Monday, 18 May 2015

Fiskville concerns

The huge Fiskville CFA ( Country Fire Authority) training centre was closed permanently in March this year after tests found the chemical PFOS in some water supplies.For many years locals and CFA members have voiced their concerns about contamination (largely ignored by the previous government) and health risks ( there are genuine fears about Fiskville being a 'cancer cluster') associated with the water used at the facility for training. 

An inquiry set up by the new state government started today. On the first day claims were made that Fiskville management had covered up health concerns reported to them by their own members and they heard from a local farming family ( the Lloyds) about how their farm and the sheep on it are 'contaminated'. 

The inquiry also heard from David Card, who went to Fiskville Primary School as a child and later developed two cases of testicular cancer.Mr Card called for health studies into Fiskville to be expanded, because, to date, the studies only included firefighters."I turned 11 at Fiskville and I was heading into puberty," he said."I was there every day, I drank the water, breathed the air, stood on the side of the training area, waded through the golf course."I wonder, is the exposure to a carcinogen on a child's developing body more serious than an adults?"Mr Card told the inquiry he suffered ongoing health problems and trauma related to his illness.

This story is of concern to me because I was the Head Teacher at Mount Wallace Primary School between 1994-96. It is now closed but was situated quite close to the training centre but not as close as the Fiskville Primary School which closed in the 80s. ( We had a lot of their old furniture at Mount Wallace) I hope that DET is represented at the inquiry ( either a lawyer or senior beauracrat) If the inquiry finds that the CFA has a case to answer then DET will need to track down staff and students from both schools to offer whatever support is required.

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