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SA premier to finalise cabinet changes

South Australian premier Steven Marshall will finalise his cabinet reshuffle within 24 hours after two ministers quit over a parliamentary allowances scandal and a third stepped down.

Mr Marshall remained tight-lipped on Monday on who would replace Transport Minister Stephan Knoll, Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone and Trade Minister David Ridgway.

“There are not going be major changes in terms of portfolios but there will be new faces coming into the cabinet,” Mr Marshall said.

“They’re good arrangements. I’m just finalising details now.

“It will be announced all at once.”

Both Mr Knoll and Mr Whetstone resigned on Sunday after being embroiled in the controversy over country MPs wrongly claiming accommodation allowances while on parliamentary business in Adelaide.

Mr Knoll has repaid more than $29,000 despite admitting to only a handful of errors while Mr Whetstone has returned about $7000.

Mr Ridgway also quit the ministry on Sunday after previously indicating he did not wish to serve in a reshuffled cabinet.

In the first major changes since the 2018 election and coming amid the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Marshall will look to restore confidence with his new appointments.

One MP likely to join the cabinet is current lower house speaker Vincent Tarzia.

Mr Tarzia became something of a hero in the Liberal Party at the 2018 state election when he saw off a challenge from high-profile independent Nick Xenophon to retain his seat of Hartley.

Others in the running could include current assistant ministers Carolyn Power and Jing Lee, who sits in the upper house.

Mr Marshall described the allowances issue as an unacceptable distraction and one that was not going away.

He said accepting the resignations would ensure the government’s focus remained on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But after losing three ministers, Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said the premier had failed a key test of his leadership.

“A leader would have sacked these ministers immediately (and) called out the wrongdoings,” Mr Malinasuakas said.

“Instead, Mr Marshall let this scandal drag on for weeks with no action.”

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