The former CFA Fiskville Training College is located in Victoria's Western Region, ten kilometres from Ballan. CFA purchased the 146 hectare site in 1971 to streamline and improve the quality of training for emergency service volunteers and staff.
In December 2011 concerns were raised about the historical use of chemicals at CFA's Fiskville Training College, and the potential impact on CFA members and Fiskville staff.
CFA responded to these claims by engaging independent environmental consultants and toxicology experts to investigate the environmental and potential health risks posed by our historical training practices. We continue to action the recommendations from three reports into Fiskville (and CFA's other training campuses), an environmental audit, and our own Board's initiatives.
In March 2015 the CFA Board announced the permanent closure of the Fiskville Training College, as it could no longer guarantee the safety of the site. Responsibility for the decommissioning and remediation of the former campus was transferred to CFA’s Fiskville Transition Program, which is currently developing a business case for the Victorian Government outlining options for the decommissioning and environmental remediation of the former training campus.
In January 2013, the EPA issued CFA with two Clean Up Notices for the Fiskville Training Campus. Since then, we have led several important programs of work focussed on the environmental remediation of the site, focussing in particular on the Practical Area Drill (PAD) (where all hot fire fighter training occurred). This program of work will continue until full site remediation is complete.
CFA is committed to providing information to our members and the broader community about the decommissioning process for the former Fiskville Training College, the ongoing environmental investigation, and associated reports and inquiries.
Members are also reminded that if they wish to seek further information or health advice please contact our Fiskville Hotline on 1800 628 616.
Health checks are available for the following groups who attended Fiskville and consider they might be at risk or have health concerns:
- Career and volunteer members involved in practical firefighting
- Other CFA employees and residents
- Students, teachers and trainees including personnel from organisations other than the CFA, e.g. VicSES, Parks Victoria, etc.
- Persons from off-site including neighbours and contractors who regularly attended Fiskville
Inquiry into the CFA Training College at Fiskville
In December 2014, the Victorian Government announced a joint parliamentary committee investigation into the potential health effects for fire fighters who trained at the Fiskville Training College between 1970 and 1990. The investigation is also looking into potential health effects on Fiskville employees, nearby residents, and visitors.
The parliamentary committee delivered an Interim Report on 24 June 2015, making three recommendations to the Victorian Government. CFA supported all of these recommendations, which focus on providing greater transparency for our firefighters and the wider community on environmental and health-related issues.
The inquiry has now been extended by three months to focus on the response from key agencies to this ongoing issue. The committee will resume hearings at the end of October 2015, with the final report due to be released by 31 March 2016.
For more information, including hearing schedules and transcripts, please visit the Parliamentary Inquiry website.
Fiskville Independent Investigation 2012
In December 2011 concerns were raised about the historical use of chemicals at the CFA Fiskville Training College, and their potential impact on CFA members.
CFA responded to these claims by establishing an Independent Investigation, chaired by Professor Robert Joy, to establish what occurred at Fiskville between 1971 and 1999.
The Understanding the Past to Inform the Future: Report of the Independent Fiskville Investigation – pdf 7.5Mb | Word version - docx 353k by Professor Joy was received by CFA on 28 June 2012, and released to the public on 12 July 2012.
CFA committed to actioning all ten of the recommendations outlined in this report.