WA STATE BUDGET 2012 – Public Safety

The budget papers bring a useful reminder and update of current workforce pressures that are being felt, particularly by government agencies in the Public Safety industry.  These include:

POLICE

  • The nature of policing is changing and partnerships are being developed on national and international levels to address criminal activity.   A key challenge is legislative reform, noting the time and resources required to establish and implement legislative change is significant.
  • Increases in Demand for Services – Current crime rates are relatively steady, however the demand for policing services has been increasing significantly which presents a challenge due to competing priorities.  Mining industry developments, protest activity from Issue Motivated Groups, a new regional prison and detention centre require increased policing effort.
  • Keeping pace with the increasing cost of policing is a challenge.   Western Australia Police continues to develop initiatives to maximise productivity in both metropolitan and regional locations.   There are a number of issues impacting on the workforce including:
    • attracting officers and the cost of housing, training, and relieving in Regional Western Australia; and
    • optimising workforce availability and utilisation through the effective deployment of different types of police employees.
  • Rapid expansion and advances in technology provides both a challenge and an opportunity for policing. While legislation changes and addressing the use of technology for criminal purposes bring significant cost pressures, Western Australia Police is using scientific and technology advances to enhance  capabilities through:
    • enhanced DNA profiling;
    • blood testing;
    • drug analysis; and
    • development of vehicles with significantly enhanced technology.
  • Interagency and cross jurisdictional collaboration is key to the delivery of desired government outcomes and is required to address crime and its many underlying causes.  Building on the success of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Western Australia Police continues to work with multiple agencies and combine core business systems with a focus on:
    • emergency management;
    • intelligence sharing; and
    • cross justice sector information exchange.
  • To support the delivery of the Western Australia Police services, the planned asset investment program for 2012-13 is $149.1 million, comprising $140.6 million for works in progress and $8.5 million for new works.  Major projects include:
    • Community Safety Network – Regional Radio Network Replacement Program
    • Information Communication Technology (ICT) Programs

Police Facilities:

  • Cockburn Central Police Station (District Hub) – The establishment of a new Police Hub to replace the ageing and non-contemporary facility at Cockburn Central will introduce the new ’Hubbing’ service delivery model.  The new service delivery model is premised on moving away from a ‘neighbourhood’ model, whereby smaller stations were typically located within walking distance of the areas they served, to a model where technologically advanced  police vehicles are deployed to locations of crime from larger police complexes (Hubs).  This will result in more resources being available for patrolling and tasking to all surrounding neighbourhoods.
  • Central Facilities Relocation Strategy: Perth Police Complex – This program will co-locate policing resources currently dispersed throughout the Central Metropolitan District and provide an integrated service delivery platform for policing in Northbridge and the Central Business District.  It will provide a state of the art lock-up facility as well as an upgraded police station in Northbridge/Perth CBD and the District facility.

FESA

  • Implementation of FESA’s reform program in-line with the Keelty recommendations will see FESA restructured as a State Government Department.  The new Department’s structure will be more operationally focused, functionally based and underpinned by resilient and transparent  governance and supported by increased community awareness.   The Keelty Review made 55 recommendations,  of which FESA is the lead agency for 25.  Of those, 16 have been implemented and nine are still being progressed.
  • Residential growth on the rural interface is increasing the vulnerability of people and property.  The establishment of an Office of Bushfire Risk Management will ensure appropriate risk assessment is undertaken prior to scheduling prescribed burning in areas that may impact residential areas.  The extension of gazetted fire areas to match urban growth in the South West and Metropolitan regions will support improved emergency response, and targeted community engagement programs will raise awareness of emergency risk responsibility and preparedness planning.Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia – continued 689
  • FESA will focus on improved preparedness for predicted increases  in service delivery demands.  A priority is to improve interoperability and information sharing with emergency management partners to ensure effective incident response regardless of the concurrency of large scale events.  The restructure will support increased capacity for operational preparedness and capability planning, including establishment of a fourth Metropolitan region.
  • The implementation of technology and increased technical support during incidents will improve intelligence and management planning.  Evaluation of capacity to meet training demands, resulting from increased operational capacity and structural reform, will include a focus on development of agreed training standards to support improved interoperability.
  • The frequency and severity of natural hazard events including large scale bushfires, cyclones and floods is anticipated to increase.  The development of a State Risk Register to assess the community’s vulnerability based on hazard risks and resilience levels will support the prioritisation of mitigation strategies.

Department of Environment and Conservation (Fire Management Strategy)

  • The Department will continue to undertake an active fire management program in an increasingly complex operating environment, exacerbated by drying conditions in the South West of the State. Risk management measures pertaining to fire management, including prescribed burning, will be further developed. The Government has acknowledged the need to improve the State’s fire preparedness by providing additional recurrent funding of $26.6 million and capital funding of $6.3 million over four years from 2012-13

Main points covered in Ministerial Media Statements include:

  • $33 million to boost DEC fire management including employing additional fire management specialists.
  • $78.6 million for 100 extra Police, 30 Auxiliary Officers and 30 Support Staff and upgrades to police stations.
  • $20 million for the operation of the Office of Bushfire Risk Management within FESA, additional policy and secretariat support for the State Emergency Management Committee, enhanced service delivery and increased training for staff and volunteers.
  • Construction of various Police Stations, court facilities and career/volunteer fire and rescue stations in regional areas.