Public Health: enabling legislation

In Western Australia there are numerous pieces of legislation that relate to public health, many of which are regulated by the Department of Health.

Anatomy Act 1930

The Anatomy Act 1930 (external site) (the Act) governs the authorisation and licensing of schools of anatomy and the anatomical examination of bodies. The Act regulates the use of dead bodies for medical purposes, including how bodies may be dealt with when submitted for anatomical examination. The Regulations set out the approved forms to be used in conjunction with the Act.

The regulation of anatomy ensures that the risk of potential abuse is eliminated, and that all bodies are dealt with in a manner that reflects the valuable contribution made by each of those persons to the advancement of anatomical study in WA.

Cremation Act 1929

The Cremation Act 1929 (external site) (the Act) governs the licensing of crematoria, the appointment of Medical Referees and the requirements for issuing a permit to cremate. The primary purpose of the Act is to ensure provision is made for the cremation of bodies in a controlled and respectful manner which meets public expectations. The Regulations set out the approved forms to be used in conjunction with the Act.

Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1966

The Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1966 (external site) (the Act) relates to the fluoridation of public water supplies. The CHO is responsible for assisting the Minister in the administration of this Act.

Public Health Act 2016 and the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions Act) 1911

These Acts together provide the majority of public health controls in WA, covering sanitary conditions, offensive trades, food, drugs, infectious diseases, use of public buildings for entertainment, fitness of dwellings for occupation and pesticides. They are, in turn, supported by numerous regulations and by-laws.

The Public Health Act 2016 (external site) (“the Public Health Act”) and the Public Health (Consequential Provisions) Act 2016 (external site) (“the Consequential Act”) passed through Parliament on 30 June 2016 and received Assent on 25 July 2016.

Public Health Amendment (Safe Access Zones) Act 2021

The Public Health Amendment (Safe Access Zones) Act 2021 (PDF 164KB) (“Amendment Act”) inserts a new part into the Public Health Act 2016 for the purpose of:

  • creating safe access zones around premises at which abortions are provided, to ensure that those who want to access abortion services can do so in a safe and private manner
  • prohibiting publication and distribution of certain recordings to protect the privacy and dignity of those who access abortion services.

The new provisions take effect from 18 August 2021.

Abortion Legislation Reform Act 2023

The Abortion Legislation Reform Act 2023 (external site) establishes a new model for abortion care in Western Australia. It amends the Public Health Act 2016 (WA) to regulate the performance of abortion by registered health practitioners and prohibit the performance of abortion by certain persons, amends the Criminal Code to remove offences related to abortion, and makes amendments to other Acts to remove barriers to access and protect the privacy of individuals accessing abortion.

The Abortion Legislatin Reform Act 2023 takes effect from 27 March 2024. Until this time, the previous legislation remains current.

For more information on the changes to the abortion legislation visit the abortion webpage.

Human Tissue and Transplant Act 1982

The Human Tissue and Transplant Act 1982 (external site) (the Act) deals with a variety of matters, the common element of which is the use of tissue, including blood, from either a living or dead body for medical, scientific or therapeutic purposes.

Liquor Control Act 1988

The Liquor Control Act 1988 (external site) regulates the sale, supply and consumption of liquor. It regulates the use of premises on which liquor is sold, and the services and facilities provided in conjunction with or ancillary to the sale of liquor. It is intended to minimise harm or ill-health caused to people, or any group of people, due to the use of liquor, and to cater for the requirements of consumers for liquor and related services, with regard to the proper development of the liquor industry, the tourism industry and other hospitality industries in the State.

Radiation Safety Act 1975

The Radiation Safety Act 1975 (external site) is an Act to regulate the keeping and use of radioactive substances, irradiating apparatus and certain electronic products, and for related matters.

The Food Act 2008

The Food Act 2008 (external site) is an Act providing for the safety and suitability of food for human consumption, and for related purposes.

Road Traffic Legislation Amendment Act 2016

On 10 March 2017, changes to the Road Traffic Legislation come into effect. These changes have implications for the taking of blood samples for forensic purposes in Emergency Departments (EDs).

The taking of blood samples under the Act is intended to occur in relation to those crashes that result in serious or fatal injury. The amendment seeks to improve the collection of evidence by:

  • increasing the window of time for the collection of the sample to 12 hours
  • removing the red tape around assessing culpability
  • enabling the blood sample to be taken by a competent person other than a doctor or nurse (e.g. a phlebotomist).

View Road Traffic Legislation Amendment Act 2016 FAQs (PDF 129 KB).

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Public Health