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
2021 Strengthening our health communication systems: pandemic lessons for Melbourne’s west (External link) An identification of the elements of an effective health communication system, this report draws upon literature from COVID-19 and other pandemic or emergency responses and provides detailed recommendations for regions, governments and local implementers, including considerations for engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Independent
2021 Inquiry into the health impacts of air pollution in Victoria (External link) The report makes 16 findings and 35 recommendations on actions to minimise the health impacts of air pollution. Exposure to common air pollutants can exacerbate respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, lead to premature death and cost the Victorian economy hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Vehicle transport, electricity generation, heavy industry, bushfires and dust storms all contribute to poor air quality.

Parliament of Victoria
2021 COVID-19 outbreaks in Australian residential aged care facilities (External link) An independent review into COVID-19 outbreaks in Australian residential aged care facilities, commissioned by the Australian government Independent
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 The widening divide in Melbourne: How COVID-19 transmission through the city increased existing inequality. (External link) An examination of the unequal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it further exacerbated Melbourne’s existing income inequality - while many suffered job losses, others were able to substantially increase their household savings.
KPMG Australia
2020 National Contact Tracing Review (External link) An examination of COVID-19 contact tracing and outbreak management systems and processes in all states and territories. The report found significant improvements to systems and processes over the course of the pandemic but identified areas for further improvement. It also proposed an optimal contact tracing and outbreak management system for states and territories to evaluate performance against. Australian Government
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
2020 COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry Final Report and Recommendations (External link) An inquiry established due to the link between the second wave of COVID-19 cases and the outbreaks from the Hotel Quarantine Program. This final report finds that there were serious failings, in terms of provision of pandemic planning across the broader Victorian health sector and is to be read in conjunction with the interim report. Board of Inquiry into the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Program
2020 COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry Interim Report and Recommendations (External link) An interim report identifying issues emerging from the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry prior to the delivery of the final report and makes recommendations for a Quarantine Program in Victoria as the Victorian Government considers re-opening to international arrivals. Board of Inquiry into the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Program
2020 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry - Annual Report 2019 (External link) An assessment of progress in implementing recommendations and affirmations from the 2014 and 2015–16 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry reports. In this report IGEM extended its reporting to include effectiveness monitoring of three completed actions, which provided further assurance that implemented actions have achieved their objectives. Inspector-General for Emergency Management