Timeline to implement the Public Health Act 2016

As there is a significant amount of work required to transition to the new regulatory framework, implementation is to occur in a staged manner over the next 3 to 5 years.

This means that the old Health Act 1911 (which will be known as the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911), and all regulations made under the Health Act, will continue to be the main enforcement tool, until the provisions of the new Act are proclaimed over the coming years.

There will be five stages of implementation.

Refer to the "Timeline for implementation fact sheet (PDF 420KB)" for a detailed overview of the stages of implementation and a comparison of the two Acts. 

The five stages

Stages 1 and 2

Stage 1 will come into operation upon Royal Assent of the new legislation and stage 2 on the following day.

These 2 stages involve various technical matters required to facilitate the transition from the Health Act 1911 (external site) to the Public Health Act 2016.

The Health Act 1911 and its associated regulations, by-laws and local laws will remain in force.

Local government preparation

The first six months following Royal Assent should be considered business as usual for local government, who are to continue to enforce the Health Act 1911 and subsidiary legislation.

While these introductory stages will have no practical implications for local governments, local governments will need to start preparing for stage 3.

The Department of Health will work closely with local government in the lead up to stage 3 providing further information on how to prepare for this stage. 

Stage 3

Stage 3 will be proclaimed on the 24th January 2017

Stage 3 involves key elements of the administrative framework provided by Part 2 of the Public Health Act 2016 coming into operation to replace the equivalent administrative framework provided by Part II of the Health Act 1911

Local government need to be aware of the following changes that will take place on the date stage 3 comes into effect, and any action that is required to support this stage.

Refer to the "Timeline for implementation fact sheet (PDF 420KB)" for a detailed overview of the stages of implementation and a comparison of the Public Health Act and the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911

Local government preparation

At stage 3, the Health Act 1911 will be renamed the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911. The Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 and subsidiary legislation will continue to be the main enforcement tool for local government during stages 3 and 4.

The Table below outlines the provisions of the Public Health Act 2016 or the Health (Consequential Provisions) Act 2016 that will come into operation at stage 3 and the action that is required by enforcement agencies to prepare for this stage. 

Part to come into effect What this means  Action required by local governments   Supporting resources 
Asbestos Regulation Amendments On the 24th January 2017 the Health (Asbestos) Regulations 1992 will be amended to:
  1. increase the penalties for offences under the regulations and
  2. enable local governments to issue infringement notices for specified offences.
These amendments can only be viewed following the 24th January on the State Law Publisher website.

The amendments have been confirmed in the government gazetted dated 10 January 2017.
About asbestos

Asbestos legislation - Information for local government

FAQs about the Asbestos Regulations Amendments 
Changes to terminology

[Health (Consequential Provisions) Act 2016]
Terminology under the Health Act and all subsidiary regulations, as well as any WA legislation that references the Health Act, will change to reflect new terms coming into effect under the Public Health Act 2016. This includes:
  • the “Health Act 1911” be renamed the “Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911”
  • “Executive Director, Public Health” will be referred to as the “Chief Health Officer”
  • “environmental health officer” now referred as “authorised officer”
  1. It is important that local government officers refer to the State Law Publisher website for up to date copies of all Acts and regulations following stage 3 coming into operation. All terminology changes will be reflected in the amended legislation and made available online
  2. Any form prescribed under legislation must be updated
  3. Changes to the new terminology will need to be updated on any council correspondence including:
    • Standard letters
    • Council website content 
    • Information resources and guides
    • Standard forms
Changes to terminology factsheet (PDF 150kb)
Designation of authorised officers

[Division 2 and Division 4 of the Public Health Act 2016]
Designation of authorised officers, and appointment of environmental health officers must now be made under the Public Health Act 2016. This is the responsibility of local government enforcement agencies. 

In order to minimise the impact on local governments, section 312 of the Public Health Act includes a transitional provision. Under that section, persons who are currently appointed as environmental health officers will be deemed to be designated as authorised officers for the purpose of the Public Health Act, the Health Act and a range of other relevant Acts. 

Certificate of authority cards must be issued. 

  1. Identify all persons who hold a current appointment as an environmental health officer (EHOs) who are to be automatically designated as an authorised officer under section 312
  2. Prepare a certificate of authority template (ID cards) for your local government in accordance with section 30
  3. Determine the designation requirements (e.g. the Acts or provisions of the Acts the person will be designated or any restrictions/limitations to the designation) to be included on the certificate of authority for each person to be designated as an authorised officer in accordance with section 30 and section 312
  4. Develop a list of authorised officers, which must be maintained [section 27] 
Designation of authorised officers

Certificate of authority template - non-prescribed forms

Designation of authorised officer presentation for stage 3 (external site)
Reporting requirements

[section 22 of the Public Health Act 2016]
Local governments are required to report on their performance of functions under the act from the date that stage 3 comes into effect.

