Fire centre cashed up

Photo by Penny Stephens.

A new state emergency management institute in Mount Macedon is a step closer, with the state government announcing funding details last week.

To get the new institute off the ground, the project will receive a share of $46.2 million earmarked in the state budget to address the shortfall in emergency facilities since the closure of the Fiskville CFA training college in 2015.

The project, announced last September, will redevelop the 2.6-hectare Australian Emergency Management Institute site that was closed three years ago. It will include an overhaul of accommodation facilities, a theatre with tiered seating, a simulation centre and installation of new technology and safety upgrades.

At the time of the announcement, Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas said that emergency services training was “back where it belongs – in Mount Macedon”.

“This is a big win for the Mount Macedon community that will boost jobs and the local economy,” she said.

A refurbishment of the nearby CFA Huntly base is also in line to share in the funding.

Emergency Services Minister James Merlino announced last week the $31 million purchase of a 35-hectare site for a new Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre in Ballan. Mr Merlino said it was time to “get on with the job of building a safe, world-class training facility”.

The government spent $80.7 million to decommission the Fiskville training facility and conduct environmental audits and upgrades at six other operational centres located across regional Victoria.

“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,” he said.

Development of the Ballan training centre is expected to take about two and a half to three years.