Department of Health

The Department of Health (DH) aims to create a future where Victorians are the healthiest people in the world and deliver a world-class healthcare system that ensures every single Victorian can access safe, quality care that leads to better health outcomes for all. 

DH works to minimise the impact of emergencies, with major health consequences, on individuals, communities, and the health system. DH plans and prepares for the health response in emergencies, including consequence planning, community preparedness, and capability planning for the health system. 

DH is responsible for developing, monitoring, and supporting the capability and capacity of the health system to respond and recover from the health consequences of all emergencies. 


Activity Critical task alignment / activity source

Participating agency for the following bushfire mitigation activity: 

  • community education, awareness and engagement to prevent and respond to bushfire smoke 

Table 8: Participating agencies for mitigation 

Participating agency for the following electricity supply disruption mitigation activities: 

  • Public awareness 

  • Public communication and engagement 

Table 8: Participating agencies for mitigation 

Participating agency for the following flood mitigation activity: 

  • Community engagement, education and awareness 

Table 8: Participating agencies for mitigation 

Participating agency for the following gas supply disruption mitigation activity: 

  • Public awareness 

Table 8: Participating agencies for mitigation 

Participating agency for the hazardous materials (including industrial waste) incident mitigation activities: 

  • HAZMAT high consequence transport requirements (e.g. prohibitions, material volume and selection, route and timing selection, transport mode, stakeholder engagement (e.g. WorkSafe Victoria, FRV, DTP, CFA, transporter, receiver)) 

  • pre-high consequence transport modelling and readiness 

  • Minimise incident potential via application of the Radiation Act 2005 and Radiation Regulations 2017 by regulating the use, possession, storage, transport, sale and disposal of radioactive material 

Table 8: Participating agencies for mitigation 

Participating agency for the following heatwave mitigation activities: 

  • education and community resilience 

  • Monitor and broadcast warnings of heat events 

Table 8: Participating agencies for mitigation 

Participating agency for the following viral pandemic mitigation activities: 

  • vaccination 

  • active investigation of existing notifiable diseases and novel or rare pathogens with pandemic potential 

  • engagement with national and international groups on the monitoring and response to viruses with pandemic potential 

  • health guidelines and relevant standards and codes 

  • community education 

  • health and emergency management sector pandemic planning, health system coordination and oversight, surge capacity planning and exercises 

  • surveillance and modelling data from outbreaks, research of historic events 

Table 8: Participating agencies for mitigation 

Participating agency for the water supply disruption mitigation activity: 

  • legislative framework and regulations including Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 (risk management plans and audits) 

Table 8: Participating agencies for mitigation 

Provide whole-of-health leadership and direction to the health and emergency management sector to mitigate, plan and prepare for emergencies with health consequences 


Lead the planning for the management of deceased persons (non-coronial) by engaging the VIFM to undertake the necessary activities to support and coordinate the management and storage of deceased persons (non-coronial) during a pandemic 


Work with community, local and state government, and key partners in the emergency management and health sector to prepare for health emergencies 


Engage with Aboriginal communities and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector to plan and prepare for Aboriginal self-determination to be supported during health emergencies 


Mitigate health risks by enforcing relevant legislation in collaboration with local government and relevant agencies: 

  • Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 

  • Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 


Develop and implement public health plans, guidelines and advice that raise awareness about health risks and mitigation activities 


Promote planning, emergency procedures, and the thunderstorm asthma and heatwave warning systems to the community, and health and emergency management sectors   

2.1, 13.3, 13.5 

Collaborate with the health sector and industry-wide partners to build an understanding of health risks and consequences 


Work in partnership with community leaders and organisations to develop, review and promote community and linguistically-appropriate and culturally-safe messaging to raise awareness of health risks for communities in emergencies including priority populations, and those most at risk, to stay safe 

1.3, 1.4 

Implement legislation, programs and policies to minimise public health risk from (but not limited to): 

  • extreme heat 

  • communicable and non-communicable diseases 

  • immunisation 

  • prescribed accommodation providers with shared facilities, high turnover of occupants and/or overcrowding 

  •  vector borne disease and mosquito control 

  • food-borne illness 

  • unsafe food (including retail food) 

  • contaminated drinking water 

  • radioactive materials 

  • significant smoke events 

13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4, 13.5 

Monitor, detect and investigate hazards that could become a risk or threat to public health or the health system 

