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Public Health Act 2005

The Public Health Act 2005 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 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.

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
  • designates the childhood contagious conditions and notifiable conditions
  • details for perinatal statistics, health information and the pap smear register.

Queensland local governments

View the resource manual for Queensland local governments (login access required).

Public health emergencies

The Minister for Health can declare a public health emergency when an event or series of events could result in serious adverse health effects for the public. Emergency officers can be appointed to assist in the management of the emergency. They are given a range of emergency powers to help them carry out this function.

The declaration of a public health emergency will last for a period of 7 days but this period can be extended if required. If the emergency situation results from an outbreak of a serious medical condition, like pandemic influenza, medical emergency officers have additional powers to take actions to prevent the likely spread of the disease.

Public health inquiries

The Act allows the Minster for Health to establish an inquiry into a serious public health matter. The panel of inquiry must be established by the Minister and must inquire into the probable cause of the matter and give the Minister a written report of the findings with recommendations.

Health information management

The Act allows for the collection of data for cancer screening and birth statistics. These registers allow Queensland Health to research health data to:

  • provide better health outcomes
  • assist in the planning of health services
  • provide strategies to prevent and manage health conditions.

Health information held by Queensland Health is sometimes given out for research purposes; however, there are strict guidelines as to how this information may be provided.

Further information

Public health risks

A public health risk  is something that is likely to be harmful to human health or contribute to disease in humans, such as germs carried by rats, mice and mosquitoes. Harmful germs can also be transmitted from waste, water, dead or living animals and harmful substances in the environment. Read more information on public health risks.

Contagious conditions in schools and childcare

The Act aims to protect children by reducing the spread of certain contagious conditions in schools and childcare services. Read more information regarding the exclusion times for contagious conditions.

Infection control for health care facilities

The Act requires certain health care facilities to develop and implement an infection control management plan (ICMP).

Notifiable conditions

Notifiable conditions must be reported to the local public health unit.

Last updated: 11 October 2019