Economic recovery

Over the past few months South Australians have thrown their support behind the State’s tourism sector.
The State Government’s recently announced $20m tourism grant program will be a welcome boost for operators who lost significant revenue during the pandemic shutdowns earlier this year.
But what’s perhaps more remarkable is the SA Tourism Commission’s revelation that regional accommodation patronage is almost back to pre-Covid levels – even with international and some national borders still closed.
SA’s borders with the ACT opened today, and our borders with NSW could be opened within a fortnight, which will undoubtedly be another welcome step towards recovery for many businesses in the tourism sector.
But it’s not a move that comes without risk.
While the ACT hasn’t had a new case since July, the total tally in surrounding NSW has continued to slowly inch higher, with dozens of new cases in recent weeks.
Since the pandemic began, SA has only recorded 466 cases including four deaths – among the lowest figures in Australia.
Prompt and ongoing Government and community action has helped our State dodge a bullet that has crippled dozens of health systems and economies around the world.
Re-opening our borders to other States has always been inevitable and SA has in its favor a track record of effective contact tracing which has helped stamp out new clusters before the virus escaped.
But if we’re going to adjust to easing border restrictions, especially with states that still have active cases, it is vital we don’t undo all the good work done so far.
Struggling industries, including the important Hills tourism industry, might be bouncing back, but they can’t afford to be shut down again.
Any step back to normality will be welcomed by many South Australians and businesses.
But with each step comes an ongoing responsibility for ordinary South Australians to do their part.
We’re in this enviable position now largely because South Australians got tested when they were sick – even if they hadn’t had known contact with a confirmed case.
That’s a trend that cannot be abandoned now.
If it opened the NSW borders in the coming weeks, the State Government would be taking a risk which it hopes will help SA recover.
It will then be beholden on every South Australian to make sure our State’s recovery stays on track.