$16.8m to clean up CFA’s Fiskville

Stephen Drill

THE Country Fire Authority’s notorious Fiskville training college will get a
$16.8 million clean-up.

The State Government has allocated $11 million  next year, and another $5.8 million over the following three years for remediation work.

The training college was the subject of a six-month  inquiry by Professor Rob Joy that found the CFA put firefighters’ health at risk.

Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells confirmed  the funding was made available to decontaminate the site.

The  money will be used to clean up toxic chemicals that were burnt there during the
1970s and 1980s as a cheap alternative training fuel.

But Budget paper  No.5 reveals that the clean-up bill could increase.

At this stage it  is impractical to quantify any other financial impacts of the investigation’s
recommendations,” it said.  Fiskville has been linked to at least 20
cancer-related deaths of firefighters and their family members.

Former  CFA chief officer Brian Potter lifted the lid on the scandal in the Herald Sun
in late 2011, revealing he believed his cancer may have been caused by his time
spent at Fiskville.

Brunswick state Labor MP Jane Garrett, who has been
campaigning over concerns about the college, said the funding raised questions
about the safety of the site.

“They have told us the site is safe but  real questions are being raised about whether this will cover what needs to be  done,” she said. “Why didn’t they do this earlier?”