New hub not Fiskville’s replacement

A new Victorian Emergency Management Institute at Mount Macedon will not jeopardise the promised Fiskville replacement, the state government has pledged. 

Emergency Services Minister James Merlino announced the state government had purchased the former national emergency services training facility in Mount Macedon closed by  the Abbott government in 2014.

That site will be turned into a Victorian Emergency Management Institute which will provide a joint training facility for all Victorian emergency service workers. In a statement the government said the new institute would help fill the gap left by the closure of the contaminated Fiskville CFA training campus.

The facility is set on six and a half acres and includes a large theatre with tiered seating, and a simulation centre. Work on the upgrades will start this year, with emergency management training due to start in the first half of 2017.

A spokeswoman for Mr Merlino said the state government was still committed to its budget promise of providing  $46.2 million to establish a new firefighting training centre in the Central Highlands, and upgrade the facility at Huntly. She confirmed no site had been purchased at this stage. 

The closure of the Fiskville site in 2015 was announced following the detection of toxic and deadly chemicals.

Moorabool Shire Council deputy mayor Paul Tatchell said he remained confident a site would be secured this year in Ballan, but did not expect an announcement to be made until at least the end of October. 

“Obviously keeping the business in Ballan would be only fair due to the economic damage the closure of Fiskville did to the town and surrounding towns,” Cr Tatchell said. 

“It has had an effect on people's lives the resolution seems to be dragging on.

“I’m confident that the negotiations and discussions being held have given us the best opportunity to keep it in Ballan – the absolute worst case scenario would be to put it in Moorabool, and if that happens there would need to be investment in Ballan.”