|Greens candidate Janet Cavanaugh and Greens MP, David Shoebridge with Police officers, Dean Ferguson (in uniform) and Detective Sergeant Paul Fredericks, outside Casino Police Station.|
Greens candidate for the Clarence by-election, Janet Cavanaugh, was today joined by NSW Greens spokesperson on justice, David Shoebridge MP in meeting police in Casino to discuss the town’s crime statistics, changes to the Police Death and Disability Scheme, and the recently revealed cover-up of asbestos in Police housing.
Ms Cavanaugh said: “One of the key issues in this area is crime, both within Casino and also in outlying areas. I agree that this town needs more 24 hour policing, and preferably a 24 hour police station.
“But that is only part of the solution. The Greens are calling for justice reinvestment, which focuses on addressing the underlying causes of crime, rather than just another ‘law and order auction’ which exploits community fears.
“The Greens support youth clubs and other early intervention measures such as smaller classes, better educational opportunities and annual hearing tests for all Aboriginal kids. These have been shown to reduce crime and are cost effective. It costs as much to hold a person in prison as it does to employ a teacher.
“While the O’Farrell Government is promising 550 new police for the state, I can’t believe that they are working to undermine the morale and conditions of serving police officers,” Ms Cavanaugh.
In August it was revealed that a report finding police housing to be riddled with asbestos and lead paint was covered up for eighteen months.
Greens NSW MP and Police spokesperson David Shoebridge said: “Police officers in NSW have a tough job. They deserve better support from the government than sub-standard housing and a watered down Death and Disability scheme.
“These cuts will have an unfair impact on police officers suffering psychiatric injuries.
“Approximately 80% of police medically discharges are because of psychological injury alone. 90% involve some degree of psychological injury.
"We expect police to place themselves in harm's way on an almost daily basis when at work, in return the government must ensure they are fully protected when they are injured.
“Police have been willing to negotiate in good faith with the Minister on disability benefits, but the Minister has walked away from the negotiating table.
"The NSW Government stepped further away from negotiations last week by forcing its police death and disability legislation onto the Parliament’s agenda in a close vote in the NSW Upper House last week.
“On one scenario provided by the government a psychologically injured police officer will see their benefits cut from some $569,000 to just $76,000.
“Society has recently made real progress in recognising mental health as a significant issue. By slashing the benefits payable to psychologically injured police, the government is taking a large step backwards.
“The Greens are calling on the Police Minister to take a step back and return to the negotiating table with the Police Association to come up with a remodelled scheme that better protects injured police,” he said.
ENDSContacts: Janet Cavanaugh – 0429 479 968David Shoebridge – 0408 113 952