Environmental health in Australia: overlooked and underrated

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Improvements in environmental health have had the most significant impact on health status. In Australia, life expectancy has significantly increased through provision of vaccination, safe food and drinking water, appropriate sewage disposal and other environmental health measures. Yet the profession that is instrumental in delivering environmental health services at the local community level is overlooked. Rarely featuring in mainstream media, the successes of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are invisible to the general public. As a consequence, students entering university are unaware of the profession and its significant role in society. This has resulted in there being too few EHOs to meet the current regulatory requirements, much less deal with the emerging environmental health issues arising as a consequence of changing global conditions including climate change. To futureproof Australian society and public health this workforce issue, and the associated oversight of environmental health must be addressed now.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-475
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of public health (Oxford, England)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • climate change
  • planning
  • public health
  • workforce


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