8 March 2024

Stage 5 of the Public Health Act 2016 set to begin

A new approach to Stage 5 of the Public Health Act 2016 has been announced, with its implementation now set to take place in a phased approach.

From 4 June 2024, Stage 5 will be implemented in several phases. This will ensure the first round of changes can begin earlier, and organisations enough time to determine what the changes mean for their business and plan accordingly.

Stage 5 is the most significant stage of the Public Health Act’s implementation for local government enforcement agencies, as it is when they shift from the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 framework to the Public Health Act for:

  • public health planning
  • public health policies
  • environmental health regulations
  • local government reporting and registration
  • licensing.

Stage 5 also includes the implementation of new regulations for environmental health to replace regulations from the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. One of the major changes under this stage is enforcement agencies now having the ability to issue improvement notices to people and businesses who breach a public health provision. The other major change is the requirement for the Department of Health and local governments to have public health plans in place.

While implementation of the Public Health Act has been undertaken in a staged approach over several years, stage 5 was delayed due to COVID-19. Stage 5 is anticipated for completion by the end of 2026.

Updates and appropriate stakeholder engagement will take place prior to each phase commencing – including a range of support, resources and guidelines to assist the transition.

learn more about each of the phases, as well as resources to assist the transition to the new legislation.