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 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
2022 Ombudsman's recommendations - fourth report (External link) A summary of the outcomes and improvements following 11 Ombudsman reports and recommendations tabled in Parliament in between May 2020 and December 2021. The reports span two years when the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to inequality, disadvantage and vulnerability. Victorian Ombudsman
2022 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry Implementation of recommendations and affirmations - Progress Report 2021 (External link) IGEM’s sixth report as sole monitor on the progress of the implementation of recommendations and affirmations from the 2014 and 2015–16 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry reports, it summarises implementation progress to August 2021, of the eight government actions and one recommendation directed to the Latrobe Valley coal mine operators that were reported as in progress in IGEM’s Progress Report 2020. 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
2021 Management of International Travel Restrictions during COVID-19 (External link) An audit conducted to provide independent assurance that Australia’s COVID-19 international travel restrictions have been managed effectively.
The Auditor-General made six recommendations relating to: clearly communicating border clearance processes; planning for future travel restrictions; updating the response plan; obtaining data on quarantine; and better managing travel exemption refusal processes.
Australian National Audit Office
2021 Infectious Disease Resilience (External link) A report providing context around the impacts and drivers of zoonotic disease risks as well as introducing areas of focus on further improving Australia’s preparedness for future zoonotic infectious disease outbreaks. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
2021 Inquiry into the Victorian Government's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Report (External link) The second report reflecting the impact of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the responses taken by the Victorian Government up until the end of December 2020. The report finds a number of issues—pandemic preparedness, infection rates, contact tracing, economic consequences and increased pressure on the Victorian community services sector. Parliament of Victoria
2021 Creating a Healthy Future: The impact of Victorian Government investment in health and medical research (External link) An evaluations of Victoria’s systematic investment in the medical research and biotechnology system, it highlights the sector's role in the rapid response to the coronavirus pandemic and how investment across areas such as infectious disease, epidemiology, immunology research, public health and advanced manufacturing and clinical trials capabilities created an environment able to rapidly respond to the coronavirus crisis. Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
2021 COVID-19 procurements and deployments of the National Medical Stockpile (External link) An audit examining whether COVID-19 procurements to increase the national medical stockpile (NMS) were consistent with the proper use and management of public resources and whether COVID-19 deployments of the NMS were effective.
Key findings were that the procurement processes for the COVID-19 NMS procurements were largely consistent with the proper use and management of public resources, inconsistent due diligence checks of suppliers impacted on procurement effectiveness and record keeping could have been improved and that due to a lack of performance measures, targets and data, the effectiveness of COVID-19 NMS deployments cannot be established.
Australian National Audit Office
2021 More than a band-aid: Emergency relief in Victoria (External link) An overview of Victoria's emergency relief sector, drawn from existing research and consultation with emergency relief organisation. The report examines the impacts of the pandemic on the emergency relief sector, and on demand and provision of food relief – as well as the policy responses from both Australian and Victorian governments. The report provides a range of recommendations for both governments to help prevent people falling into financial crisis, and to strengthen the emergency relief sector for the benefit of those who do. Victorian Council of Social Service