Interim report presented on Fiskville inquiry

Fiskville inquiry 1

An interim report on the CFA training college at Fiskville has been presented to the Victorian Parliament by the Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee.

In the interim report, the Committee has made three recommendations for action now.

The Committee has recommended that the Victorian Government:

  • Oversee thorough testing of soil and water, including tank water, on adjoining or relevant properties to the CFA training college at Fiskville to determine any immediate risks, and consider what needs to be done if affected people cannot sell their livestock or produce
  • Assess the feasibility of providing voluntary testing for PFOS free of charge to firefighters – career and volunteer – current and former staff at Fiskville, other trainees, and people who live or have lived on neighbouring properties
  • Ensures that any person who seeks records and documents relating to their involvement with Fiskville is able to do so from government agencies and departments without hindrance.

 

Tabling the report in Parliament, Committee Chair Bronwyn Halfpenny said the interim report records the work the Committee has done so far.

“A conscious decision was made to listen first to the testimony of those who had been affected by practices at the CFA training college at Fiskville,” Ms Halfpenny said.

“These are not easy stories to tell or easy stories to hear. We have heard from people who have cared for a loved one with a debilitating and deadly disease, individuals who were exposed to deadly materials and who suffer now, and others living with the anxiety of developing a deadly disease.”

Ms Halfpenny acknowledged the great work that members of the Country Fire Authority do and the impact that the closure of the Fiskville site may have on the fire training needs of the state.

“But from the evidence we have received, it cannot be denied that many people who put their trust in the leadership of the Country Fire Authority now feel betrayed,” she said.

Ms Halfpenny noted that the next stage of the inquiry, across the second half of 2015, will involve hearings with government departments and agencies that were involved with the operations at Fiskville.

“The Committee has not yet heard the full story and there is much more evidence to collect,” she said.

“The Committee is committed to finding a way to provide both the answers to Fiskville and justice to all those affected.”

The interim report with the full list of recommendations is available from the Committee’s website.

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