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It is a fact of police work that we can never know for certain what we’ll find around the next corner or radio call.
As has been said many times no one could have predicted the demanding and extreme situation we’ve all been confronted with by the year-long global crisis of Covid-19 this year, but thankfully as we turn the corner into 2021 there are at least some promising signs of a safer year ahead.
So far we’ve also been spared the onslaught of the scale of bushfires that we saw this time last year, and we hope that we don’t see that again.
Our December edition of Police News many of the Christmas messages that it contains — from the Premier to the Police Minister — are rightly focused on acknowledging the outstanding levels of professional work that police have performed in 2020 to protect the public of New South Wales.
Let’s not forget it is us, the police officers of this state, who are called on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year to safeguard our communities. The deserved praise you get is credit where credit is due.
Yet despite your relentless duties it must be said that we have not been well served in return by the Coalition Government, when it comes to doing the right thing on pay and conditions for Award 2020.
Despite the NSWPF supporting the Wages Policy for a 2.5% pay rise as far back as December 2019, this Government first sought to impose a Pay Freeze, and then, through the 17 November Budget, has made a move to push down future pay rises to a ceiling of 1.5%.
Our determined arguments at the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to get a fair and reasonable outcome will continue right until our final appearance on 18 December. We will assess the decision of the IRC when it is delivered, which in all likelihood will take us into 2021.
One of the sources of strength I have drawn on in 2020 has been the perspective that the Association’s 100-year anniversary provides. Over the years there have been many dark days and many hard-fought battles — often against the odds — to continue to secure improvements to our working conditions and to defend our rights.
In my role as your President I am inspired by my predecessors and the work done through the Association to represent your best interests year after year.
When I look back on 2020, I’m proud of the ways that this support and advocacy continued virtually uninterrupted, and it is an appropriate time to note the work that has been done.
Our organisers have been out in the field checking on the welfare needs of frontline officers constantly — from the quarantine hotels to the borders. When a Critical Incident occurs they are side-by side with officers on the ground.
Work such as our input to the new promotions system, and being included to monitor its progress, is all about a commitment to getting the best results for us all.
Our advocacy also plays out in the NSW State Parliament where, in the last sitting days of this year, the Mandatory
Disease Testing legislation we have pushed for over several years made its way successfully through the Legislative Assembly. It next goes to the Legislative Council (Upper House) when Parliament resumes in 2021.
The historic milestone of our Centenary is now like a flag we will carry into next year; to the delayed Biennial Conference set to resume in March in Wollongong, as well as to the postponed Centenary Ball in September 2021.
There will be ongoing challenges and hurdles to overcome in 2021.
The pressures and demands placed on NSW Police will, of course, continue. And through it all the thin blue line will hold fast.
On behalf of the PANSW Executive, made up of serving officers, and the PANSW team, I wish you a safe and joyful Christmas season and a Happy New Year with your families and loved ones.
Across city and country, please reflect on the contributions you have made in 2020 to the neighbourhoods and communities, townships and suburbs that you live and work in.
Be proud and give yourself a #ThumbsUp.
In Strength and Unity,
Read the latest headlines and news coverage of Policing issues in the media on the Headlines page.
See PANSW statements on a variety of policing issues issues on the Media Releases Page.