The WA Police Union has slammed the state government for increasing the rent of police officers by $30 per week, claiming it will drive police officers away from regional towns.
The union said police would pay $1,560 more per year for their government houses from July 1, 2018.
Union president George Tilbury said it was not always financially possible for police to rent or buy their own homes because of transfer policies.
“Police officers can be transferred against their will, with little or no notice,” he said.
“It is too risky for police officers to source their own rental properties because they can be moved at the drop of a hat, leaving them at risk of paying rent in two towns.
“This situation will become absolutely dire unless the McGowan government makes it more attractive to move to regional areas by rescinding the planned excessive increases to Government Regional Officer Houses rents.”
Police Minister Michelle Roberts said the previous government decided to increase the rent for government offices.
“In 2015, the former government approved Government Regional Office House rents increasing by up to $30 per week from 2016/2017 onwards,” she said.
“Because of that decision, Government Regional Office House rents have increased across the board for all public sector employees including not just police, but also teachers, nurses and others.”
Ms Roberts said in 55 locations throughout regional WA, including Lake Grace and Ravensthorpe, police lived free rent, with fully subsidised housing.
“Our government recognises the importance of police officers to regional communities,” she said.
“We have committed $8.76 million for incentive payments to attract and retain officers to regional locations.”