Environmental public health

EPA and DHHS responsibilities for environmental public health


Q&A on EPA and DHHS responsibilities for environmental public health + Expand all Collapse all

  • What has changed?

    From 14 December 2016, for queries relating to pollution and waste and potential health concerns or health impacts associated with the environment, contact the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or by email at contact@epa.vic.gov.au

    For other environmental public health queries, continue to contact DHHS on 1300 761 874; for example, those relating to:

    • drinking water
    • blood lead levels
    • food safety
    • Legionella
    • pest control
    • radiation
    • communicable diseases.
  • Why has this happened? When did it happen?

    In May 2016, the government announced that it would implement the recommendation of the Independent Inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority to shift environmental health functions from the Department of Health and Human Services to Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).

    The EPA Inquiry report, released in May 2016, made 48 recommendations to strengthen EPA as a modern, science-based regulator. The Government response to these recommendations is due to be released in late 2016.

  • Will the Chief Health Officer still be the main spokesperson on public health risks affecting the Victorian population?

    Yes – as a statutory role under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and on matters where there is a potential or existing significant exposure risk to the public.

    On a day-to-day basis, EPA Victoria will manage the majority of queries relating to pollution and waste and concerns about health. Both organisations will work closely together to ensure a streamlined and scalable response to environmental and public health risks in the community.

  • Why can’t I get a direct line to… as I used to be able to? Will I ever get a call back?

    All phone calls to EPA Victoria come in via our customer service centre on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) and are then routed to the appropriate person to assist. 

    Call 1300 761 874 to contact staff in DHHS for non-pollution and waste-related environmental public health queries.

  • Are they the same staff?

    Yes, some of the environmental public health staff who used to work at DHHS have moved to EPA Victoria.

  • Can I trust EPA to handle my health concerns when they are a regulator?

    The same environmental health expertise provided by DHHS is now located at EPA, alongside experts in many other scientific disciplines who may help handle your health query as needed. Both EPA and DHHS will refer you to your GP to manage individual health issues.

  • Are there any other changes that will directly affect me?

    For environmental health queries concerning waste or pollution impacts, the only change you should experience is in contacting EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or at contact@epa.vic.gov.au, instead of contacting DHHS.

    For other environmental health queries continue to contact DHHS on 1300 761 874 or email environmental.healthunit@dhhs.vic.gov.au

  • What about environmental public health queries on hazards connected to human illness? Who do I call?

    You should continue to contact DHHS for environmental public health queries related to human illness.

    For these queries, contact DHHS on 1300 761 874 or email environmental.healthunit@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Page last updated on 22 Feb 2017