Regional members of the WA Police Union want to launch a personal campaign against Nationals leader Brendon Grylls amid claims he has failed to deliver on an election promise to provide rent-free housing to officers in country WA.
Members of the Great Southern branch have put forward a motion for discussion at the WA Police Union annual conference next month calling for the union to "overtly and actively campaign" against Mr Grylls and the Nationals in the March State election. Similar motions have been proposed by the Geraldton, Upper Great Southern, Merredin, Central West Coast and Avon branches.
"It is now 2012 and based on the Nationals' own policy, most of the (Government Regional Officers Housing) tenants should be living in rent-free accommodation," officers from the Great Southern branch wrote.
"Mr Grylls has nominated for a seat in the Pilbara at the next election. Not unexpected, after the disproportionate favourable treatment that that region has received this is a blatant attempt to buy a parliamentary seat.
"The rest of regional WA has been ignored to a large extent by Mr Grylls and his party and received little more than a broken promise. All politicians would be less likely to make promises to our members that they were unable or had no intention of keeping if we make an example of Mr Grylls and the Nationals."
Mr Grylls confirmed he discussed free rent as an incentive to retain regional staff, particularly in the North West, but after consultation with the union decided that offering a district allowance was a better option.
"I am comfortable as a minister that although technically I may have not followed through on a position statement the Nationals put out 18 months before the election, that I could have offered free rent and saved the taxpayers more money, but I don't think it is as good a policy outcome as we have delivered using the district allowance," Mr Grylls said.
"As a minister in charge of taxpayer money, that's what I think I should do."
Mr Grylls denied the district allowance was weighted to favour staff in the North West, which includes the seat of the Pilbara that he will contest at the next State election.
He said the allowance was distributed based on a regional pricing index that calculated costs of living in regional areas across the State.
"What they are suggesting is I somehow knew what the outcome would be," he said."All I did was agree Royalties for Regions would fund a boost in district allowance to recognise the higher cost of living in regional areas."
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