The McGowan Labor Government is investing significantly in community safety initiatives across Western Australia as part of its 2020-21 State Budget.
Western Australians will benefit from an additional 800 police officers, that will be recruited, on top of the 300 new police officers already being delivered.
The $314 million investment is the largest increase on record and will result in WA having the highest number of police officers per person of all States, as we continue to manage COVID-19 safely.
It will further support the McGowan Government’s efforts to ensure better police services are being delivered to the community, as part of the WA Recovery Plan implementation, which includes $96.5 million to upgrade and refurbish police stations across the State.
It comes on top of the McGowan Government’s commitment to community safety already underway, to give WA Police Force resources including body worn cameras, personal mobile devices and multi-threat body armour for frontline officers.
WA’s fire and emergency services will be further supported with a $6.6 million investment in a multispectral line scanner and high-performance aircraft that will significantly enhance the State’s aerial intelligence capabilities and management of fires or other hazards.
This investment will further strengthen WA’s emergency services and builds on the McGowan Government’s $15 million infrastructure upgrade and expansion package, as part of the WA Recovery Plan, to provide extra support to WA’s emergency services volunteers to drive local jobs and local content.
The State Budget also includes $2.4 million to establish a dedicated mental health unit at Bandyup Women’s Prison.
It will be the first time that the 50-year-old prison has had a mental health unit, which will have 32 beds and will provide therapeutic and counselling support for prisoners with mental health issues.
The District Court will also be bolstered with $5.5 million in funding for one additional District Court Judge and two support staff in response to the increase in lodgements and cases on hand.
This is in addition to the $109.9 million investment the McGowan Government has made in courts and tribunal services since taking office.
A $9 million investment is being made to implement the McGowan Government’s comprehensive Family Violence Reform Legislation to protect survivors of family and domestic violence and support them through the justice system.
This program of work is on top of the $28.1 million package of initiatives included in the WA Recovery Plan, which committed to employ 23 additional outreach workers, boost family violence response teams that support victims following police call-outs, an expansion to the Peel and Kwinana refuges and counselling, advocacy and support services.
The State Budget also includes $6.8 million to continue the Aboriginal Community Connectors program.
The program provides safe transport options, connects vulnerable people with culturally responsive crisis support and provides local employment opportunities through services contracts across the State and in the regions.
Other key community safety projects and election commitments that are underway or in progress include:
- $322.2 million to implement the Methamphetamine Action Plan with more crisis support, mental health and drug and alcohol services, prevention and harm reduction initiatives, the roll out of the Meth Border Force to disrupt the movement of meth, delivery of the alcohol and drug treatment prison and the toughest penalties in Australia for meth traffickers;
- $20.5 million for the introduction of the Target 120 early intervention program in Albany, Armadale, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Kununurra and Mirrabooka and expansion to further sites to reduce youth crime and prevent reoffending;
- $11.7 million to establish new Family and Domestic Violence One Stop Hubs in Mirrabooka and Kalgoorlie to make it easier for family and domestic violence victims to access services;
- $52.3 million in the expansion of electronic monitoring of offenders in the community;
- $310 million funding to expand WA’s prison capacity with the addition of 1,228 new beds to the WA custodial estate, including increasing prison capacity at Bunbury Regional Prison and Casuarina Prison;
- $266.7 million commitment to the Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing package which includes measures including housing, municipal and essential services and programs to support health and mental health issues in the Kimberley;
- $6.2 million Kimberley juvenile justice strategy including night patrols, place-based activities, youth-engagement program and integrated learning program;
- $37 million to continue the operation of the South West Emergency Rescue Helicopter;
- $22 million investment to boost the Enhanced Prescribed Burning program in the South-West;
- New $13.4 million multi-purpose emergency services facility being built in Collie that includes a Level Three Incident Control Centre, Emergency Driver Training School and regional fleet maintenance;
- $18 million Bushfire Centre of Excellence in Nambeelup to bring together the best research and training techniques in bushfire management;
- $11.3 million injection to support and expand PCYCs in Carnarvon, Kununurra, Midland and Rockingham;
- $85.8 million state-of-the-art Armadale Courthouse and Police Complex to accommodate police and justice staff in one premise;
- $1.4 billion Community Safety Commitment to give the WA Police Force resources to keep the WA community safe, which includes the roll out of body worn cameras to improve police interactions with the public, personal mobile tablets to free up police officers for more time on the beat and the provision of personal multi-threat body armour to frontline police officers.
As stated by Police Minister Michelle Roberts:
“I’m really pleased that our Government has been able to make this commitment which builds on our strong record in community safety.
“More officers, means more eyes in the community and more people dedicated to keeping us safe.
“The additional officers are as a result of discussion with the Commissioner and careful consideration to identify current and forecast demand over the next few years.
“Since the McGowan Government came to power, we’ve invested heavily in resourcing our police to support frontline operations.
“This commitment, combined with our careful financial management has ensured our Police are much better protected and resourced with the latest equipment to serve the community.”
As stated by Emergency Services and Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
“The level of investment and reform across our State’s Corrective Services and Emergency Services has not waned in the term of the McGowan Government.
“We are continuing with that support and are introducing, for the first time, long-term funding for a multispectral line scanner and high-performance aircraft that will make a significant difference in how we map and combat fires and other hazards.
“The introduction of a dedicated mental health unit at Bandyup Women’s Prison will make a major change to how prisoners are managed at the facility.
“This new investment will add to the already unprecedented level of investment in community safety including record mitigation funding, ground-breaking alcohol and other drug treatment prisons and locally built new generation fire appliances.”
As stated by Attorney General John Quigley:
“The McGowan Government is committed to continuing to improve the delivery of justice in Western Australia.
“As a result of this Government’s legislative reforms, a significant volume of judicial work has moved from the Supreme Court to the District Court, resulting in an increased workload at the District Court.
“The provision of an additional Judge, along with support staff, to the District Court will enable matters to be brought before the court in a more timely manner and thereby allowing victims to move forward with their lives.”
As stated by Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk:
“The McGowan Government remains focused on reducing the State’s unacceptably high rates of family and domestic violence and improving community safety overall.
“This new funding builds on our already significant commitments to protecting people experiencing family and domestic violence and improving outcomes for vulnerable community members by connecting them with the services and supports they need.”