I want to assure all CFA members that their CFA is treating these allegations very seriously. Former deputy chairman of the Environmental Protection Authority Rob Joy yesterday accepted a role to chair the Fiskville investigation. With 25 years’ experience in environment protection and resource management, his credentials are exemplary.
CFA became aware of the allegations for the first time when contacted by the Herald Sun on Monday.
Since then we’ve moved quickly to set up health and welfare support for CFA members and their families who have spent time at Fiskville; many of whom are understandably concerned. There is an email enquiry line for those who have concerns, or information that may be relevant to the investigation.
We will respond to all enquiries as thoroughly as we can. We’re also providing regular information updates on the CFA website.
We’ve also made contact with the key people featured in media reports, seeking further information and we have commenced a thorough search of our records.
These allegations date back up to 30 years and current practices are significantly changed from those times. The allegations regarding the use of chemicals date back to a time when attitudes, understanding and work practices were different. Since then, those attitudes, standards and practices have changed dramatically, for the better.
Firefighting is a dangerous activity. However the health and wellbeing of all CFA members and their families is of the highest priority and our safety record is one we can be proud of.
We have no evidence to suggest any risk to those who visit or work at Fiskville today. This was confirmed by an initial review by a hygienist this week. This is important information that can provide confidence to CFA members. WorkSafe has also done an inspection of the site this week and we will continue to work with them. We are also working with the EPA.
The chairman of the CFA board has instructed that I take all reasonable measure to progress this matter in the interest of CFA members.
Let me leave nobody in any doubt how seriously CFA takes this matter. My team is determined to deal with this matter properly. Our people, past and present, are our priority.
The email inquiry line is: Fiskvilleprojectteam@cfa.vic.gov.au