Ballan CFA plans ‘advancing’

The state government is trying to find suitable land in the Ballan area for a new CFA fire training area to replace the Fiskville facility. Picture: Michael Copp

The Country Fire Authority has applied to Moorabool council for a planning permit to build a new firefighter training centre at

The state government announced in May last year plans to build the new centre on the corner of Gillespies Lane and Ingliston Road, saying design and planning works were expected to start soon, with construction set to begin in the first half of this year.

But Star Weekly can confirm the CFA, Moorabool council and the state government are still in planning stages, with construction not expected to start until later this year.

Emergency Services Minister James Merlino said: “It’s important to ensure the site is in suitable condition so we can get on with the job of building a world-class training facility for our firefighters and emergency management workers.”

The state government committed $31 million in its 2016-17 budget to buy land and build the new facility in the Central Highlands region following the closure of the Fiskville centre.

There had been intense community pressure on the state government and Emergency Management Victoria to build the new centre in Ballan, which has reportedly lost at least
$16 million from the local economy as a result of Fiskville’s closure.

The new centre will be led by the CFA, but emergency services personnel from across the state, including SES and Ambulance Victoria, will also train there.

Moorabool chief executive Rob Croxford said the CFA had lodged a planning application and the council was helping the authority with its community consultation plans.

“We are confident the project is advancing,” Mr Croxford said.

“[Council] will advance the planning permit process over the next month.”

A CFA spokesman denied there were any delays with the project, despite the state government announcing last year that construction would have started by now.