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Cops hit Canberra

Tuesday, 22nd November, 2011

By Emily Roberts

Police officers across the State will protest outside of Parliament House today over the proposed changes to the police death and disability scheme.

Local officers have decided to take their message straight to the politicians, according to Police Association (Western Region) Executive Member Robert Dunn.

“It’s a shame it’s come to this, but what other option do we have? Our local Government MPs aren’t sticking up for police officers, particularly those who have put their life on the line to keep our community safe,” Mr Dunn said.

Late last week the NSW Police Association met with Member for Murray-Darling John Williams to discuss the death and disability scheme and the need to negotiate with the State Government.

Vice-chairman for the NSW Police Association, Gerry Kemp, said Mr Williams openly admitted he hadn’t read the proposed Bill for the scheme and was surprised by some of the wording in the Bill.

“Mr Williams admitted making a judgment on fiscal lines and for no other reason,” Mr Kemp said.

“All Mr Williams is prepared to do is mention to the Police Minister that the Association wants to negotiate the terms of the scheme.

“Mr Williams wasn’t aware that police wanted to negotiate.”

Mr Kemp said many of the State’s politicians were basing their reasoning for changes to the death and disability scheme on financial lines.

“They are not focusing on the impact on police,” he said.

Mr Kemp said it was good to see Mr Williams prepared to take some of the police’s issues to the Police Minister, Michael Gallacher.

“It is a step forward.”

Mr Williams said he is willing to put to the Police Minister that the Police Association want to negotiate.

“I don’t know the history, but the Minister was advised that the Police Association walked out of discussions, maybe they have had a change of heart,” he said.

“(I will) put it forward to the Minister and it will be up to him if he considers negotiating.”

He reaffirmed that the death payout for police will remain the same and is not up for negotiation.

He also stressed that the new scheme will not disadvantage police and the payment will still be above other States.

Mr Williams said the level of disability claims from the police was creating a financial challenge.

“It is creating a black hole, increasing the cost of the scheme would be a big problem for us,” he said.

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