News & Media

Fiskville update #29

By: Mick Bourke

  11.00 AM 3 May, 2013

Views: 5092

Tomorrow I expect the Herald Sun to again report false and misleading claims surrounding our handling of the issues at CFA Training College Fiskville.

I want to refute these claims in the strongest possible terms.

Specifically, we expect the paper to refer to a report by ALS, which CFA commissioned, into training water quality in early 2012.

As a direct result of the findings of that ALS report, Fiskville staff stepped up testing and treatment of the training water system in February 2012.

Water results have been published on the CFA Website.

Where results were outside guidelines, use of training water was suspended while it was treated. Results were reviewed by a chemist from the local water authority.

Significantly, during February to June 2012, water for training was drawn from "the Pit" which contained a high concentration of town mains water mixed with water drawn from Dam 2.

Testing results for Dam 2 contained in the ALS report should be seen in this context (i.e. the training water drawn from the pit was heavily diluted with town mains water).

While leading environmental engineering firm Cardno Lane Piper carried out a review of the training water system - and to give our members certainty and confidence in the training PAD - CFA switched entirely to town mains water in June 2012.

CFA expects to receive the Cardno Lane Piper report mid-year and will then make decisions about a future water training system.

In July 2012, a month after switching to town mains water, I was interviewed on ABC Radio assuring CFA members the town mains water was obviously safe for training.

This remains the case and I stand by those comments. Fiskville remains safe for staff, trainees and visitors.

Suggestions I have been anything other than open and transparent with members and the public on these matters are false, misleading and offensive.

I also expect false allegations surrounding a leaked email which the Herald Sun will try to characterise as suppressing information relating to issues at Fiskville.

This email was to inform Fiskville staff of strict new access arrangements to a computer drive.

It followed unauthorised access and release of restricted CFA material, in June 2012. The action outlined in the email was entirely appropriate.

The leaked email in the Herald Sun media enquiry refers to documents "held" by audit firm Korda Mentha, a company engaged to search for, and collect documents on behalf of Professor Roy Joy as part of the Understanding the Past to inform the Future report Korda Mentha provided all documents to Professor Rob Joy and formed a vital part of his final report made public in July 2012.

The fact the documents mentioned in the leaked email were held by Korda Mentha, contradicts the false, misleading and offensive assertion that they were withheld.

They were, in fact, provided freely, along with literally millions of other documents, to Professor Rob Joy.

Since the Professor Joy Report was made public in July 2012, we have made significant progress implementing the recommendations of the report and 11 additional management initiatives.

All of this is being done under the oversight of an Independent Monitor, former Deputy Commissioner of Victoria Police, Kieran Walshe.

I want to let you know we will not be distracted in our commitment to addressing these recommendations by a continued malicious, inaccurate and misleading media campaign driven by those with vested interests in disparaging the Fiskville facility.

Last Updated: 10 December 2015