No backing down for NSW police
POLICE are not backing down in their battle against the State Government's proposed overhaul of the death and disability scheme and expect their intensifying industrial action to continue.
Concerned police officers and Police Association of NSW (PANSW) members met in Lismore early yesterday morning after Police Minister Michael Gallacher announced proposed changes to the police force's death and disability scheme.
The proposed scheme will give officers who leave the force because of physical or psychological injury income protection insurance rather than a lump sum pay out, which they receive under the current scheme.
PANSW directed its members to start industrial action immediately following the Minister's announcement, which the Association claimed it was not consulted about.
PANSW Lismore Branch president Dave Longfield said the highway patrol had not issued a fine in 10 days.
Instead, officers were issuing court attendance notices and directives.
"We are not doing anything that provides the Government with a revenue stream," he said.
Members spoke about the hardships former police officers with post traumatic stress disorder or injuries face after they leave the force and struggle to regain the normalcy their lives once had.
"Nobody wants to employ someone who has had a nervous breakdown," Mr Longfield said.
PANSW member Paul Fredericks said police were after a negotiated outcome.
"We know there needs to be changes but that's the key - negotiated change," he said.
A letter from the PANSW Lismore branch to the NSW Government and sighted by The Northern Star detailed the consequences that come with being a police officer.
"I signed up with the NSW Police and accept the dangers that come with it," the letter stated.
"My kids didn't. If I am injured at work and have to leave the NSWPF my mortgage will go unpaid and my kids will suffer.
"At the end of the shift we go home to our homes and families.
"Sometimes injured, usually tired, and sometimes wondering why we do it.
"We do it because no one else would. The NSW Police Force is the wall that mainstream NSW society hides behind."
Mr Longfield said both Lismore MP Thomas George and Ballina MP Don Page were asked to attend the meeting but did not reply to the email invitation.
Mr George and Mr Page did not return calls from The Northern Star yesterday.