THE Abbott government's decision to shut a 50-year-old Mount Macedon-based emergency management training campus is a ''significant blow'' to public sector disaster response, according to Labor.
The federal government will, by mid-2015, ''transition'' the Australian Emergency Management Institute into a Canberra-based virtual institute, in a move flagged in the budget papers, saving Australian taxpayers about $900,000.
The 44 employees are being asked to relocate or take a redundancy package.
Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said for emergency services workers and efforts, the closure was a significant blow.
"There will be a serious loss to the emergency management community when the short residential courses are replaced by an online service from Canberra," he said.
The institute offers a diploma of emergency management to public service members, including bureaucrats, the Country Fire Authority and State Emergency Services.
But Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the modernised Canberra-based model would bring skills directly to the client. ''We anticipate most courses will continue to be delivered face-to-face around Australia,'' he said.
The institute played an active role in implementing the findings of the royal commission into Black Saturday, said Bendigo Labor MP Lisa Chesters.