Climate Change and Health: Local Government Capacity for Health Protection in Australia
2. Materials and Methods
3.1. Executives’ Perception of the Local Government Environmental Health Role
3.2. Local Government Environmental Health and Climate Change
- Project team member (1).
- Plan development—provider of advice/information (1).
- Plan implementation—responsible for designated tasks (0 chose this option).
- Other (2 responses—specifically “Specialist advice only” and “Provision of information to food businesses/health premises, etc.”).
- No time to develop climate change adaptation/mitigation as a discrete task. It is built into any other relevant task such as the Stormwater Management Plan.
- Currently not a major focus of the city.
- Separate Environmental Services team in Sustainable Assets.
- Lack of understanding of the role they can play.
- We have a Sustainability Officer.
- Climate change plans are managed by other environmental specialists within council.
- Considerable cost shifting to Council EHOs over the years and EHOs have several priorities they are juggling.
- EHO provide advice to staff where their primary role is in climate change/mitigation planning.
- We have a Natural Environment Program that has developed a carbon reduction strategy. EHOs work in a regulatory space, I’m not sure how we could make the jump to climate change planning without a regulatory framework in place.
- As far as I know the city has not identified this as an area of priority.
- Lack of capacity due to workload.
- mental health;
- vector-borne disease and/or zoonoses;
- food quality and safety;
- water quality and safety;
- air pollution and aeroallergens;
- people who are socio-economically disadvantaged;
- rural and geographically isolated communities;
- people with disabilities;
- children and older people;
- pregnant women and unborn children;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people .
- the source of water that can be used for commercial food preparation and premises sanitation;
- the required volumes needed to meet sanitation and production requirements;
- the required water treatments;
- time and costs for treatments and analyses;
- loss of income due to delays and meeting regulatory requirements;
- overall viability of the business and its value to the local community.
- Consumer protection—ensuring compliance safeguards and required safety standards are in place for consumers.
- Public health emergency management—ensuring the appropriate preparation for (including testing of preparations), response to, and recovery from health impacts of emergencies.
- Community support—assisting consumers and the broader community in health decision making, raising awareness of public health risks, and improving community public health knowledge.
- Communicable disease control—minimizing the risk of disease transmitted through food, water, people, and vectors.
- Built environment—reducing human activities’ impact on the local receiving environments, protecting the community from environmental hazards, and enhancing infrastructure to support health.
- State governments review their public health priorities and revise the legislation to reflect these priorities and remove conflicting and prescriptive legislative obligations.
- State government climate adaptation planning integrates with and supports local council adaptation planning.
- Council executive management recognize the potential for EHOs to increase their capacity for climate change adaptation planning in public health and provide the opportunities to do so.
- EHOs recognize that they are the public health adaptive capacity for climate change, and engage with councils’ climate change planning processes and adapt environmental health services to reflect the level of community risk based on the framework for local environmental health practice
- Environmental health officers are the qualified public health practitioners in local government, and they are a critical resource in supporting communities to adapt to the public health impacts of climate change.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Statutory or Regulatory Functions||NSW||QLD||SA||TAS||VIC||WA|
|Management/provision of water supplies||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|Management of waste and sanitation |
(including domestic wastewater and recycling)
|Food safety regulation|
|Regulation of businesses of public health interest |
|Regulation of lodging houses/prescribed accommodation||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Prevention and control of infectious diseases |
|Public Health Impacts from Climate Change||Risk Factors|
provision of water supplies
|Water quality and/or safety|
|Management of waste and sanitation |
(including domestic wastewater and its
|Food safety regulation (food-borne illness)||Food quality and safety|
|Regulation of businesses of public health interest |
|Recreational water quality and/or safety|
|Regulation of lodging houses/prescribed accommodation||Heat stress|
|Prevention and control of infectious |
|Vector-borne disease and/or zoonoses|
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Smith, J.C.; Whiley, H.; Ross, K.E. Climate Change and Health: Local Government Capacity for Health Protection in Australia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20, 1750. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20031750
Smith JC, Whiley H, Ross KE. Climate Change and Health: Local Government Capacity for Health Protection in Australia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2023; 20(3):1750. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20031750Chicago/Turabian Style
Smith, James C., Harriet Whiley, and Kirstin E. Ross. 2023. "Climate Change and Health: Local Government Capacity for Health Protection in Australia" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 20, no. 3: 1750. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20031750