Western Australia’s Shadow Minister for Culture and the Arts fears next year’s Pride Fairday in Perth may be slapped with new fees as the Liberal Barnett Government tries to introduce new fees for police to attend major events.
John Hyde MLA said proposed legislation was a “kick in the guts” for groups like Pride WA who tried to make their events self-sufficient.
Major events attracting more than 5,000 people and which charge an entry fee will be made to pay for police attendance under the legislation.
The Police Amendment Bill was passed through the WA Legislative Assembly on September 21 and must now pass the upper house.
Hyde said WA Labor would be voting against the bill.
“Labor is hoping to delay the legislation so it won’t be applied to this years Fairday and other community activities before Christmas,” said Hyde
A Department of Police spokesperson said events that benefit the local community would not be charged but couldn’t rule out Fairday without knowing specific details of the event.
“The fee for service system which is already running in other states such as Victoria and NSW, recognises the impact that these events have on local police resources,” the spokesperson said.
“[It] ensures that the community is not left footing the bill for such events which reap onsiderable commercial and economic gain for their organisers.”
The legislation gives the Police Minister discretion to exempt events from the fees.
On September 21, responding to a question from Hyde, WA Police Minister Rob Johnson told the Parliament that the parade was for “people that are either gay or lesbian [and] those people who want to watch the lovely dresses that the men wear.”
“I have never been to the gay and lesbian parade. To be honest, I have never seen the need to.”
Pride WA co-president Charles Denham said Pride events hadn’t had police attendance to date as they hired private security and had marshals for the Parade and Fairday.
Denham said Pride encouraged responsible drinking and that licencees provided staff trained to provide responsible service of alcohol.
“We are obliged to hire security by our agreement with the City of Perth – we pay $15 thousand to close the streets for the parade,” said Denham.
“I guess [WA Police] are a business like everyone else but I also think it’s a duty of the police to provide protection.
– Benn Dorrington with Andrew M. Potts