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EHA : Annual Review and Yearbook 2008
Branch Presidents’ Reports The NSW/ACT Branch has had an exciting and successful year. This year brought new challenges to the role of an EHO as the emerging Climate Change debate continued and food safety and planning reforms began to take shape in NSW. The Branch was there to provide support and a voice for all NSW /ACT Environmental Health Practitioners to ensure we had a say in the direction our profession was heading. A new Branch Council was elected for 2007- 2008 which saw a changing of the guard. Former NSW/ACT Branch President Graham Pares left Branch Council to pursue personal interests overseas but left the branch in a healthy and vibrant position. There is still an interesting blend of old and new faces which will hopefully see the Branch continue to achieve significant outcomes in the coming years. NSW/ACT Branch Council Shannon McKiernan Verity Beadle Ian Goldthorpe Graham Burgess Brian Jones - Branch President - Branch Councillor - Branch Councillor - Branch Councillor - Branch Councillor The Branch formulated a Business Plan for 2007-08. This document gave Branch Council and its members a clear direction as to actions and priorities for 2008. Priority areas for the Branch in this financial year were on emerging issues such as Climate Change and continued advocacy and delivering professional development opportunities in the fields of food safety and public health. The NSW/ACT Branch continued to deliver a series of training initiatives that proved to be fantastic professional development opportunities for members, covering a range of topical environmental health issues. The variety of training opportunities delivered really demonstrated the broad scope of issues that the modern environmental health officer needs to be equipped to deal with. Programs delivered throughout the year included 3 day Food Surveillance School, 2 day Public Health School, Asbestos Handling seminars, Complaint Investigation seminar, and professional development workshops that focused on techniques for maintaining high levels of personal and professional productivity in the modern work environment. The NSW/ACT Branch continued to represent the interests of environmental health professionals on a range of committees with state agencies. One of the most significant committees has been the Food Regulation Partnership Steering Committee, which has overseen the development and implementation of the Food Regulation Partnership in conjunction with the NSW Food Authority. This partnership will shepherd in a new era of regulation of food safety standards in NSW and EHA is more than happy with the identification of local government as a key player in safeguarding the health of the community. The 26 EHA ANNUAL REPORT 2008 New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory Branch process of introduction of this partnership has required intensive training and assistance for all environmental health professionals, and the Branch is working hard to position itself to play a major role in the delivery of this service though programs such as Food Surveillance School. The NSW/ACT Branch now incorporates our colleagues over the border. Environmental Health within the Australian Capital Territory is managed by the Health Protection Service with Branch Councillor Brian Jones Manager of Environmental Health Operations. The Public Health Act 1997 and the Food Act 2001 provides for licensing, monitoring and enforcement of public health. The acts allow for regulation of factors that may impact upon public health including food safety, cooling towers and warm water systems, safety of drinking and recreation water. The Service conducts approximately 1900 food business inspections annually and analysed approximately 7000 food samples for bacteriological quality in the 2007-2008 financial year. Testing was conducted by the onsite NATA accredited bacteriological laboratory and the Service is progressively implementing the Food Safety Programs. The Health Protection Service consists of a team of 14 Environmental Health Officers and a cadet. Further information is available from the ACT Health web site http://www.health.act.gov.au/c/health?a=sp&pid=1053918396 During the year a number of new Members joined the Branch and were welcomed in the National E-Newsletter. I would also acknowledge all members who retired during the last year, after long and distinguished careers in environmental health, and for whom we wish a long and healthy retirement. Formers members such as Jeff Walkley, a long serving member of some 40 plus years retired along with Ian Hancock, Col Cluderay, and John Craig, all members for more than 30 years. We also acknowledge the huge contribution of Don Buckley, which includes five years as State President, and others such as Ron Cannon, Bob Butt, Bob Roach, David Baker and Kim Talbert over similar number of years. Geoff Edwards and Chrys Warren 39 and 41 years respectively in local government, thank you for your contributions to the profession. These former members and others like them who retired earlier or may be counting down, have made enormous contributions to EHA (formerly AIEH) and their profession. Shannon mcKiernan mAIEH NSW/ACT Branch President