Public health emergencies can be caused by events which impact on public health or events that can potentially overwhelm the health-system.

For example, a highly infectious disease spreading through the community, health impacts arising from emergencies (for example smoke from a major fire or waterborne diseases during a flood), and any mass casualty situations or weather-related events such as thunderstorm asthma.

Examples of significant public health emergencies include the Victoria’s thunderstorm asthma event of 21–22 November 2016, and the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Publish year Assurance activity Summary Organisation
2020 Inquiry into the Victorian Government's COVID-19 Contact Tracing System and Testing Regime (External link) A report into to the capacity and fitness for purpose of Victoria's contact tracing system and testing regime, it found that the use of manual data entry processes at the beginning of the pandemic was not fit to deal with any escalation of cases and led to significant error. The report recommended enhancing the public health system towards a more decentralised, community-based approach. Parliament of Victoria
2019 Implementation of Recommendations from the Review of response to the thunderstorm asthma event of 21-22 November 2016 - Progress Report - 2019 (External link) A report assessing the implementation of recommendations from the Review. Key achievements included - outcome measures for the management of health emergencies, a Real-time Health Emergency Monitoring System to support situational awareness of the public health system, and better understanding issues with sharing health or personal information during emergencies. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2019 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry - Annual Report 2018 (External link) An assessment of progress of the remaining 59 government actions, and 12 non-government recommendations and affirmations following IGEM’s Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry: Implementation of recommendations and affirmations Annual Report 2017.
It further assessed the progress of implementation of all recommendations and affirmations from the 2014 and 2015–16 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry reports, concluding that significant progress had been achieved to improve emergency planning and coordination, health outcomes and mine rehabilitation in the Latrobe Valley.
Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2018 Implementation of recommendations from the Review of response into the thunderstorm asthma event of 21–22 November 2016 - Progress Report May 2018 (External link) An assessment of progress on implementation of recommendations from the 'Review of response to the thunderstorm asthma event of 21-22 November 2016. The report found significant improvements in Victoria’s capacity to respond to rapid-onset emergencies such as the 2016 thunderstorm asthma event. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2017 Review of response to the thunderstorm asthma event of 21–22 November 2016 – Final Report (External link) A review identifying opportunities to learn from the thunderstorm asthma event of 21–22 November 2016. It made findings and recommendations relating to gathering and sharing information and the triggers for activation and escalation of incident management arrangements for rapid-onset emergencies. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2017 Review of response to the thunderstorm asthma event of 21–22 November 2016 – Preliminary Report (External link) A preliminary report of IGEM's review of the response to Victoria’s thunderstorm asthma event of 21–22 November 2016. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2017 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry - Annual Report 2017 (External link) A progress assessment of implementation of recommendations and affirmations from the 2014 and 2015–16 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry reports. The report concluded significant progress to improve emergency planning and coordination, health outcomes and mine rehabilitation in the Latrobe Valley following the Hazelwood mine fire. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2016 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry 2015-16 (External link) In 2014 the Victorian Government held the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry from February to September 2014. This inquiry was reopened on 26 May 2015 with a new Terms of Reference to examine a range of new issues including what measures are available to improve the health of the Latrobe Valley communities in relation to any health impacts identified by the Board as being associated with the Hazelwood Coal Mine Fire. Board of Inquiry into the Hazelwood Mine Fire
2016 Targeting zero, the review of hospital safety and quality assurance in Victoria (External link) A review detailing how DHHS oversees and supports quality and safety of care across the Victorian hospital system, it highlighted several missed opportunities where practice excellence was not shared across the system. Department of Health and Human Services
2016 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry - Annual Report 2016 (External link) An assessment of the Victorian Government's progress of the recommendations from the 2014 and 2015–16 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry reports, in line with the Victorian Government Implementation Plan and its 246 actions to address the recommendations and affirmations. Inspector-General for Emergency Management