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Funding secures regional training
Access to safe and effective training for CFA members has been secured for coming decades thanks to more than $20 million to upgrade six of CFA’s seven regional training grounds.
The upgrades are part of a $126.9 million investment in training infrastructure for CFA announced in last month’s State Budget.
It includes an $80.7 million environmental improvement package to rehabilitate the former Fiskville training college and regional training grounds.
Visiting Victorian Emergency Management Training Campus (VEMTC) Wangaratta on Friday, CFA Chief Officer Joe Buffone said the investment would give CFA members and the community confidence CFA’s regional training facilities were safe and effective centres of excellence.
“Training has always been a key priority for CFA to ensure our members have the skills and knowledge to keep Victoria safe. This funding ensures we can revitalise our training grounds as we prepare to meet the challenges of the next 20 years,” Mr Buffone said.
“These training grounds are vital for CFA members, particularly volunteers in regional Victoria, and provide the majority of our members training within two hours of their fire station.”
Following the discovery of residues at Fiskville from firefighting foams used before 2007, audits of the remaining training grounds found significantly lower levels of similar chemicals.
The $20 million investment will enable small scale clean up works, new water treatment plants, upgraded drainage systems and more catchment dams.
The quality of firefighter training water at Bangholme, West Sale, Wangaratta, Huntly, Penshurst and Longerenong will now be assured. CFA’s recently opened Sunraysia training campus is unaffected.
“I’m pleased a range of works to make sure our training grounds meet our high standards for safety and environmental management can begin in the coming weeks and months,” Mr Buffone said.
“Where possible, local contractors will be engaged to conduct the works.”
He said the Budget also provided more than $46.2 million to build a new training facility in the Central Highlands and create a fire investigation training facility at VEMTC Huntly, near Bendigo.
“We are getting closer to settling on a new site in the Central Highlands,” Mr Buffone said.
“This is an important commitment which will give our people access to training in their region.”
Photos from Kate Harrap