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Public Health Act

What is the Public Health Act 2005 about?

Public Health Act 2005 logo

The aim of this Act is to protect and promote the health of the Queensland public.  The Act provides the basic safeguards necessary to protect public health through cooperation between the State Government, local governments, health care providers and the community.

This is achieved by:

  • preventing, controlling and reducing risks to public health
  • providing for the identification of, and response to, notifiable conditions
  • defining obligations on persons and particular health care facilities involved in the provision of declared health services to minimise infection risk
  • providing for emergency examination authorities and related matters
  • providing for the notification by doctors and registered nurses of child abuse and neglect, and protecting children who have been harmed or are at risk of harm when they present at health service facilities
  • collecting and managing particular health information, and establishing mechanisms for health information held by the department to be accessed for appropriate research
  • inquiring into serious public health matters
  • responding to public health emergencies
  • providing for compliance with this Act to be monitored and enforced.

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The Public Health Regulation 2018 supports the Act and includes specific measures for the handling and removal of asbestos and the control of mosquitoes, rats and mice. It also designates the childhood contagious conditions and notifiable conditions, and sets out details for perinatal statistics, health information, cancer notifications and the pap smear register.

What are the major changes between the Public Health Act 2005 provisions compared to the Health Act 1937?

The Public Health Act 2005 is the result of an extensive review of the provisions of the Health Act 1937.  The review focused on:

  • removing regulatory requirements that are outdated or duplicate requirements in other legislation
  • modernising the approach to traditional public health concerns, such as the means available to deal with "nuisances" that present a public health risk
  • addressing issues that have emerged more recently, such as public concern about infection control in health facilities and public health emergencies
  • ensuring that public health legislation which affects local government is consistent with current policy on the relationship between the State and local government
  • ensuring that public health legislation has sufficient regard for fundamental legislative principles, which among other matters requires the legislation to achieve an appropriate balance between the need to protect the health of the public and the need to safeguard the rights of individuals
  • ensuring that public health legislation accords with modern drafting practices.

Comparing the Public Health Act 2005 to the Health Act 1937 provides a quick summary of the major changes in the provisions between the two Acts.

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How to find out more about the Public Health Act 2005

  • Download a copy of the Public Health Act 2005 or the Public Health Regulation 2018.
    For hard copies of the Public Health Act 2005 and Public Health Regulation 2005, you can contact GOPRINT on +61 7 3246 3399 (calls within the Brisbane area) or 1900 679 778 (other locations within Australia).

  • Read a  transcript by Dr Linda Selvey (previously Senior Director, Population Health Branch)  introducing the Public Health Act 2005.

  • View the resource manual for Queensland local governments and Queensland Health

Collage of images for the Public Health Act 2005

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Last updated: 19 September 2018