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9/3/2007
Australia: Police Step Up Speed Camera Strike
Speed camera strike in Victoria, Australia could hurt the government goal of reaching $850 million in ticket revenue this year.

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Update: The Australian Industrial Relations Commission ordered a temporary halt to the police work action until the weekend.

Police in Victoria, Australia will escalate a targeted work strike beginning at noon today. Members voted to refuse any duty that would generate revenue for the state government. That meant adding to an existing stop on collection of red light camera and speed camera fines. Police will now refuse to work sporting events, deliver warrants or testify in traffic cases.

"The Police Federation has made a strong case to government to support an outcome above public pay sector policy on the basis of strong productivity improvements, yet government remains intent on introducing features in a new agreement that would see members' entitlements eroded," Victoria Police Federation CEO Paul Mullett said. "We simply can not accept this unreasonable position. As a result, we have little choice but to escalate our work bans to support our claim."

The productivity boast is significant as Victoria photo enforcement cameras issued 1,115,868 tickets last year in a state that has only 3.5 million motorists. A mere 711,054 tickets were issued in 2004. The massive increase in fines drove revenue beyond A$800 million.

Given the staggering increase in productivity, Mullett called the government's offer of a 3.25 percent pay raise "insulting" and ran a series of television commercials urging officers to strike (View commercial on YouTube). Union officials believe that the government will be forced to negotiate with its goal of generating A$850 million in speed camera revenue this year threatened. On August 21, the police union instituted a ban on collecting statistical information and a requirement that off-duty officers could only be recalled to duty in pairs.



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