Country Fire Authority Fiskville Facility

 I raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. The action I seek is that he publicly state, as a matter of urgency, the government’s full plan, including actions and time lines, for dealing with the notorious Country Fire Authority (CFA) Fiskville training college site. This issue has caused deep distress to the firefighting community and has dogged the Napthine government and its current and former ministers.

We have had a range of damning reports into the extent and nature of the contamination at the Fiskville site, and there has been a lot of conjecture as to whether the site should be used at all in the manner in which it has been.

We have seen a range of damning documents revealed, after the state opposition pursued them under freedom of information laws, regarding the issue of contamination and the actions taken at the site.

These documents have revealed disturbing levels of toxicity and outline the actions the CFA has taken in response to the contamination. They were released after I had received a letter from the former Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Peter Ryan, assuring me that the site was safe after I raised concerns about it in this very forum. Environment Protection Authority Victoria issued clean-up notices at Fiskville earlier this year. Again, that happened prior to the then minister’s letter to me. We then had a significant allocation in this year’s budget of $16.8 billion to clean up Fiskville.

There is an ongoing WorkSafe investigation, and we are still waiting on the release of the Cardno Lane Piper report, despite the fact that it was supposed to have been released some time ago. As reported in the Herald Sun recently, there are persistent rumours that the state government intends to shut the Fiskville training college.

The firefighting community and the Victorian community need the minister to come absolutely clean about what is going on at Fiskville and what the government’s intentions are. It is not enough to say that there are no plans to shut the site, and it is not enough to give proper details about where and when that $16.8 million is going to be allocated and why that money has been allocated despite protestations by this government that the site is safe. Only a full explanation from the minister, including actions and timelines, will begin to ease some of the deep concerns of those who have potentially been exposed to contaminants.