The reporting period will be annually on a financial year basis. Reports will be required in October each year. At stage 3 reporting functions will be limited.
  1. Familiarise themselves with Section 22 and 16 of the Public Health Act 
  2. Understand their functions under the Public Health Act that will come into operation at Stage 3. 
  3. Determine who will be responsible for undertaking the reporting
  4. Assess current record keeping systems and their ability to assist with reporting
Local government reporting at stage 3

Local government reporting at stage 3 presentation (external site) 

Regulations that will be repealed

The following regulations and by-laws made under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 will be repealed at stage 3:
  • Annual Report Form (Local Authorities) Regulations
  • Form for Result of Sample Analysis Regulations
  • Health Act (Local Authorities Sewerage Undertakings) Model By-Laws
  • Local Health Boards (Annual Statement of Accounts) Regulations 1961
  • Model By-laws - Handling Dead Bodies
  • Model By-laws – Series “A”.
All other regulations, by-laws and local laws made under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 will remain in operation.
Stage 4

Stage 4 will come into effect in September 2017. 

On stage 4 the following key provisions will be enacted:

  • Part 3 – General public health duty
  • Part 4 – Serious public health risks and material public health risks
  • Part 9 – Notifiable infectious diseases & related conditions
  • Part 10 – Non-infectious diseases and physical or functional abnormalities
  • Part 11 – Serious public health incident powers
  • Part 12 – Public health emergencies
  • Part 15 – Inquiries

New infectious disease regulations have been developed to support Part 9 of the Public Health Act 2016, related to notifiable infectious diseases and related conditions. 

Equivalent provisions under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 (external site) relating to notifiable infectious diseases and related conditions will be repealed at stage 4.

Parts of the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 that govern notification of and response to infectious diseases in WA, including: 

  • Part IX (Infectious diseases), except section 249 relating to local laws, will be retained until stage 5 
  • Part X (Tuberculosis) and Part XI (Venereal diseases), along with associated regulations, will be replaced at stage 4 by Part 9 of the Public Health Act 2016 and relevant provisions of the proposed Public Health Regulations 2017.

What provisions of the Public Health Act 2016 will be in effect following stage 4?

Provisions in the Public Health Act that will commence or already be in operation include:

  • 1 – Preliminary
  • 2 – Administration (Subdivision 1 (but only sections 6, 9 and 10) and Subdivision 2 and Divisions 2, 3 4 and 5)
  • 3 – General public health duty
  • 4 – Serious public health risks and material public health risks
  • 9 – Notifiable infectious diseases & related conditions
  • 11 – Serious public health incident powers
  • 12 – Public health emergencies
  • 13 – Compensation and insurance
  • 15 – Inquiries
  • 16 – Powers of entry, inspection and seizure
  • 17 – Crown exemptions
  • 18 – Liability, evidentiary and procedural provisions (only Divisions 1 and 2)
  • 19 – Miscellaneous (only Division 2,3,4,5 and 6)
  • 20 – Transitional and savings provisions (only sections 307, 308, 310, 309, 311, 312, 317, 320, 321 and 322)

Refer to page 6 of the "Timeline for implementation fact sheet (PDF 420KB)" for an overview of the provisions of Public Health Act 2016  (external site) that will be in effect and the provisions of the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 that will continue to operate.

Local government

No action is required by local government to prepare for stage 4.

However, it is important for local government to note that even though the follow Parts come into effect at stage 4:

These Parts will not be enforceable by local government following this stage. This is because all health legislation applicable to local government is still enacted under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 (external site).

The Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 (external site) will still be the principle enforcement tool for local governments at stage 4.

Parts 3, 4, and 16 whilst proclaimed are not intended to be used for matters still being regulated under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 (external site) e.g. environmental health matters.

Stage 5

Stage 5 will not commence for at least another 4 years following the proclamation date of stage 4 (anticipated for the year 2020 - 2021). This is because there is a significant amount of work required to transition to stage 5.

Stage 5 is the most significant stage of implementation for local government enforcement agencies as it represents the point at which they move from the framework provided by the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 to the Public Health Act 2016.

The preparatory work for the development of new regulations under the Public Health Act 2016 relating to environmental health matters has now commenced and proposes new regulations to address: 

  • the built environment
  • water
  • body art and personal appearances
  • pests and vectors.

All regulation review projects must be consulted on prior to their commencement.

At stage 5, equivalent provisions in the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 and regulations and by-laws made under that Act will be repealed.

The following provisions will also commence at stage 5:

Equivalent provisions in the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 and regulations and by-laws made under that Act will be repealed. 

The Department of Health will work closely with local government in the lead up to this stage, and it is anticipated that a series of workshops will be conducted throughout the State closer to the roll out of stage 5.

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