West Australian police officers severely injured on the job will receive payments of up to $400,000 under a promised compensation scheme.
Premier Mark McGowan on Monday announced details of the long-awaited reform which will fulfil an election commitment.
Officers who are injured to the extent they are no longer able to work will receive a one-off exit payment capped at $235,971.
The cap can be increased to more than $400,000 under certain circumstances.
They will also receive a separate $16,518 payment for vocational support and retraining, while all current entitlements for illness or injury will be maintained.
“This is an historic reform that is long overdue,” Mr McGowan said.
“WA Police have been fighting for a compensation scheme for many years and I’m proud that it will be delivered under my government.”
Police Minister Michelle Roberts said the government would pursue urgent legislative changes to enact the scheme in the next parliament if re-elected at the March poll but it would not be retrospective.
Only a handful of officers each year are expected to be compensated.
The government last year formally apologised to hundreds of WA police officers no longer able to serve due to injury or illness and forcibly retired under the same “loss of confidence” provisions used to oust corrupt officers.
A $16 million redress scheme for officers who had already left the force was also introduced, with 265 former officers initially deemed eligible for payments.
WA Police Union president Harry Arnott said there would still be scope for some compensation recipients to lodge a civil claim for an ex-gratia payment.
“For nearly five decades, (we) have asked for a compensation scheme which adequately protects our people when they’re injured in the line of duty,” he said.
“This is a landmark moment for all police officers in Western Australia.”
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the historically poor treatment of medically retired police officers had deeply affected members of the force.
“They’ve given CPR to children, to people who have died on our roads, they have recovered bodies from the sea,” he said.
“They have faced armed offenders, they have been in some cases shot or been injured, facing the most violent people in society.
“We are having officers now who are facing people infected by a virus that is devastating the globe and yet they come to work every day.”