Peter Malinauskas has always been a politician in a hurry.

He entered parliament age 35, and became a minister less than two months later — first for police and emergency services, then for the notoriously troubling health portfolio.

He rose to Premier in 2022, off the back of major promises to fix the state’s ambulance ramping crisis, reform the education sector and kick-starting a hydrogen industry.

Now, nearly halfway through his first term in the job, Mr Malinauskas is calling for time and patience from the public to deliver his platform.

Peter Malinauskas says ambulance response times have improved since his government came into office.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

Ambulance ramping has reached record levels in South Australia since the election with stories of patients left to suffer – or worse – by delays continuing to surface.

Only twice to date has the Malinauskas government recorded a lower number of hours lost to ramping in a month than the worst month under Steven Marshall’s Liberal government.

That’s despite the hundreds of millions of dollars of additional investment the government has made across the health system and ambulance service.

The Premier points to improved ambulance response times as signs of progress.

“People knowing that there is twice the likelihood today of the ambulance rolling up on time than what was the case two years ago, matters to people,” he said.

But the improved response times come from a low base, and South Australians were still forced to wait longer on average than residents in any other state for an ambulance last financial year.

Health system capacity was “compromised” by the former Labor and Liberal governments, which didn’t take into account the state’s growing and aging population, Mr Malinauskas said.

“We are increasing bed capacity. The problem is that takes time to build those beds and then come online in the second half of this year,” he said.

Peter Malinauskas says he wants more time to fulfil his promises.(ABC News: Brant Cumming)

Extra hospital beds will come into a system which already has more beds per thousand people than the national average.

Having more beds is one thing, staffing them is another, and the Premier admits finding the workers needed will be a challenge too.

The government’s hope is even more capacity inside hospitals will help with ambulances ramped with patients outside emergency departments and take them closer to making good on its promise.

The big issues

But health isn’t the only policy headache which Mr Malinauskas says will take time to fix.

Housing has quickly consumed time and energy across his government, as it tries to encourage supply onto the market.

“All big structural policy challenges take time,” he said.

“We are impatient to pull the leavers of government to make a positive difference, which is why we’ve had one of the biggest land releases in the state’s history.”

Peter Malinauskas says he is continuing to deliver on his agenda, including on renewable energy.(ABC News: Carl Saville)

South Australians may also need to display some patience when it comes to further cost-of-living relief, an issue the Premier says remains “top of mind” ahead of discussions about June’s budget.

“The cost-of-living challenge is one we will address,” he said.

As for what success looks like in the second half of this term, Mr Malinauskas says it’s continuing to deliver on his agenda, including renewable energy and reforms across the education sector to boosts skills.

“That’s why we’ve got a program on three-year-old pre-school, universal access to it, amalgamating universities, revitalising TAFE,” he said.

Across the government’s platform, there is a lot of policy to get through in 25 months before the Premier faces the electorate once more.

And voters may only know by March 2026 if Mr Malinauskas has been able to deliver, or if he’s run out of time.