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Public Health

Central Queensland Public Health Unit provides services to both the Central Queensland and Central West regions.

Our team includes epidemiologists, public health medical officer, public health nurses, environmental health officers, public health data officer and business support staff.

Public health units focus on:

  • protecting health
  • preventing disease, illness and injury
  • promoting health and wellbeing at a population or whole of community level.

This is different from the role of the rest of the health system which is focused on providing healthcare services to individuals and families.


Communicable disease control

Our work involves partnerships and collaboration with stakeholders in Primary Health Networks and Hospitals, laboratories, residential aged care facilities, child care centres, schools and across Government departments such as Biosecurity Queensland, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and local governments.

Our unit is responsible for the management of communicable diseases in our community.

This includes early detection, surveillance, investigation and control of diseases contracted by people from animals (zoonotic diseases), insects (vector borne diseases) and people.

What we do
  • Monitor and respond to notifiable diseases and conditions reported to Queensland Health under the Public Health Act 2005,  including:
    • Food and water borne disease outbreaks
    • Vaccine preventable diseases including measles and whooping cough
    • Serious infections such as meningococcal disease
    • Mosquito-borne infections such as dengue fever
    • Infections transmitted to humans from animals including Q Fever, Hendra virus and Australian Bat Lyssavirus.
  • Manage communicable disease outbreaks and public health incidents, including influenza in Residential Care Facilities
  • Provide expert advice to health professionals, governments, industry and community
  • Develop, implement and partner with others on projects and research to prevent and control communicable diseases;
  • Monitor, enforce and promote compliance with the Public Health Act 2005
  • Human quarantine at Rockhampton airport
  • Joint program with local government and other agencies on mosquito control and mosquito borne diseases.

Immunisation coordination

We coordinate the delivery of national and state immunisation programs with vaccine service providers including General Practices and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples health services. As well, our team delivers free community immunisation clinics and the School Immunisation Program in Central Queensland.

Our goal is to maintain and improve vaccination rates, including vulnerable and Indigenous groups, to minimise major vaccine preventable diseases in our community.

What we do
  • Provide free community clinics and school immunisation clinics
  • Provide expert clinical and program advice to vaccine service providers
  • Provide advice and assistance with the management of cold chain breaches
  • Manage adverse events following immunisation
  • Provide school vaccination records not available through Australian Immunisation Register
  • Provide education and advice to community
  • Promote immunisation for pregnant women
  • Improve immunisation data quality
  • Facilitate the follow up of children overdue for vaccination.

Environmental health

We undertake health risk assessments and provide advice to government partners, stakeholders and the public to minimise the risk to human health from environmental health hazards such as air, soil, water, lead, bat colonies and pesticides.

We’re also responsible for the management of public health risks and regulatory compliance associated with pesticides and poisons.
Environmental health hazards include physical, chemical, biological and social, either natural or as a result of human activity.

We protect and promote the health and wellbeing of individuals and the community by preventing illness and injury arising from environmental health hazards. The scope of the environmental health services largely falls within the following key areas:

  • Food safety and standards
  • Water quality
  • Mosquito borne diseases
  • Tobacco control
  • Medicines and poisons regulation and quality
  • Environmental hazards
What we do
  • Investigate consumer complaints and notifications regarding elevated blood lead levels, non-communicable diseases, cancer clusters and public health risks
  • Conduct health risk assessments on a range of environmental health hazards
  • Provide toxicological and epidemiological advice on public health risks arising from environmental health hazards
  • Advise on the health risks and impacts of land use planning and development
  • Monitor, enforce and promote compliance with the Public Health Act 2005 and Pest Management Act 2005, including licensed pest management technicians and fumigators
  • Investigate complaints about unlicensed pest management operations and other alleged breaches of legislation
  • Work with key partners to manage and respond to exotic vector and mosquito-borne diseases.
  • We enforce Queensland’s tobacco laws which includes restrictions on the advertising, promotion, sale and use of smoking products, including e-cigarettes.
  • We enforce the Act and Food Standards Code (the Code) to ensure food meets labelling, advertising and compositional requirements and standards. Food Act 2006 (the Act) applies to all Queensland food businesses.

Public health incident management

We are part of a multi-agency response during disasters and events and contribute to planning across prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

Major public health incidents may arise from natural disasters, disease outbreaks, criminal acts, bioterrorism and environmental or food contamination.

What we do
  • Provide expert advice and partner with government, non-government agencies and the public regarding public health risks during events
  • Provide public health messages through fact sheets and media
  • Prepare, plan and manage for public health events and mass gatherings through local, state and national disaster management
  • Contribute to Central Queensland and Central West Emergency Incident Response Planning
  • Assist with the response to major public health events in other parts of Queensland, interstate and overseas.

Epidemiology and public health research

We provide important data and health surveillance on the distribution, determinants and control of disease in our community.

Our information on health status and disease trends is used to develop public health policy, and inform the planning and delivery of health care and community programs.

What we do
  • Monitor data for unusual or emerging communicable disease threats
  • Identify the causes of diseases
  • Monitor, analyse and report on trends in data to prevent, control and treat disease and illness
  • Undertake and advise on research and evaluation of public health interventions and projects
  • Partner with research institutions for research and development
  • Epidemiological investigation of non-communicable disease clusters
  • Surveillance of major chronic diseases and preventive health behaviours
  • Provide advice regarding epidemiological methods to inform the planning and quantitative evaluation of public health interventions
  • Analysis of locally relevant data to assist engagement with and advocacy to key stakeholders.
Last updated: 17 June 2020


CQ Public Health Unit
82-86 Bolsover Street
Rockhampton QLD 4700

PO Box 946
Rockhampton QLD 4700

Phone: (07) 4920 6989

Office hours: Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm

Central Queensland and Central West Public Health Bulletin