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“There’s a lot of work that has been done in preparation.”
Mr Marshall said the money would be used on projects immediately.
“The key criteria for us in spending this $350 million is to make sure that there’s projects that are ready to go now, that it maximises the amount of SA employment and the amount of South Australian product or service that goes into that,” he said.
“We want to make sure we minimise the effects of the coronavirus on our economy in South Australia.”
There have been seven confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Australia, with 5,500 tests taken in the state since the end of January.
Yesterday, a ‘drive-thru’ coronavirus testing clinic was opened in the state, in what is believed to be a first for the country’s public health system.
The clinic is expected to receive a patient every 20 minutes once fully operational.
‘We need a plan with some detail’
SA Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas took aim at the lack of detail in the State Government’s stimulus package commitment and said it would leave businesses and households without confidence.
“Households and businesses in our state are currently looking to the State Government for some certainty, for some confidence,” he said.
“That means we need a plan with some detail and that is sorely lacking in the Premier’s announcement today.
“The commitment of $350 million towards stimulus without any detail means it’s very hard for business and households to get confidence they need to continue to drive economic activity in South Australia.”
However, he said the Opposition would be willing to support the Government in putting together a detailed response to show where the money is going.
“I think South Australians were looking to Steven Marshall today for a bit of detail about his plan to stimulate the South Australian economy to prevent any potential recession,” he said.
“That lack of detail means there is very real concern out there around what the Government is actually doing to drive economic activity in our state.”
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