Bulletin No: 276 Volume: 20 Tuesday 9 December 2014
To ALL UFU MEMBERS
FIREFIGHTERS WILL HOLD
Parliamentary Inquiry into
Today all firefighters and members of the community who have spoken out about the cover-ups of contamination at Fiskville have been vindicated with the announcement of a Parliamentary Inquiry.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced today a “full and frank” inquiry into the contamination of the CFA Fiskville training ground and subsequent exposures to firefighters, staff and the community.
We congratulate the Andrews Government for finally standing up for firefighters by making the decision to have a full inquiry which will hopefully expose the truth and make those responsible for the exposure to toxic chemicals and contaminated water accountable.
The late former CFA Chief Fire Officer Brian Potter raised the alarm in December 2011 when many of his colleagues who had worked and trained at Fiskville died of cancer. Sadly, Mr Potter died of multiple cancers in February this year,
The widespread media coverage of Mr Potter’s story in 2011 resulted in the CFA commissioning the Joy Report which was limited to events and contamination up until 1999 and failed to address the recent concerns of firefighters training in contaminated water.
A leaked 2008 report on sludge in the dams used for firefighting training found it was too dangerous to remove the sludge, but that it needed five years remediation on-site before it could be transported to a waste facility. This sludge held the water used by Victorian firefighters being trained to protect their community.
Despite formal information requests, Mr Potter’s pleas and widespread media coverage the CFA and the former Napthine Government refused to publicly release reports that show the level of contaminants in the water.
Toxic chemicals introduced into the Fiskville water supply included the bacteria pseudomonas aureginosa, a budget solution to water issues, which is harmful to humans. Foam used in training included carcinogens banned in fire services worldwide, including the MFB.
In 2012 water testing revealed significant levels of contaminants and toxins in the water that the MFB judged as unsafe for training yet the CFA considered acceptable and continued training for career and volunteer firefighters.
While firefighters continued to train at Fiskville the human consumption of cattle downstream from Fiskville was banned, farmers received confidential compensation for their losses.
This breadth of this Inquiry should result in firefighters and the community getting the answers they have been fighting for so that those responsible for the continued contamination and exposure can be held accountable.
The Inquiry is expected to get underway when Parliament resumes next year. Members will be kept informed of any developments.
Strength in Unity
READ OUT AT MUSTER AND PIN ON NOTICE BOARD
Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary