The WA Police Union has attacked National Party leader Brendan Grylls for “pork barrelling” the Pilbara electorate.
The union’s Southern Region director Harry Arnott said the party was trying to capture the North West seat in next year’s election by providing incentives for police in the region which were non-existent in the south.
Mr Arnott said a married police constable in South Hedland would receive an annual living allowance of $32,000, as well as free housing, in addition to their salary.
“Meanwhile a South West constable gets a paltry $1500 per year and is paying rent,” he said.
“A constable in Hedland will earn between $40,000 and $50,000 a year more.”
Mr Arnott said the northern officers deserved every cent they were getting, but their southern colleagues deserved incentives.“
"We are not asking for the same amount of money as our colleagues in the north, but surely it would be prudent of the Government to close the gap and offer incentives to police to work below the 26th parallel,” he said.
“There are different environmental concerns in each location – but wherever you are policing is policing.”
Mr Grylls said he recognised there was a problem in the South West, but the northern allowances were designed to meet the higher cost of living in the region.
He said the allowances were agreed to and argued for by the union when his party came to power four years ago, and now the unions were saying it was unfair.
“I think it’s a little bit cute Harry Arnott has now turned around and said it’s not good enough,” he said.
Mr Arnott said Mr Grylls had turned his back on National Party heartland, communities in the south.
Recently, four vacancies in the South West attracted only two applicants while there were 30 applicants for just one position in the Pilbara.
Police Minister Liza Harvey said she was in discussions with the union and the police commissioner about incentives packages.