Category Archives: Victoria

Victoria | Suspected contamination of “Provive” Propofol

  • This is an update to the Chief Health Officer alert dated 2 May 2014 for Suspected contamination of “Provive” Propofol.
  • A number of people across Australia have developed septicaemia due to Ralstonia species with a common link of having been administered Provive propofol in April 2014.
  • Further investigations are being undertaken by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to determine the cause of sepsis and the strength of evidence linking propofol products with reported cases.
  • The TGA recommendation to quarantine the two suspect batches of propofol remains. At this time, no batches of any of the drugs listed below are subject to a recall.
  • Hospitals should quarantine stock of Provive and Sandoz propofol products and continue to seek alternatives to Provive and Sandoz propofol products until further notice.
  • Maintain a high index of suspicion in all febrile patients following intravenous sedation or anaesthesia.
  • Report any potential cases of sepsis following administration of Provive propofol to the TGA and the Department of Health.

What is the issue?

Ralstonia pickettii is a rare infection. It is a gram negative organism that has been linked in the past to contamination of medical therapeutic agents.

Concern was raised when this organism was identified in three South Australian patients who had procedures in April 2014. The only common exposure was the administration of Provive propofol during their procedures.

Five cases of septicaemia due to Ralstonia species where Provive propofol was also administered were subsequently identified in Queensland (4) and Victoria (1). Additional cases of septicaemia due to Ralstonia species have also been identified where there was no link to propofol administration.

The TGA is working with State and Territory health departments to gather further information regarding the reported cases of sepsis and to identify the specific organism(s) suspected of causing the infection.

In particular, the TGA is investigating the strength of the evidence linking these propofol products with the reported cases of sepsis.

As part of these investigations, the TGA is testing samples of the suspect batches for microbial quality. This testing includes performing sterility and bacterial endotoxin tests on the products. Results from the sterility testing will not be available for 2-3 weeks due to the prolonged incubation period for this test and the nature of the product.

The TGA is also carefully examining the manufacturing site data to identify relevant information.

Who is at risk?

All patients undergoing anaesthesia or sedation involving the suspected batches of propofol are potentially at risk.


Affected persons have developed rapid onset of fever and signs of septicaemia following  medical procedures involving the suspected batches of Propofol. Some have required admission to intensive care.


Medical practitioners should avoid using the following batches of propofol:  Provive MCT-LCT 1%  20 ml vials, batches A030906 Exp. 08/15, and A030907 Exp. 08/15 because of the potential risk of septicaemia.

As a precaution it is recommended that all practitioners avoid using all Provive propofol products. Because the same manufacturer and supplier are used by Sandoz, clinicians should also avoid the use of Sandoz propofol products. Hospitals should seek alternatives to these brands.

Sandoz and Provive propofol products should only be used where there is no suitable alternative and consideration is given to the benefit relative to the risk to the patient.

Hospitals and other treatment facilities should check their stocks of propofol for the identified products and quarantine these immediately.

Maintain a high index of suspicion in all febrile patients following intravenous sedation or anaesthesia.

For any suspected case, consider the following actions:

  • Take blood cultures
  • Check whether there was an exposure to a product of concern
  • Seek advice from an Infectious Diseases Physician

If you become aware of any potential cases of sepsis following administration of Provive propofol

  • contact the TGA at:  or on 1800 044 114
  • notify suspected cases immediately to the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control section at the Department of Health on 1300 651 160.

More information

Thereapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

Victoria | Pedestrian dies after collision with MFB truck in Coburg

A man has died in hospital this evening following a collision in Coburg this morning.

It is believed an MFB truck was travelling north along Nicholson Street and turned right into Moreland Road when it struck the man just before 10am.

The 77-year-old West Preston man received life-threatening injuries and was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he passed away this evening.

The circumstances of the accident have not yet been determined, however the fire truck was not responding to an emergency incident. The driver of the truck is assisting police with their enquiries.

Police are still hoping to speak to a female medic that stopped at the scene to assist the man but left the scene before police arrival. Investigators are also keen to speak to anyone that may have witnessed the collision.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit

Victoria | Fireys challenged over fire season

Firefighters fought more than 4,600 grass and bushfires during a significant fire season that challenged emergency services and Victorian communities, Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said today.

