After the Police Minister’s announcement of an ex gratia payment scheme for medically retired police officers and the introduction of a workers compensation scheme, a rally outside Parliament House with former officers expressed their disappointment that changes didn’t occur sooner.
Some demonstrators said it’s too little too late.
Many spoke about feeling abandoned, sporting T-shirts that read “Abandoned by the WA Police”.
They want it recognised that they served proudly, and were left behind by the state and their employer.
Ms Roberts said the redress and workers compensation schemes will be introduced into parliament as high priority.
The redress payment is expected to be announced by the end of the year, with a workers compensation scheme being introduced next year.
“It will be a payment, not a full compensation payment that we’re looking at, but it will certainly be an acknowledgement,” said Ms Roberts.
The Police Minister commented that the McGowan Government inherited a situation where this issue was not ready to go… even after 8.5 years of Liberal power the issue failed to be resolved.
“It’s laughable for Liza Harvey to say the had a workers compensation system ready to go and why don’t we implement it,” she said.
“Michelle Roberts and her team have been working very hard behind the scenes since 2012…”
“They have promised to deliver it, and I believe they will.” said Mr Bentley.
David Bentley, spokesperson from the Medically Retired WA Police Association, said WA Police is currently doing a disservice to medically retired officers, by associating them within the same section that is used sack corrupt and criminal.
Proposed amendments to Section 8 of provisions will see medically retired officers no longer grouped with other officers sacked with loss of confidence, associated with integrity and corruption issues.
“They’re getting tagged as criminals and sacked after doing their job, protecting the public, then unfortunately not being able to continue working…” Mr Bentley said.
Opposition Leader Mike Nahan, apologised for his government’s lack of action and insisted his confidence in Ms Roberts to incite change.
“I will work alongside Ms Roberts to address this issue, it’s beyond politics…”
“I will give you my assurance that I will act in a bipartisan, but aggressive manner to convince the government to address this in a fair equitable but finalised matter.” he stated.
There are fears that if this contentious issue is not resolved, it will deter young people from joining the force.
Mr Bentley believes there will be a lot of people who will have second thoughts.
He says everybody in Australia has the right to workers compensation and the belief they will be taken care of if they are injured at work.
“Police officers should not be any different,” he commented.
A rally spokesperson also commented if everyone knew what could happen to their families, a lot of people would not want their children entering into the police force as a viable career.
David Nelson, was medically retired at 33 years old.
His son is 23 yeas old, and his daughter is 17, turning 18.
He said he’s made sure in their mind to never think about joining WA police.
“I think being a police officer is a very noble profession, but the way the government has treated us all these years it’s enough for me to encourage anyone not to join WA police,” Mr Nelson said.
Mr Bentley thinks WA police officers should be advocating with the union to push this issue hard across the line, as police regulations limit speaking out as an individual.
“They need to advocate the union to push to fix this issue right now,”
He said the WA Police Union has been very supportive, and developed a report which was put to the government… unfortunately not being acted on until today.
Mr Bentley hopes this will push the report back into the headlines, and bring about a successful resolution for the officers and their families who desperately need some assistance.
Mr Roberts said she will best endeavour to come to an agreement with the police union, police officers and retired officers going forward on these issues.