Laws and regulations
Several laws support emergency health management in Australia.
Biosecurity Act 2015
The Biosecurity Act 2015 is about managing diseases and pests that may cause harm to human, animal or plant health, or the environment.
We administer the human health aspects of this Act, which are usually related to quarantine or managing Australia’s inbound or outbound travellers. Learn more on our travel health page.
National Health Security Act 2007
The National Health Security Act 2007 sets out a national system of public health surveillance to help identify and respond to public health events of national significance. These include:
- communicable diseases outbreaks
- releases of certain chemical, biological or radiological agents
- public health risks
- overseas mass casualty events.
It allows us to share information with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries, as needed, and implements the International Health Regulations (2005) in Australia.
This Act is also the basis for the:
- National Health Security Agreement which helps the Australian Government and state and territory governments respond quickly and effectively to public health events
- National Notifiable Diseases List.
National Health Security Regulations 2018
The National Health Security Regulations 2018 sets up the national register for security-sensitive biological agents (SSBAs) such as:
Learn more about the SSBA Regulatory Scheme and how we protect human health, the environment and the Australian economy from the effects of these harmful biological agents.
Emergency management plans
We have several emergency management plans that cover both domestic and international health emergencies. These include the National Health Emergency Response Arrangements and its supporting plans:
- Health Chemical Biological Radiological or Nuclear Incident of National Significance Plan (CBRN Plan)
- Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Diseases of National Significance (CD Plan)
- Australia’s Domestic Health Response Plan for All Hazard Emergencies of National Significance (AUSHEALTHRESPLAN)
Learn more about what we’re doing about emergency health management in Australia.