Role of local government

Local governments have achieved huge gains in improving the health of local communities by enforcing numerous public health laws. This work has led to significant reductions in many diseases, illnesses and injuries across WA.

A range of Acts and subsidiary legislation are in operation to manage public and environmental health risks common to WA. In many cases, local governments are the lead enforcement agency for the administration and enforcement of legislation within the local district and have a responsibility for liaising directly with the public, local businesses and industry on compliance responsibilities. It is important that these ongoing functions continue across local governments.

Legislative functions should be acknowledged in the public health planning process to ensure these fundamental public health programs are maintained.

The following information outlines some of the long standing public health legislative functions of local governments. This information complements the policy priority reduce exposure to environmental health risks.

Local government public health legislative activities

  • Appointing authorised officers under the Public Health Act and Food Act to undertake compliance and enforcement action required
  • Reporting annually on the performance of regulatory functions related to the Public Health Act and Food Act
  • Investigating, coordinating and providing guidance to the public, businesses and industry on compliance with environmental health legislation and risks
  • Inspecting and auditing industry compliance with legislation including aquatic facilities, food businesses, skin penetration businesses and public buildings
  • Assessing and approving applications for residential and industry compliance including air-handling systems, events applications, food businesses, lodging houses, offensive trades, public buildings, skin penetration / hairdressing establishments, waste water disposal systems
  • Investigating, coordinating and providing guidance to local food businesses involved in food recalls
  • Notifying the Department of Health of details of convictions under the food legislation for publishing on the Publication of Names of Offenders list
  • Appoint Restricted Investigators to assist in enforcing some sections of the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 and Regulations
  • Ensuring all food businesses servicing vulnerable populations have a Food Safety Plan.
Public health legislation

Environmental and public health legislation applicable to local governments include:

Public Health Act 2016

Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911

  • Health (Construction Work) Regulations 1973
  • Construction Camp Regulations
  • Health Act (Laundries and Bathrooms) Regulations
  • Registration, Enforcement and Discharge of Local Authority Charges on Land Regulations
  • Health (Section 112(2) Prohibition) Regulations 2006
  • Health (Air-handling and Water Systems) Regulations 1994
  • Health (Asbestos) Regulations 1992
  • Health (Cloth Materials) Regulation 1985
  • Health Act (Carbon Monoxide) Regulations 1975
  • Health (Garden Soil) Regulations 1998
  • Hairdressing Establishment Regulations 1972
  • Health (Skin Penetration Procedure) Regulations 1998
  • Health (Offensive Trades Fees) Regulations 1976
  • Piggeries Regulations 1952
  • Health (Public Buildings) Regulations 1992
  • Health (Pesticides) Regulations 2011
  • Health (Prescribed Insect Pests) Regulations 1991
  • Health (Notification of Lead Poisoning) Regulations 1985
  • Health (Treatment of Sewage and Disposal of Effluent and Liquid Waste) Regulations 1974
  • Health (Temporary Sanitary Conveniences) Regulations 1997
  • Health Act (Underground Water Supply) Regulations 1959
  • Health (Aquatic Facilities) Regulations 2007
  • Health Act (Local Authorities Sewerage Undertakings)

The above legislation is currently being reviewed as part of the environmental health regulation review program. 

Food Act 2008

  • Food Regulations 2009

Tobacco Products Control Act 2006

  • Tobacco Products Control Regulations 2006

Additional legislation that local government also has a role in administering includes:

  • Liquor Control Act 1988
  • Environmental Protection Act 1986
  • The National Construction Code of Australia
Last reviewed: 08-03-2024