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enHealth NEHS final for web Nov 07

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									National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012

National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012

National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012 ISBN: 1-74186-349-X Publications Number: P3-2333 © Commonwealth of Australia 2007 This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Commonwealth Copyright Administration, Attorney-General’s Department, Robert Garran Offices, National Circuit, Canberra ACT 2600 or posted at http://www.ag.gov.au/cca

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National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012

Contents

Australia’s National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012 Priorities for Action Action Areas Preparedness for emergencies and capacity to respond Workforce development and support Evidence-based, effective and nationally consistent guidance that supports the protection of public health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Climate change and adaptation Surveillance Appendix 1: Environmental Health Committee (enHealth) Membership and Terms of Reference

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National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012

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Australia’s National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012 Infrastructure for Health Protection

The quality of life and the health of Australians are underpinned by having clean water and air, safe food and housing, protection from pollutants and a program to intervene in the environment to prevent and control disease. The National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012 builds on the framework established by the National Environmental Health Strategy 1999 1 to identify the Australian environmental health sector’s role in developing and supporting infrastructure for health protection. Environmental health addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related factors impacting behaviours.

It encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health. It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environments. This definition excludes behaviour not related to environment, as well as behaviour related to the social and cultural environment, and genetics.2 Environmental conditions are a key health determinant but are often established by policies and activities of non-health agencies. The role of the National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012 is to influence these processes.

To address the hazards influencing environmental health risk in Australia and its near neighbours, the National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012 has a wide scope. It will support the work of policy makers, environmental health officers and workers employed by national/state/ local governments, non-government organisations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

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Commonwealth of Australia (1999), The National Environmental Health Strategy 1999, Canberra (http://www.healthconnect.gov.au/ internet/wcms/publishing.nsf/Content/c642 c824473e84d3ca256f190004250c/$file/ envstrat.pdf)

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World Health Organization (www.who.int/ topics/environment_health/en/ accessed 01/08/2007)

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National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012

Priorities for Action

The key environmental health risks in Australia to be addressed by the National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012 include: ■■ emergencies and disasters ■■ climate change ■■ increasing pressure on drinking water supplies ■■ the intensity of urban development ■■ the lack of effective environmental health infrastructure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The highest priorities for the National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012 are to continue to use a risk assessment and management approach to: ■■ enhance the nation’s ability to respond to environmental health challenges from disasters ■■ anticipate and plan for the most critical public health issues arising from climate change ■■ provide standards, guidelines, regulations, legislation, indicators and risk assessment tools ■■ ensure environmental standards developed in other sectors effectively protect human health ■■ increase the capacity and capability of the environmental health workforce, especially in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities ■■ improve environmental health conditions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Under the National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012 these priorities will be implemented through action areas grouped within the following framework: ■■ preparedness for emergencies and capacity to respond ■■ workforce development and support ■■ evidence-based, effective and nationally consistent guidance that supports the protection of public health ■■ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander environmental health ■■ climate change and adaptation ■■ surveillance. Responsibility for implementing this strategy rests with the Environmental Health Committee (enHealth) of the Australian Health Protection Committee. In enacting the National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012, enHealth has set itself the following goals: ■■ Achieve real gains across all areas of environmental health by undertaking and promoting sound evidence-based interventions

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Assist relevant national and jurisdictional organisations to enhance the capacity and sustainability of the environmental health workforce Through representation and partnership ensure health is protected in environmental standards-setting using a health risk framework Make the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders integral to the consideration of all activities Have a strong and effective internal and external communications capacity.

National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012

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Action Areas
The following tables outline the National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012 action areas in detail.

Preparedness for emergencies and capacity to respond

Objective 1: Identify and develop responses to emerging and critical issues Activity 1.1 Provide advice to the Australian Health Protection Committee on the impact and possible mitigation approaches for emerging and/or critical environmental health issues. 1.2 Provide advice to the Australian Health Protection Committee and other bodies on the public and environmental health issues that need to be addressed in responding to an emergency. Key Performance Indicators Emerging and/or critical issues are identified and responses developed.

National emergency response frameworks include appropriate public health and environmental health practices.

Objective 2: Develop a national workforce that can provide consistent high quality services during crises Activity Key Performance Indicators 2.1 Increase the environmental health Nationally consistent professional workforce’s capacity to respond development is available. to emergencies and disasters.

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National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012

Workforce development and support

Objective 3: Develop a sustainable level of environmental health service delivery and policy development within all levels of government Activity 3.1 Develop a five year plan to address environmental health workforce shortages particularly in local government. Key Performance Indicators Develop a five year plan.

3.2 Develop resources for local government to enable them to assess their environmental health risks and address workforce needs.

Local governments are able to access and use the tool.

3.3 Support the development of the Australian environmental health workforce through conferences and other professional development activities.

Professional development activities are supported.

