Police still waiting for government to worker’s compensation act

Medically retired officer David Nelson. Picture: David Baylis           d423817
Medically retired officer David Nelson. Picture: David Baylis         d423817

A WA Police Union (WAPU) document outlining the need for a workers’ compensation scheme for police has been with the State Government since November.

The union released Project Recompense to highlight the need for a compensation scheme for medically retired police officers and is urging action.

There were 14 recommendations to the government to provide officers cover because they were exempt from the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.

WAPU president George Tilbury said the government had left police without workers’ compensation for too long.

“Police officers in Western Australia are the only officers in the country not covered by workers’ compensation,” he said. “Officers should be fairly compensated for any injuries sustained during work.”

Medically Retired WA Police Officer Association secretary David Nelson was medically retired as a 33-year-old senior constable in 1993.

He was diagnosed with work-attributed post traumatic stress disorder in August this year, which means the State Insurance Commission Risk Cover will finally cover related medical expenses. The diagnosis came after years of flashbacks.

“When people are retired medically with psychological issues, we never work again and the people left to pick up the pieces are our families,” he said.

Police Minister Liza Harvey said WA Police were looking in to a compensation scheme.

“WA Police is looking at issues around the establishment of a comprehensive workers’ compensation scheme,” she said.

Ms Harvey said the State Government supported officers.

“The Government looks after its police officers; it was this government that introduced the retired officers medical expenses scheme, mandatory sentencing for assaulting a police officer, and mandatory blood testing of offenders who bite and spit at police,” she said.

Mr Nelson said more needed to be done.

“This system abandons you,” he said. “We are sick of police fighting for sick police.