“During the 2013-14 fire season Victoria experienced a heat wave, long running fires in hard to reach, remote bushland, and fast moving grass fires threatening Melbourne’s fringe,” Mr Lapsley said.

Tragically, one life was lost in the Grampians. Seventy-six houses and 2,900 kilometres of fences were destroyed or damaged, and more than 21,500 livestock lost. More than 460,000 hectares of private and public land was burnt.

“The risk of bushfire in regional and outer metropolitan communities is a very difficult reality for communities and the firefighters working hard to protect those communities,” he said.

“It has been a long and challenging season for the emergency services and Victorian communities and their efforts in preparing for and responding to the threat of fire should be recognised.

From December 2013 to March 2014, Victoria had 19 days of extreme and severe fire danger rating and 16 days of Total Fire Ban.

In January, fires were predominantly in the Northern Grampians and Loddon Mallee regions and the first official Recommendation to Evacuate in Victoria was issued for the Halls Gap community.

In February, the communities of Gisborne, Warrandyte, Wallan, Kilmore and surrounding towns came under threat.

Mr Lapsley said Victoria experienced the most significant fire threat in years on February 9. In a 24-hour period on that day, Victoria recorded 954 emergency incidents, almost six times more than on a normal summer day. By 9.30pm on February 10, more than 100 fires were burning out of control.

The Hazelwood Open Cut Mine fire challenged more than 7000 individual firefighters and the community with 45 days of intense firefighting before being declared safe.

East Gippsland communities including Bonang, Dedderick, Goongerah and Tubbat also lived under the threat of fire and in smoke for more than six weeks until the deep-seated forest fires started by lightning were contained.

During the fire season, approximately 2850 international and interstate firefighters spent just over two months assisting Victorian crews in incident control centres and CFA fire stations across Victoria.

Interstate and international crews from Queensland, NSW and New Zealand arrived in Victoria at the end of January after prolonged hot weather and in preparation of heightened fire danger.

Further support came from South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and Air Services Australia as part of the response to the Hazelwood Open Cut Mine fire.

Victoria | 78 new firefighting vehicles to be built for CFA

An extra $17.2 million dollars from the Victorian Government in the 2014/15 budget to build dozens of new firefighting vehicles has been welcomed by CFA.

The announcement is part of a $29 million investment in 78 new trucks, including 74 medium tankers to be built over the next year.

CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said the announcement would be welcomed by CFA firefighters and the communities they serve.

“These state of the art firefighting vehicles mean Victoria can claim one of the most advanced firefighting fleets in Australia,” Mr Ferguson said.

The investment comes hot on the heels of the delivery of 124 medium tankers to brigades across the state in 2012/13 at a cost of $49 million.

The design and manufacture of the majority of those vehicles was done in Ballarat and Sunshine, and it’s expected most of the new fleet will again be built in Victoria.

“CFA is very proud to be supporting local manufacturing. It represents a huge investment into local communities,” Mr Ferguson said.

In addition to the tankers, an updated design of the heavy tanker will be added to 10 already being trialled across the state, as well as a medium pumper, breathing apparatus truck and heavy sand tanker.

Mr Ferguson said the new medium tankers had been well received by brigades around Victoria.

“These trucks can pump 900 litres of water per minute – the same as a heavy tanker and double the amount of the current medium tankers,” Mr Ferguson said.

“Essentially, these fire trucks have the capabilities of a heavy tanker but are a better size for accessibility on fire grounds.”

CFA has already begun planning where the new trucks will be deployed following their expected completion around the middle of next year.

CFA volunteers were instrumental in the design, testing and delivery of the medium tankers.

“We received very positive and productive feedback from more than 1,200 CFA volunteers which ensured the vehicles were the best they could be,” Mr Ferguson said.

Today’s announcement brings to more than 300 the number of new vehicles delivered to CFA brigades since 2011.

