Delegations – Public Health Act

Delegation is the assignment of a responsibility or authority to another person to carry out specific activities under legislation. The Public Health Act allows a 'local government' to delegate its powers for certain functions. The decision to delegate powers is at the discretion of each local government. 

The Department of Health does not get involved in the local government delegation processes. Local government officers are encouraged to discuss delegations required under the Public Health Act or any other legislation with the appropriate person within your local government.

The information below is a general guide on new delegations that local government may consider establishing between stage 4 and 5 of implementation of the Public Health Act.

The process to be followed by local government may also differ for each local government. 

Organising delegations under the Public Health Act 2016

Section 21 of the Public Health Act states that:

  1. A power or duty conferred or imposed on an enforcement agency may be delegated —
    a. if the enforcement agency is the Chief Health Officer, in accordance with section 9; or
    b. if the enforcement agency is a local government, to —
    i. the chief executive officer of the local government; or
    ii. an authorised officer designated by the local government;
Delegations required to be established between stages 4 and 5 of implementation of the Act

As of 24 January 2017, the only new delegations that may need to be established by a local government under the Public Health Act are related to:

  1. the power to designate persons as authorised officers under section 24(3) of the Public Health Act.
  2. the power to designate persons as authorised officers to issue infringement notices under the Health (Asbestos) Regulations 1992 or as approved officers to extend the period to pay or withdraw an infringement notice. Regulation 15D(5) requires that Local Governments who wish to utilise the ability to issue infringement notices appoint persons as an authorised officer or approved officer, in writing, for the purposes of the Criminal Procedure Act 2004, Part 2. This power can be delegated to the CEO under Regulation 15D(7). Refer to information on the Asbestos amendments for information.

All delegations should have remained in place under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911. However, the terminology used within these existing delegations should have been updated with new terminology under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911, such as:

  • Executive Director Public Health to Chief Health Officer 
  • Environmental Health Officers to authorised officers
  • Health Act 1991 to Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911

The delegations created under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 [section 26] do not need to be repealed until stage 5 which is approximately 3 to 5 years away yet. 

Power to delegate to a deputy under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911

The power to delegate to a deputy still remains in the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 section 26 for subsidiary regulations.

26. Powers of local government

Every local government is hereby authorised and directed to carry out within its district the provisions of this Act and the regulations, local laws, and orders made thereunder:

Provided that a local government may appoint and authorise any person to be its deputy, and in that capacity to exercise and discharge all or any of the powers and functions of the local government for such time and subject to such conditions and limitations (if any) as the local government shall see fit from time to time to prescribe, but so that such appointment shall not affect the exercise or discharge by the local government itself of any power or function.

This enables local government to continue the previously established delegations to the CEO or authorised officers.

The commencement of Stage 3 of the Public Health Act 2016 only required local government to designate authorised officers, under section 24 of the Public Health Act 2016, because the equivalent clauses in the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 – section 27 and 28 were repealed. These related to the then EDPH having to approve the appointments.

Appointment and designations of authorised officers / environmental health officers

Refer to the information on designation of authorised officers for information about the process of designations. 

Certificate of authority cards

A certificate of authority issued under the Public Health Act 2016 can be issued for the purposes of Health (Asbestos) Regulations 1992.

Refer to the information on authority cards for further information.

Resources to assist with delegations

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries has published a Delegation Guideline (external site) which provides assistance to local government regarding the nature of delegations, how to go about determining whether to use delegations and other related matters.

Last reviewed: 08-03-2024
Produced by

Environmental Health Directorate