26 September 2023

Fiskville fire victims to be compensated

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People exposed to harmful levels of toxic substances at the former Country Fire Authority (CFA) training college in Fiskville are to have access to financial support under a new redress scheme.

Fiskville, west of Melbourne, was the CFA’s main training centre from 1972 until 2015 when it was permanently closed following a 2014 Parliamentary Inquiry which found that contamination at the site was likely to have caused cancer and other illnesses.

Announced by the Minister for Emergency Services, Jaclyn Symes, the Fiskville Redress Scheme is to commence on Monday (5 September) and be managed by the Department of Justice and Community Safety, independent of the CFA.

“All redress outcome decisions will be made by DJCS and no information will be shared with the CFA or any other organisation to protect the privacy of applicants,” Ms Symes said.

She said people who had worked or trained at Fiskville, lived at or in the vicinity of the CFA facility or attended the Fiskville State School would be among those encouraged to apply.

“The redress scheme will examine individual circumstances and each application will be looked at on a case-by-case basis,” Ms Symes said.

“In line with other redress schemes around Australia, consideration and advice will be given to the extent of exposure and the seriousness of illness associated with the kinds of exposure experienced,” she said.

“The scheme will provide mental health and medical support to participants,” she said.

“it will also include non-financial support such as case management and counselling.”

Ms Symes said the redress scheme was a key recommendation from the Parliamentary Inquiry into the CFA Training College at Fiskville.

She said Government had been working with relevant Agencies, medical experts and people directly affected by their time at Fiskville to ensure the Redress Scheme appropriately responded to recommendations of the Inquiry.

“Scheme participants will not be restricted in their right to pursue other avenues of compensation including the Government’s Presumptive Rights Scheme and workers compensation,” the Minister said.

People can lodge an expression of interest for the Redress Scheme at this PS News link and the 456-page Parliamentary Inquiry Report can be accessed at this link.

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