Funding for emergency management training facilities in Huntly, Mount Macedon

A NEW emergency services training facility will be built in Mount Macedon, and a more than 20-year-old centre in Huntly will be improved following a state government announcement.

Both projects will receive a share of the $46.2 million included in the state budget to address the shortfall in training facilities since the closure of the Fiskville CFA training college in 2015.

On Monday, the state government announced the $31 million purchase of land for a new Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre in Ballan.

Acting Premier and Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino was keen to “get on with the job of building a safe, world-class training facility” on the 35 hectare site.

"We closed Fiskville because of the cancer risks - and we won't stand by until we have new and upgraded firefighting training centres in place,” Mr Merlino said.

The CFA-operated Huntly Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre will offer specialist investigation training, and facilities will be improved.

A Victorian Emergency Management Institute will be established in Mount Macedon. 

The funding announcement for the Huntly training centre comes after the CFA proposed a $2.5 million expansion of the facility to make it a centre of excellence for fire investigation in Victoria.

Planning documents tendered to the City of Greater Bendigo included a fire investigation building, containing four ‘burn-cells’ and a car/caravan/boat investigation area.

The centre in Huntly made headlines the year prior after asbestos was discovered at the site

An investigation found more than 100 people had trained in rubble containing asbestos, which was removed after the CFA was made aware of its presence.

New breathing apparatus facilities, a training room, first aid room and a dirty mess area were included in an $835,242 upgrade of the Huntly training centre, which was officially opened in 2014. 

Change rooms and amenities were also improved. 

The state government spent $80.7 million decommissioning the Fiskville training college after tests confirmed firefighters’ suspicions of a link between cancer and the chemicals they were being exposed to at the site. 

The investment included environmental audits and upgrades at six other regional Victorian operational centres.