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Police protest grows

Wednesday, 16th November, 2011

By Emily Roberts

Police across NSW will step up their industrial campaign against the State Government by staging a public rally outside NSW Parliament next week.

It will take place on Tuesday, November 22 in protest against the Government and the Police Commissioner who, the Association says, have failed to continue good faith negotiations over the Death and Disability payment scheme.

The march on parliament was endorsed at a meeting of the Police Association executive on Friday. 

Meanwhile, recent statements made by local MP John Williams showed that he had gone back on his promise to support police in their fight to maintain the scheme, according to the Broken Hill Police Association.

In March the Member for Murray-Darling signed a formal document stating he would work with the NSW Police Association to implement recommendations from the NSW Police Force’s pre-election submission.

The police asked that the death and disability scheme remain in its current form.

However, Mr Williams recently said if the State Government didn’t cut the funding it will cost NSW more than $1.7 billion by 2015.

Chairman of the Broken Hill Police Association, Jim McMillan, said figures obtained by the local branch showed that the cost was 90 per cent lower than that.

This was confirmed by the NSW Police Medical Discharge Review Panel, First State Super and the NSW Police, Mr McMillan said. 

Mr Williams said the government put $500 million a year to the scheme but Mr McMillan said he had “highly misrepresented” the facts.

He said many members of the NSW Police Force in the Barrier area supported Mr Williams in the last election due to his signed promise.

Police are undertaking industrial action which includes not issuing fines for some offences in their fight to keep the death and disability scheme.

Mr McMillan said he and his fellow officers just wanted the chance to sit down with the Government to discuss and renegotiate the scheme.

He said police did not earn big wages, they paid their own rent and bills and now they no longer get a pension.

“We do not get free flights, work-funded car, alleged study tours overseas, taxpayer-funded phone calls, taxpayer funded petrol or a pension at the end of our service,” he said.

“The government has removed our rights, cut our entitlements and removed our safety net because they argue they need to cut costs and save money.”

Mr McMillan said the local branch and others had also recently passed a vote of no confidence in the Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione. 

In response, Mr Williams said he signed the formal document before he realised how bad the scheme was going.

“It is an absolute disaster,” he said. 

“If it continues, the NSW taxpayers will suffer. It will be a major catastrophe.”

Mr Williams said the new scheme will ensure that the payment for police deaths will remain the same.

The disability payment will be reduced but it will still be higher than in any other State, he said.

“People don’t realise how serious the problem is.”

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