Health Emergency Preparedness and Response

Australia has a robust health system with measures in place to provide a comprehensive and effective health response in the event of a disaster or mass casualty event, including a bioterrorist act, natural disaster, bombing or communicable disease outbreak.

Page last updated: 10 March 2020

Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC)

The Australian Government provides a nationally coordinated approach to health disaster management through the AHPPC which was established in 2003 and previously known as the Australian Health Disaster Management Policy Committee (AHDMPC).

In June 2006, the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) established the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC). The roles of the AHPPC are to provide advice to AHMAC on Australia’s preparedness for health emergencies and approaches to address any deficits and to coordinate the national health response to significant incidents.

National Incident Room

The National Incident Room was established to ensure a nationally consistent and coordinated response to a national health emergency.

National Medical Stockpile

The National Medical Stockpile provides a key reserve of essential medicines and equipment to protect Australians from the effects of chemical, biological and radiological terrorism, or a major communicable disease outbreak.

Emergency Management Australia

The response to a health emergency is primarily the responsibility of the State and Territory Governments but the Australian Government assists the States and Territories by enhancing their response capabilities and providing extra resources when requested. Emergency Management Australia encourages an "all agencies", "all hazards" approach to the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from disasters and may task Australian Government agencies to deploy resources during an emergency.

Health Protection Program Guidelines

The Health Protection Program (the Program) aims to protect the health of all Australians from threats posed by communicable diseases outbreaks, natural disasters, environmental hazards, acts of terrorism and other incidents that may lead to mass casualties.

The Program consolidates a number of health protection activities previously funded under the Health Protection Fund, the Health Surveillance Fund and the Communicable Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Grants Fund.

The Program will fund a small number of grants to organisations that due to their national role, World Health Organisation (WHO) accreditation, or expertise may be required to provide on-going surveillance and assistance in health protection. The activities funded under the Program are an important part of Health’s public health protection framework that supports an innovative and efficient health sector that contributes to improved health and safety outcomes for the Australian public.

The Guidelines for the Program provide an overview of the arrangements for the administration of, and activities that may be funded under, the Program.

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