National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012

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Evidence-based, effective and nationally consistent guidance that supports the protection of public health

Objective 4: Maximise the timely transfer of evidence into action by facilitating the development of Standards and Guidelines Activity 4.1 Develop and implement new standards and/ or guidance documents dealing with environmental health (see also 1.1). 4.2 Review and implement existing enHealth guidance material on priority issues. 4.3 Support the uptake of evidencebased practices by environmental health practitioners by holding familiarisation workshops focusing on the standards and guidelines developed and supported through this Strategy. Key Performance Indicators Relevant bodies and professionals are able to access and use up-to-date evidence-based guidance. Emerging issues are dealt with in a timely manner. Relevant bodies and professionals are able to access and use up-todate evidence-based guidance. Regular workshops are held in each State and Territory.

Objective 5: Maximise the adoption of evidence-based public health practices in other key sectors to mitigate risk to human health from environmental hazards and emergencies Activity 5.1 Provide health input into the appropriate national committees and steering groups. 5.2 Participate in setting the environmental health research agenda through active membership of, and collaboration with, significant research bodies such as Cooperative Research Centres. Key Performance Indicators enHealth is represented on appropriate committees and steering groups. enHealth is represented on appropriate research bodies.

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National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health

Objective 6: Improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Activity 6.1 Develop and implement new standards and/or guidance documents dealing with environmental health including an updated enHealth Working Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health (WGATSIEH) workplan. 6.2 Support the uptake of evidencebased practices by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander environmental health workforce by developing tools and facilitating familiarisation workshops focusing on the standards and guidelines developed and supported through this Strategy. 6.3 Develop the capacity to utilise routine environmental health surveillance to prioritise environmental health interventions by developing and implementing rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Environmental Health Indicators. 6.4 Support the development and implementation of a resource kit for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to support training of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Workers. Key Performance Indicators Relevant bodies and professionals are able to access and use up-todate evidence-based guidance.

Relevant bodies and professionals are able to access and use guideline support tools. Regular workshops are held in the relevant States and Territories.

Rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Environmental Health Indicators are identified, defined and piloted.

RTOs are able to access and use the resource kit.

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Climate change and adaptation

Objective 7: Provide guidance on climate change adaptation approaches for environmental health issues Activity 7.1 Ensure responses to climate change/heat-based heatwave procedures and thresholds developed by the Australian Centre for Climate Change and other sectors effectively protect human health. 7.2 Develop advice on interventions for vulnerable groups, e.g. aged care facilities, schools, childcare centres. 7.3 Develop resources for local governments that will assist in adapting to, and mitigating, the human health impacts of climate change. Key Performance Indicators Any heatwave alert threshold methodology developed is health-based.

Relevant bodies are able to access and use standardised advice and documents to minimise the risk of heat-related illness. Relevant bodies are able to access and use model mitigation plans for key health issues.

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National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012

Surveillance

Objective 8: Develop a surveillance capability to ensure environmental health risks are being appropriately managed by responsible stakeholders Activity 8.1 Utilise routine environmental health surveillance to prioritise environmental health interventions by developing and implementing national environmental health indicators. Key Performance Indicators National environmental health indicators are agreed and implemented.

8.2 Monitor national major incidents and collate data on the environmental health interventions made in response and use this to share knowledge and advance the skills within the environmental health workforce.

Establishment of collection including incident inclusion criteria, reporting processes and minimum dataset requirements. Information used to inform enHealth resource development.

National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012

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Appendix 1: Environmental Health Committee (enHealth) Membership and Terms of Reference

enHealth Membership
enHealth is made up of representatives from: ■■ Commonwealth, State and Territory health departments; ■■ the New Zealand Ministry of Health; ■■ the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC); ■■ the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Water Resources; ■■ the Environmental Protection and Heritage Standing Committee (EPHSC); ■■ Choice; ■■ the Australian Institute of Environmental Health; ■■ the Australian Local Government Association; ■■ the Public Health Association of Australia and the Deputy Chair (who must be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) of the enHealth Working Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health.

enHealth’s Terms of Reference
enHealth, under the guidance of the Australian Health Protection Committee (AHPC) and with reference to the National Environmental Health Strategy, will: 1. provide nationally agreed environmental health policy advice, based on the best available evidence and expertise, to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) through the AHPC; 2. coordinate implementation of nationally agreed environmental health policies and approaches; 3. provide environmental health expertise and support for AHPC’s emergency management role; 4. under arrangements to be agreed between AHMAC and the Environment Protection and Heritage Standing Committee (EPHSC), keep the AHPC and AHMAC informed of developments in environmental policy with significant health implications and provide expert, and where nationally agreed, health advice in environmental policy forums; 5. consult with consumers and other stakeholders as appropriate in developing environmental health policy advice and implementing environmental health policies; 6. contribute, through the Commonwealth, to international collaboration on environmental health issues; 7. coordinate research, share information and develop practical environmental health resources, including through expert and/ or nationally agreed publications as guided by the AHPC.

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National Environmental Health Strategy 2007–2012


								
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