Bulletin No: 101                                                Volume:  21                                  Friday 22 May 2015



The UFU Submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Fiskville in part is calling for those responsible to be made accountable for continuing to expose firefighters and staff to contaminated water and unsafe practices.  

The submission is now publicly available on the Parliamentary website.

We have included our recommendations in this bulletin however we encourage members to access and read the whole submission so that they are fully appraised of the direction of which we are seeking the Inquiry to pursue.

Approximately 450 members have also made submissions through the UFU to the Inquiry and all submissions including the UFU submission can be accessed via the Parliamentary website http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/enrrdc/article/2529

Due to the number of submissions received, the submissions are being gradually uploaded by the Parliamentary Committee so not all immediately available.  Many UFU members’ submissions were made on a confidential basis and confidential submissions are not accessible on the website.  The UFU submission is available.

The UFU has made 10 recommendations to the inquiry including:

  1. That the Committee require the following agencies to provide all relevant information  – without redaction –  including all water testing results, reports, investigations and communications (internal and external) regarding the quality of soil and water at Fiskville to the Inquiry forthwith:
  • CFA
  • MFB
  • WorkSafe Victoria
  • Including the WorkSafe Investigation into the UFU complaint which resulted in a decision that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute
  • EPA
  • Department of Health and Human Services

  1. That the current Board of the CFA be immediately removed for failure to comply with its duties and responsibilities.

  1. That the CFA management (including those that have since left the CFA) be held accountable for the failure to notify firefighters and employees of the contamination and failure to take all reasonable steps to prevent further exposure and therefore knowingly placing the health and safety of firefighters and employees at risk.  In order to hold the appropriate management accountable, the investigation and findings are to be forwarded to the appropriate agency for prosecution.
  2. That the  Committee recommends that the  Minister take all steps to bring the following before the appropriate authorities for prosecution (criminal and/or civil) for the failure to take reasonable steps to provide CFA employees, recruits and members of the public safe from the foreseeable and preventable contamination at Fiskville Training Ground and the failure to notify said people of the contamination:
  • The members of the CFA Board from 2011 to present
  • All CFA CEO’s from 2011 to present
  • The management of Fiskville from 2011 to present where it has been shown that they knowingly continued to expose employees and the public to the contamination.
  • The Board and Management of the MFB and those responsible for firefighters training at Fiskville up until June 2012 without undertaking all reasonable steps including water testing and reporting.
  • Management of WorkSafe and those who were responsible for overseeing the investigation of Fiskville and to take all reasonable steps to protect firefighters and employees from exposure to contamination of soil and water.
  • Management of the Environment Protection Agency and those who were responsible for failing to undertake all necessary investigations as to the safety of the Fiskville site.


  1. That the appropriate Government agencies require firefighting agencies to adhere to Government water quality standards fit for purpose at all times and remove from agencies any ability to change water management and testing regimes.

  1. That the CFA ACT 1958  section 7 be amended to require that of the five members of the Authority be appointed on the recommendations of the Minister, including the Chairperson that two members be volunteer members of brigades and to be appointed from a panel of names nominated by the Board of Volunteer Brigades Victoria,  that two members shall not be members of volunteer brigades but are to be appointed from a panel of names nominated by the United Firefighters Union of Australia and the fifth member be appointed from a panel of names nominated by the Emergency Services Commissioner.

  1. That the MFB Act 1958 be amended to require that of the seven members of the Board be appointed on the recommendations of the Minister and that each Board shall include at least four members nominated by the United Firefighters Union.

  1. That a new training facility be built in Victoria.  With the closure of the Fiskville training ground Victoria will not have sufficient firefighting training capacity or capability at purpose-build facilities that include accommodation and operate on the basis of best practice.

  1. That the OH & S Act is amended to insert a provision that allows for certified enterprise agreements to include health and safety provisions that allows the employee/s and their union to elect a dispute process either through the Fair Work Commission or through the OH & S ACT or both.

  1. That the OH & S Act be amended to insert a provision that allows for certified enterprise agreements that provides for an employee/s and their union to be consulted on health and safety matters in accordance with the consultation provisions of that enterprise agreement without restriction of the OH & S Act.

Members are reminded that the second hearing will be held on Monday 25 May 2015 and all those available are encouraged to attend.

The UFU will be providing a BBQ breakfast in the car park next to Parliament House, opposite the European Cafe from 8:30am. The hearing will commence at 10:00am at Parliament House, Spring Street, East Melbourne

Members are asked to RSVP for either a 10am-1pm shift or a 1pm-5pm shift. Please RSVP via text to 0419 127 045 or org2@ufuvic.asn.au.

Strength in Unity


Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary