The Gutwein Government’s entrenched meanness and disregard for frontline emergency workers will see an unnecessary battle with firefighters reach the full bench of the Supreme Court in an exercise costing taxpayers thousands.
Shadow Attorney-General Ella Haddad said it was extraordinary that the Gutwein Government would take the court action to target 13 firefighters and withhold what amounted to less than $20,000 in backpay.
“The fact is the Liberal Government is prepared to spend more money on legal fees to continue their battle against firefighters when the backpay they are determined to withhold amounts to possibly no more than $20,000 in total across all 13 workers,” Ms Haddad.
“Mr Gutwein – with Ms Archer at the front of the attack on emergency workers – was unacceptably dismissive of the concerns of firefighters when he was questioned on this issue in the State Parliament today and is determined that his government will fight this backpay to the bitter end.
“The mean-spiritedness of Peter Gutwein knows no bounds.
“It’s a slap in the face to workers who every day put themselves in the path of danger to protect our community.
“In return, they fail to get any support from this callous and uncaring government.
“The Gutwein Government has already waged this battle through both the Industrial Commission and the Supreme Court and lost twice.
“It’s completely out of touch with community expectation and Ms Archer and the Premier should show some compassion and drop it.
“And Ms Archer should answer important questions: How much is this shameful on-going court battle costing taxpayers in legal fees? And do these legal fees amount to more than the wages they are fighting against paying to these firefighters?”
Ella Haddad MP
Shadow Attorney General