What we're doing about emergency health management

Learn about the work we’re doing to prevent, prepare for and respond to national health emergencies.

Coordinating and supporting emergency health responses

The Department of Home Affairs leads the Australian Government’s planning and responses to disasters and emergencies. We manage the health aspects of these national plans.

We work to prevent, prepare for and respond to national health emergencies by:

Health protection committees

We support several committees involved in, or responsible for, health emergency management, including the:

Health alerts

When a national health emergency occurs, we publish news items to inform Australians about the situation.

We create health alerts to warn about disease outbreaks, and other health emergencies, that are affecting multiple states and territories in Australia.

To draw attention to active health alert content, we use a global banner that appears throughout the website.

Types of health emergencies

Chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack

We plan and prepare for the deliberate use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials by criminals or terrorists aiming to cause harm to people. Responding to the health aspects of such incidents is part of a broader government response. Our plans outline which agency takes the lead and makes sure that multiple agencies communicate clearly and make consistent decisions.

Learn more about our role in CBRN incidents of national significance.

Disease outbreaks and pandemics

When an outbreak of a communicable disease happens that is of national significance, our communicable disease emergency response plan is activated.

Learn more about our role in disease outbreaks and pandemics.

Bushfires, floods and natural disasters

The Australian Government provides help to the states and territories when natural disasters occur, including:

  • bushfires
  • cyclones
  • floods.

Learn more about our role in bushfires, floods and other disasters that affect our physical surroundings.

Find out more about the longer-term health impacts of environmental disasters.

Overseas mass casualty or fatalities

Where a mass casualty incident has happened overseas, we coordinate the national response as part of the response plan for overseas mass casualty incidents (OSMASSCASPLAN). The Department of Home Affairs manage this plan.

Incidents within Australia

An all-hazards incident of national significance may activate Australia’s Domestic Health Response Plan for All-Hazards Incidents of National Significance (AUSHEALTHRESPLAN). In response, we coordinate response arrangements for national health sector operations with a focus on:

  • patient management and transfer
  • health workforce availability
  • providing resources.

We manage this plan.

Other emergency health support

People affected by health emergencies may also have access to:

  • financial support
  • health and medical support
  • mental health support.

For example:

Date last updated:

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