3,000 police protest in Sydney over benefit change

SYDNEY, Australia — About 3,000 Australian police officers turned the grounds outside the state parliament in Sydney into a sea of blue Tuesday as they protested against planned changes to the way injured officers are compensated.

By (AP)

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Published: Tue 22 Nov 2011, 10:57 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:22 AM

Officers are upset at plans to alter New South Wales state’s Death and Disability Scheme, which would restrict some compensation payouts and place more emphasis on getting injured officers rehabilitated and back to work.

The government says the current scheme is too expensive and it has no choice but to make the changes.

The police came to Sydney on Tuesday from around the state and marched from Hyde Park to Parliament House in a protest that lasted about two hours.

The officers followed a man playing bagpipes and many held placards and shouted ‘Shame, Barry, shame’ in protest against state premier Barry O’Farrell.

‘To those of you in the state government who have utilized law and order as a platform, which I am ashamed to say is most of you, you should hang your head in shame,’ Inspector Ross Wilkinson said to officers gathered outside parliament. ‘You have just bitten the hand that feeds you.’

Michael Gallacher, the minister for police, said in a statement that the government remains committed to making changes to the scheme in order to ensure its long-term sustainability.

Gallacher said the government has made some amendments to its plans after receiving a counterproposal from the Police Association, the union that represents the officers.

But, Gallacher added, the police union wanted to keep the ‘vastly expensive’ scheme much the same. He said the counterproposal would not encourage injured officers to return to work.

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