Designation of authorised officers under the Public Health Act

The Public Health Act 2016 (WA) aims to promote and improve the health and wellbeing of all Western Australian people and protect them from diseases and other public health risks.

Under the Public Health Act 2016, the Chief Health Officer, an enforcement agency or local government has the power to designate a person as an Authorised Officer. Authorised Officers have the authority to administer and enforce provisions of the Public Health Act 2016 (WA). A variety of people with a range of qualifications and experience can be designated as ‘authorised officers’, including public health officials and environmental health officers.

An Authorised Officer may require a person who is believed to have, or is diagnosed with a notifiable infectious disease, to provide specific information in order to prevent or minimise spread of the disease. An Authorised Officer can undertake contact tracing and enforce a test order on a person on behalf of the Chief Health Officer, if a person is believed to have either transmitted a notifiable infectious disease to another person or if another person may have transmitted a disease to the person.

Any person in Western Australia has an obligation to take reasonable and practicable steps to prevent or minimise any harm to public health that might foreseeably result from anything that person has done or omitted to do [section 34 of the Public Health Act 2016 (WA)].

Definitions relevant to the designation of authorised officers

Term Definition
Authorised officer Refers to
  1.  a person who is an authorised officer by virtue of a designation under section 24 of the Public Health Act 2016 (WA), but only if that designation has effect for the purposes of the provision in which that reference occurs; and
  2. Includes a reference to a Chief Health Officer; and
  3. includes an authorised officer exercising powers as an emergency officer. 
Designation Means a designation under section 24(1) of the Public Health Act 2016.
Chief Health Officer Means the person designated as the Chief Health Officer under section 11 of the Public Health Act 2016 (WA).
Health Service Provider Means a health service provider established under section 32 of the Health Services Act 2016.
Enforcement agency Means
  1. the Chief Health Officer
  2. a local government; or
  3. a person or body, or a person or body within a class of persons or bodies, prescribed by the regulation for the purposes of this definition. 
Public Health Official


  1. a departmental officer; or
  2. a person employed or engaged in a health service provider (as defined in the Health Services Act 2016 section 6).
Departmental officer Is defined as a public service officer employed by the WA Department of Health (this includes a person seconded to the Department).

Communicable disease control guidelines

Communicable disease control guidelines include generic and specific advice to assist in the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

Last reviewed: 30-07-2021
Produced by

Communicable Disease Control Directorate