September 4, 2013  |  Adjournment

Country Fire Authority Fiskville Facility

I raise  a matter  for  the  attention  of the Minister  for  Police and Emergency Services. The  action  I  seek  is  that  he investigate claims made  by Mr  Neville Callow in regard to the fumes, noise and debris impacting upon  his  property next to  the Country Fire  Authority  (CFA) Fiskville training facility.

Earlier today I was contacted by Mr Callow, who advised me that his property  is less than 100 metres  from the Fiskville test sites.  He advised me that  he has been diagnosed with a serious lung disorder  which he  believes is the result of the smoke from  training  fires at Fiskville  which regularly blows  across  his property. He also said he believes this smoke has  contaminated  his  farm  dam, which has resulted in the death of fish in the dam.

In more recent times explosives have often been detonated  near  his boundary as part of  police  training exercises. During  these  explosions —  for  which no warnings are given — the  level of noise and disturbance is often considerable, and concrete debris has sometimes fallen  on his property. Mr Callow also blames the death of two calves on his property on these explosions.

Mr  Callow has made contact with the CFA many times over the years and been told that the CFA believes he should be  bought  out to enable the CFA to extend  the buffer for its training activities.  At one  time  some  years ago Mr Callow was advised that an offer was imminent, but he was later told that the CFA board had determined  not to  proceed  with the purchase  of  his property. More  recently another offer  for purchase  has been made,  but the  figure was  well below  Mr Callow’s valuation.

Since rejecting  this  offer  Mr  Callow advises that he has received no further advice from the CFA attempting to address his concerns. He has been advised that he should no longer write to  the  Victorian WorkCover Authority or other bodies to express  his  concern but should  instead  direct all  correspondence  to the officer in  charge  of  the  Fiskville  training  facility.  This is a matter of significant concern which comes on top of many very serious health issues raised by firefighters who have taken part in training activities  on  this  site  over many years.

I ask the minister to investigate this matter in regard to Mr Callow  and ensure that he is given the fair treatment he deserves.