Emergency health management
Health emergencies include disease outbreaks, natural disasters and mass casualty incidents. Find out what we’re doing to prevent, prepare for and respond to health emergencies.
- 25 February 2021
Find out how we are monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, how you can help stop the spread of the virus in Australia and what to do if you have symptoms. We also report the latest case numbers, official medical advice and information on treatment.
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Emergency health management in Australia
In Australia, state and territory health authorities manage health emergencies.
We get involved when health emergencies have a national or international impact.
When national health emergencies happen, it’s important to have a coordinated approach to:
- consistent and appropriate responses between states and territories
- manage the extra load on our health system
- reduce the effect on Australians
We need to be prepared for a range of health emergencies including:
Public Health Information Hotline
Call the Public Health Information Hotline in the event of a health emergency or incident affecting the public. You can call between 8:30am and 5pm AEST/AEDT from Monday to Friday.
What we’re doing about emergency health management
We work to prevent, prepare for and respond to national health emergencies.
Our work includes:
- implementing the International Health Regulations (2005) in Australia
- developing and maintaining national health emergency response plans
- activating the National Incident Room to coordinate national responses to health emergencies
- maintaining a National Medical Stockpile of essential medicines and equipment
- administering the human health elements of the Biosecurity Act 2015
- maintaining the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) capability through the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre
- educating health professionals with advice and resources in response to emerging incidents
We also support health protection committees responsible for health emergency management, including the:
- Australian Health Protection Principal Committee
- National Health Emergency Management Subcommittee
- Communicable Diseases Network Australia
- Public Health Laboratory Network
The Department of Home Affairs leads the Australian Government’s planning and responses to disasters and emergencies. We’re responsible for the health aspects of these national plans.