Liberal MP lashes State Government for lockdown ‘overreaction’

OVERREACTION: Member for MacKillop Nick McBride has lashed his own government for its handling of the state's latest COVID-19 outbreak.

Raquel Mustillo

LIBERAL MP Nick McBride has struck out at his government’s hard lockdown as an overreaction to one person, saying a thorough investigation should have been done before the snap announcement.

Mr McBride said the state’s drastic six-day COVID-19 lockdown, which was lifted early after it was revealed a pizza bar worker had lied about his employment activities, had paralysed the state’s already vulnerable small business sector.

Cafes, restaurants, pubs, schools, retail stores and shopping centres across the state were quickly forced to shut down last week to combat what was considered a highly contagious outbreak of coronavirus.

The Member for MacKillop claimed authorities had “overreacted” to the pizza worker’s original claim, in which he told contact tracers he had only bought food there when was actually an employee who had worked multiple shifts.

Authorities believed the man, who has been identified as a 36-year-old Spanish national in the country on a graduate visa, had contracted a highly contagious strain of COVID-19 due to the short period of exposure.

At a press conference on Friday, Premier Steven Marshall revealed police investigations established the man had lied to contact tracers and the stay at home order was to be repealed.

While Mr Marshall and Police Commissioner Grant Stevens defended the decision to enter a lockdown, Mr McBride told Radio ABC it had “absolutely broken and bruised” small businesses across the state.

He said the snap lockdown had exacerbated the challenge for MacKillop businesses and residents to rebuild following months of border closures and travel restrictions.

“We have a real health outcome here where they have overreacted in the last seven days to one person which they did not do a thorough investigation enough to get clarity about what has gone on there,” Mr McBride said.

“To lock down the state and to put the state into more pain… is just a total negative to recovering where we have come from [and] beggars belief.

“They should have never taken the word of one person because 10pc of society do not fall in behind the law.

“People should be considered on their merits but they need to have good, good clarity if they are going to lock down the state for six days because something might not line up.

Mr McBride also lashed the highly-credentialed Transition Committee, which includes Comm Stevens, chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier and chief executives from the Trade, Treasury and Health departments, claiming decisions had not been made based on the state’s economy.

“We need to consider both the health outcomes and the economic outcomes and I think that balance has been missed,” he said.

“All these people making these decisions, locking down our state do not suffer one day lost wages, no loss of income… and they have no relationship with the small business sector they have basically hung out to dry again because of this tough lockdown which has turned out to be a mistake.”

At a press conference held this afternoon, Mr Marshall said authorities “did not rely on just a single person’s evidence”.

“There was very good advice and detail presented by Nicola Spurrier yesterday on exactly the kind of catastrophic situation that we faced, with a 99pc confidence that we were heading for an epidemic in South Australia and we would have cases numbering 100 around mid-December,” he said.

“The people of South Australia worked with SA Health, SA Police and the government to avoid an absolute disaster.

“I am quite aware of people that have different opinions but I just say listen to the expert health advice, that’s what we have been doing and it has kept South Australia safe and our economy strong since.”