Department of Health

New regulations helping to keep Victorians safe and healthy

16/12/19
Published by Department of Health & Human Services

Updated Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations will help keep Victorians safe and healthy and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, now and into the future.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said the new regulations, which came into force on 14 December, were revised after an extensive consultation process with a wide range of stakeholders.

"We know that Victoria's climate, population and environment is changing year on year, which meant it was crucial to ensure the new set of regulations reflect our commitment to strengthen and modernise our public health approach," Dr Sutton said.

"To remain effective, regulations need to address the current issues and risks related to the areas they regulate so they 'sunset', or expire, every 10 years. Regulations are reviewed and revised to ensure they are effective, workable and necessary in today's environment.

"It's not always apparent, but these regulations play an important role in the everyday lives of Victorians. For example, when Victorians visit public aquatic facilities, tattooists or beauticians, the regulations set standards to minimise infection risks.

"They help protect us from Legionnaires' disease by setting standards for cooling tower systems.

"And mandatory reporting of specified infectious diseases by doctors and pathology services allow us respond to and prevent the ongoing spread of diseases such as measles. Additionally, the regulations help prevent and minimise the spread of certain infectious diseases in child care centres and primary schools."

The renewed regulations cover areas including:

  • vector-borne infectious disease control
  • registered premises such as businesses conducting beauty therapy, tattooing, skin penetration and colonic irrigation
  • aquatic facilities
  • cooling tower systems
  • Legionella risks in certain premises
  • pest control licensing
  • managing and controlling infectious diseases, micro-organisms and medical conditions.

Some of the changes include:

  • adopting a national framework for minimum training and licensing of pest control operators
  • strengthening existing requirements for aquatic facilities and introducing a new risk-based characterisation of aquatic facilities
  • improving the accuracy, detail and timeliness of the infectious disease reporting system to enhance disease monitoring and the public health response
  • updating infectious disease exclusion requirements in child care centres and primary schools to align with current evidence.

During the consultation period there were 82 submissions received, as well as 153 survey responses. The Department of Health and Human Services thanks all stakeholders and individuals who contributed to the review process. For more information visit the Commencement of the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019 section on health.vic.

Reviewed 16 December 2019

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