Helpline established for Fiskville inquiry

Fiskville inquiry 1

People who come forward to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Fiskville will be given the support they need with a special counselling service dedicated to their concerns.

A hotline will be open seven days a week from 8am to 11pm and be operated by trained staff who can respond to any health or welfare concerns people could have as the full Fiskville story unfolds before the inquiry.

Not only will the helpline be available for those giving evidence but it will also be open to address public fears arising from experiences connected to the training facility.

The Chair of the Committee running the inquiry, Bronwyn Halfpenny said the service has been set up because some people could feel stressed or traumatised by sharing their stories.

“Many people have been affected by the Fiskville training college and this helpline will assist them with any welfare concerns arising from their experiences,” Ms Halfpenny said.

“We will soon start our public hearings and some people may need support as the inquiry takes its course.”

The helpline is an independent service run by the Victorian Community Operations and Victims Support Agency. To contact the helpline phone Freecall 1800 819 817.

The inquiry by the Victorian Parliament’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee is currently receiving public submissions.

The new helpline is available to provide assistance to people who wish to make a submission and for witnesses appearing at public hearings.

So far 10 submissions have been publicly released. Where submitters have agreed, their submissions will be made public and posted on the committee’s website. Due to the expected large volume of submissions this may take some time.

The Committee has been provided with additional resources from Parliament and has requested additional resourcing from Government.

Following the postponement of a site visit due to the closure of Fiskville, the Committee is waiting for assurances from the CFA that the site is safe prior to rescheduling the visit.

“However this is not stopping the work of the Committee and we are focused on meeting the deadline for the interim report by 30 June 2015,” Ms Halfpenny said.

“We will be commencing our public hearings as planned on 4 May in Melbourne.”

To contact the helpline phone freecall 1800 819 817. Members of the public can also visit the Community Operations and Victims Support Agency’s website at: www.victimsofcrime.vic.gov.au

Submissions to the Fiskville inquiry can be emailed to enrc@parliament.vic.gov.au or sent to: Executive Officer, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Parliament House, Spring Street, East Melbourne VIC 3002. E‑submissions can be made via: www.parliament.vic.gov.au/enrc