1.5, 16.2 

Contribute to a national, cooperative approach to planning for cyber incidents that impact the health system 


Coordinate and participate in training and exercises to maintain a high level of preparedness for all emergencies with health consequences, both internally and with other emergency services and stakeholders 


 Response (including Relief)

Activity Critical task alignment / activity source

Control agency for: 

  • incidents involving biological releases and radioactive materials (including leaks and spills)  

  • drinking water contamination 

  • food contamination (potential to cause harm to health) 

  • retail food contamination 

  • human disease/epidemics (including pandemic, mass, rapid onset of human disease from any cause) 


3.1, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4, 13.5, Table 9: Control agencies for response  

Lead Response Support Agency (RSA) for the functional areas of health services, and health protection – public health 

Table 10: Support agencies for response 

Through the SEMP Health Emergencies Sub-Plan (HESP) and relevant sub-plans, ensure a safe, effective and coordinated health, wellbeing and medical response to emergency incidents that go beyond day-to-day arrangements 

3.2, 14.4, 14.6, 14.8 

Invoke statutory powers under relevant public health legislation when required 


Support agency to DEECA in providing public health advice on harmful algal blooms 


Respond, manage and mitigate adverse health impacts and consequences in emergencies 


Ensure the health system can effectively respond. 


Lead and coordinate the health sector response to emergencies at a regional and state level, across primary and community health (including Aboriginal community Controlled Health Organisations) secondary and tertiary care 


Provide culturally-safe and linguistically appropriate health messaging and public information to protect the community during health emergencies. 


Issue warnings for communicable and human disease, radiological and biological leaks and spills, major food and drinking water contamination 


Identify, investigate and manage outbreaks of communicable diseases. 


Work closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) to enable the integrated delivery of culturally-safe, self-determined health and social services during emergencies. Work with these stakeholders to support the delivery of streamlined advice and holistic support during emergencies. 


Provide mental health information and advice and promote services available during and after major emergencies in coordination with other agencies and community organisations 

2.3, 2.5 

Provide a State and Regional Health Coordination response during an emergency with health consequences 

3.1, 14.8 

Coordinate training, development and deployment of health professionals (e.g. under the AUSMAT program) to enable Victoria to contribute to national or international deployments of health and medical teams 

3.2, 14.4 

Reduce preventable death, illness and disability in all health emergencies and other emergencies with potential health impacts and consequences 

13.2, 13.3, 13.4, 13.5 

Access additional resources for the provision of appropriate care during an emergency with health consequences 

14.4, 14.6 

Relief Lead Agency (RelLA) to: 

  • develop and provide public health advice 

  • coordinate other health and medical relief assistance measures 

Table 12: Relief Coordination 

Relief Support Agency (RelSA) to: 

  • AV to coordinate pre-hospital care to people affected by emergencies 

Table 12: Relief coordination 

Support EMV to lead whole of government coordination of public information and communication in relation to emergency management for major emergencies 

2.1, 2.3, 3.2 


Activity Critical task alignment / activity source

Recovery Coordinating Agency (RecCA) responsible for coordinating: health and medical assistance 

20.4, Table 15: Recovery coordination: Social environment 

Recovery Lead Agency (RecLA) responsible to: 

  • develop and provide public health (health protection) advice to councils, other agencies and the community on a range of topics including safe drinking water, safe food, adequate washing/toilet facilities and communicable disease outbreaks 

4.5, 13.3, 13.4, 13.5, Table 14: Recovery coordination: For services across all environments 


Recovery Lead Agency (RecLA) responsible to: 




  • provide public health advice on accommodation standards for interim accommodation of displaced people, when requested by councils 

Table 15: Recovery coordination: Social environment 


  • provide and promote mental health support services and information 
  • support for the bereaved (non-coronial) 



  • provide and promote advice on wellbeing in recovery 


  • support community access to appropriate health services through DH funded health care services and other primary, community and acute health services 

13.1, 13.3, 14.6, 14.8 


Recovery Support Agency (RecSA) 

  • for VIFM in their support for the bereaved (coronial) and CCOV to promote mental health information and services available to support bereaved families 

20.7, Table 15: Recovery coordination: Social environment 

Lead agency responsible to assess, restore, clear and rehabilitate DH portfolio properties and associated assets (where relevant) 

19.2, 19.3, 19.4 

Assurance and Learning

For assurance and learning activities, refer directly to the department for further information.