Victoria | SES pays tribute to Peter Doutch

Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) was saddened to learn of the death of volunteer Peter Doutch in a tragic accident on 27 April that claimed his life.

Peter had been involved as a dedicated SES volunteer for more than 20 years, initially with the Knox Unit and then the Frankston Unit. He had travelled widely through Victoria with SES and enjoyed supporting the  community.

He will be sadly missed by his fellow volunteers and those who knew him. SES’ thoughts and sympathy are with his family and young daughter who is currently in hospital.

VIC | Melbourne woman injured by pet python

Paramedics were called to treat a woman injured by her pet python in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs last night.

Advanced life support paramedics were called to the woman’s home just before eight o’clock.

Advanced life support paramedic Jason Pitman said the woman was on the phone, when the snake wrapped itself tightly around her neck.

‘The snake was wrapped quite tightly around her neck a number of times and started squeezing quite hard causing breathing problems,’ Mr Pitman said.

‘The woman was able to remove the snake and call triple zero.

‘She had neck injuries, and was suffering a headache and blurred vision due to the fact the snake had been wrapped so tightly around her neck.

‘We treated the woman and she was taken to Box Hill Hospital in a stable condition.

‘Between myself and my partner we have more than 35 years’ experience and neither of us have ever been called to a case like this,’ Mr Pitman said.

VIC | MFB lodges application to terminate enterprise agreements

The MFB today lodged an application with the Fair Work Commission to terminate the current operational enterprise agreements with the firefighters’ union.

MFB Acting CEO Russell Eddington said the current agreements, which expired in September 2013, contained unlawful content that makes them unworkable.

“These clauses mean we can’t deploy resources to best meet changing emergency conditions and we can’t recruit externally,” Mr Eddington said.

“After 12 months of bargaining with the union we are still far apart and it has become clear that we are unable to negotiate around these unlawful clauses,” he said.

“Recent court cases regarding the CFA and Parks Victoria, have supported MFB’s position that clauses in the current award are unlawful.

Mr Eddington said that if successful in terminating the current agreements, the MFB would maintain firefighters’ current pay, core entitlements and general operational framework.

However, he said terminating the agreements would allow the organisation to revert to the consultation requirements under the firefighters Modern Award rather than the arduous and impractical requirements currently in place.

“We have been forced to go to the Fair Work Commission just to move a fire truck from one station to the other. At the Hazelwood mine fire we had to bring in firefighters from South Australia just to be able to use our own advanced equipment because we haven’t reached agreement with the union to commission this vehicle.

“These are management decisions and it seriously detracts from the efficiency of this rate-payer funded service when we have senior management tied up in the Fair Work Commission for weeks simply to implement decisions that ensures the community is best served,” Mr Eddington said.

“The MFB has had a proposal on the table since April last year that maintains core entitlements, such as 10/14 rostering, rest and recline, and annual leave.  It offers pay rises resulting in firefighters being among the highest paid in the country and is designed to modernise the service and position it for a future of ever-increasing collaboration with other emergency services across the State,” he said.

“Our firefighters are dedicated, professional people who do a remarkable job for our State and we need progressive enterprise agreements to build our organisation for them, as well as the community.

“Today is not about the current bargaining process, it is about asking the Fair Work Commission to relieve us of an outdated and unworkable agreement that limits the MFB’s potential to grow and develop.”

The MFB expects the Fair Work Commission to set a hearing date within six weeks.

VIC | Hazelwood mine fire declared safe

After 45 days of intensive firefighting the Hazelwood open cut mine fire has been officially declared ‘safe’, and management handed back to the mine operators, Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said today.

Mr Lapsley said today was a major milestone and marked the end of a long and difficult time for the Morwell community and firefighters.

“When an incident is declared safe it means fire authorities are confident it no longer poses any threat to people or communities,” he said.

“The open cut mine is officially being handed back to GDF Suez with today the last shift with Victorian and interstate fire services physically working at the mine.

“The community may still see a few puffs of smoke as the mine operators continue to work on extinguishing small hot spots, but CFA will continue to support GDF Suez with management support and advice and the local CFA will be liaising closely with the mine owners, and be on hand to help if needed.”

