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
2022 Public Reporting on the investigation into decision-making under the Victorian Border Crossing Permit Directions (External link) On 7 December 2021, the Victorian Ombudsman tabled in Parliament the final report following an investigation into decision-making under the Victorian Border Crossing Permit Directions. As a result of the investigation, the Ombudsman made five recommendations with Recommendation 5 being that the Secretary to the Department of Health report publicly on Recommendations 1-4 on or before 31 March 2022. Department of Health
2022 Review of the Pandemic (Visitors to Hospitals and Care Facilities) Orders (External link) A review of the Pandemic (Visitors to Hospitals and Care Facilities) Orders undertaken due to the considerable impact visitor restrictions have had on patients, residents of care facilities, and their loved ones. Restrictions on visiting a care facility were in place until June 2022, and it was only in April 2022 that restrictions under the pandemic orders were relaxed for hospital visitors. The review also considered the issues caused by the pandemic orders more generally finding that the way Victorian Government communicates pandemic orders and changes to orders should be improved. Parliament of Victoria
2022 Review of COVID-19 vaccine and treatment purchasing and procurement: executive summary and recommendations (External link) An independent review of the purchasing and procurement of COVID-19 vaccine and treatments in Australia. Recommendations include the need for public health campaigns around vaccine uptake, an updated COVID-19 policy framework, the streamlining of advisory structures, a review of vaccine distribution arrangements, and the need to ensure adequate supplies of therapeutics and vaccines across 2023 and 2024. Independent
2022 Fault Lines - An independent review into Australia's response to COVID-19 (External link) An independent review that aims to learn the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic in order for Australia to be better prepared for future health crises, it makes four findings where improvements can be made, and six recommendations to put societal fault lines at the centre of improving response to the next health crisis. Independent
2022 Review of Victoria's emergency ambulance call answer performance COVID-19 pandemic-related 000 demand surge (External link) A review that examines and assesses both ESTA’s and the broader emergency management sector’s planning and preparedness for a major surge in emergency ambulance calls due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The review also examines how the sector responded to the surge in emergency ambulance calls, the effectiveness of its response, and collaborative efforts to address the challenges. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2022 Minimising risks of asbestos exposure and associated harm in Victoria 2022 (External link) A report that aims to improve the health and safety outcomes of all Victorians who may come into contact with asbestos and prevent future deaths from asbestos-related disease, it makes 21 recommendations towards prevention of disease and, ultimately saving lives. It recommends the appointment of a senior manager role within state government to work solely with local governments on asbestos management issues to assist in the development of a range of communications, guidelines and asbestos management policies including preparation for, and response to, emergency events. Independent
2022 Strengthening Australia's Pandemic Preparedness (External link) This report assesses a range of science and technology (S&T) areas identified as being critical to a more technology-enabled approach to pandemic preparedness against viral diseases. These S&T areas, and the recommendations listed to further enhance their impact on Australia’s pandemic preparedness, were developed through deep system-wide engagement, including contributions from over 140 experts across industry, research and government. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
2022 Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout (External link) A performance audit conducted under phase two of the ANAO’s multi-year strategy, it focuses on the effective, efficient, economical and ethical delivery of the Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The audit found that while 90 per cent of the eligible Australian population was vaccinated by the end of 2021, the planning and implementation of the vaccine rollout to priority groups was not as effective - it makes ten findings and two recommendations regarding improvement opportunities in the event of a future vaccination rollout. Australian National Audit Office
2022 Review of the Pandemic (Quarantine, Isolation and Testing) Orders (External link) A review of the Pandemic (Quarantine, Isolation and Testing) Orders undertaken due to the significant burden experienced by Victorians having to quarantine or isolate due to contracting COVID-19 or being exposed to the virus. These Orders resulted in people experiencing temporary social isolation and exclusion as well as loss of their ability to go to work or school. The review found that it was important that the Committee ensured that the Orders balanced protecting public health as well as supporting the wellbeing of individuals in isolation. Parliament of Victoria
2022 Review of Victoria's preparedness for major public health emergencies, including pandemics (External link) A review of Victoria's preparedness for a range of events which might have wide-ranging public health impacts, it considers six different cases to contextualise Victoria's preparedness for major public health emergencies which will test the emergency management sector’s capability and capacity to respond. Inspector-General for Emergency Management