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
2023 Curbing antimicrobial resistance: A technology-powered, human-driven approach to combating the ‘silent pandemic' (External link) An report outlining the challenges for Australia and the world to avoid being thrust back into a pre-antimicrobial age where simple infections are deadly and some surgeries are too risky to perform. It calls for greater national coordination and a focus on streamlining commercialisation processes for new antimicrobial resistance solutions and technologies. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
2023 Business Continuity During COVID-19 (External link) An audit of all eight Victorian Government departments' business continuity arrangements, it assessed preparedness for a major disruption prior to COVID-19 and the effectiveness of arrangements to maintain prioritised services during the pandemic. The report made nine recommendations, concluding that most departments’ business continuity arrangements were inadequate prior to the pandemic. Victorian Auditor-General's Office
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, relaxed in April 2022 for hospital visitors. The review also considered the issues caused by the pandemic orders more generally finding that Victorian Government communicates pandemic orders and changes to orders should be improved. Parliament of Victoria
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 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 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 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