The northern batters, the area that was closest to Morwell and one of the most fire intense areas that put smoke and ash over the town for many weeks, was declared safe on Friday.  Management of the mine has been progressively handed back to the mine operators.

“This fire has for more than five weeks caused significant concern to the communities of Morwell and the Latrobe Valley and the health concerns of both the community and firefighters have added an extra layer of complexity to the fire fight,” Mr Lapsley said.

“This has been an extremely challenging fire and we have to acknowledge the hard work of Victorian and interstate fire services and incident management personnel throughout the past 45 days.”

More than 7000 individual firefighters have worked through the mine, and at the peak of the fire more than 500 people were working directly and indirectly on the fire and its effect.

On peak days:

• 123.8 million litres of water was used per day and recirculated by ground crews and aircraft to fight the fire. That is around 86,000 litres per minute.

• The aircraft that worked on the fire dropped an average of 1540 litres of foam per day on the fire.

• More than 1,000 carbon monoxide tests on emergency services people were done each day of the 45 days.

• Over 300 accommodation bookings each day in Morwell, Traralgon, Moe and Sale for staff from many different agencies working on the mine fire and its effects.

• Staff working at the mine consumed approximately 1500 meals per day.

Victoria | Premier announces independent inquiry into Hazelwood Mine Fire

The following press release was issued by the Premier of Victoria Denis Napthine.

Premier Denis Napthine and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan today announced the establishment of an independent Inquiry into the Hazelwood Mine Fire, the response to and support of the Morwell and affected communities and the emergency response.

The Board of Inquiry will comprise three members and be headed by the Hon Bernard Teague AO. It will be asked to submit its report to the Government by the end of August 2014.

Justice Teague will bring to this Inquiry his extensive experience, which includes having headed the Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bushfires.

The Inquiry will be convened by the end of March. Its Secretariat will be based in Morwell and will be given all necessary resources to fully support the Inquiry.

Dr Napthine said the Government had decided that a Board of Inquiry – with coercive powers similar to a Royal Commission – was the most appropriate legal form for the Inquiry.

“I have directed the establishment of this Inquiry to give Victorians confidence that the Government is focused on ensuring community safety and recovery. The Inquiry will enable us to review the mine operations and the emergency response to the fire. The Inquiry will also cover health and environmental responses and the response to and support of the affected communities,” Dr Napthine said.

Dr Napthine also thanked everyone involved in fighting the fire and supporting the community.

“I welcome the news that the fire is under control and congratulate all those involved in this work over the last few weeks in addition to agencies and volunteers who have, and continue to, support the community as it recovers,” Dr Napthine said.

“Now is the time for individuals, families, community representatives and businesses to have the opportunity to have their say on how they and their communities have been impacted by the fire, the level of support they received and their views of the emergency response.”

Mr Ryan said the Government had made good on its vow for an open, independent inquiry.

“This inquiry is testament to the Government’s commitment to be open, transparent and straightforward with the community,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Inquiry provides the local community the chance to have its say, and it is important the views of the local community are heard.

“The Government will continue to work with the community and council to get businesses and the community back to full strength as soon as possible.”

The Terms of Reference will be finalised after consultation with Justice Teague and the Solicitor General before being submitted to Governor in Council and made public.

Broadly, the Terms of Reference will examine the regulatory regime which applied to the Hazelwood mine; the adequacy and effectiveness of the emergency response; how the fire started and spread into the mine; and the adequacy of information to and support of the affected communities.

Victoria | Firefighter seriously injured battling grassfire near Rushworth

A CFA volunteer has been injured while fighting a grassfire at Moora, near Rushworth overnight (Friday, 14 March).

The 42 year-old was travelling in the back of CFA tanker when he fell from the truck and was clipped, or run over, by the rear wheels. He was airlifted to Bendigo hospital suffering pelvic injuries and later transferred to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

The truck was travelling at low-speed off road.

The small grassfire started just after 1am and took around 40 minutes to control.

CFA is supporting the injured member’s family and his brigade colleagues.

CFA will conduct an investigation with the help of Victoria Police. WorkSafe has been notified.