Other government regulators and agencies have key responsibilities in health protection. The Department of Health and local councils have important roles in broader public health protection and promoting improved community health and wellbeing. This is achieved through preventing illness, developing food safety regulations and minimising the impacts of potential health hazards. Their responsibilities also include environmental impacts on human health. The Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and associated Regulations are the main basis for protection of public health and wellbeing. Nuisance-related issues associated with this Act are managed by the environmental health areas of local councils.
EPA works closely with relevant co-regulators and partners to ensure the environment and public health and wellbeing are protected by appropriate standards and decision making. EPA focuses primarily on the environment, but also considers public health and wellbeing where they link to it.
For example, EPA regulates wastewater discharges to protect the environment and our water quality standards also protect public health and wellbeing. By comparison the Department of Health regulates the supply of safe drinking water with a primary focus on protecting public health and wellbeing.
EPA’s environmental expertise shapes its contribution to areas of shared jurisdiction. For example, when responding to an emergency event such as an explosion at a factory, EPA may advise on controls to prevent environmental impact, or support emergency services with advice on the spread of pollution and its potential impacts.
Given that large numbers of people can be affected by environmental impacts, part of EPA’s role includes enabling other regulators and agencies to lead responses to some health, wellbeing and amenity impacts. While EPA sets standards for issues such as residential noise, domestic wood burning and onsite domestic wastewater management, our legislation enables local government to take the lead in regulating and responding to community concerns.