by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
EHA : Yearkbook 2009
EHA YEARBOOK 2009 Branch Reports The Queensland Branch has had a very successful year given the challenging financial environment in which we have had to operate. Overall Branch membership has remained strong reflecting the current level of confidence in both the Queensland Branch and the national organization. The Queensland Branch Conference, our 69th, was held on the Sunshine Coast in May this year and attracted a wide variety of presentations by noted speakers. Membership attendance was outstanding considering the financial constraints on most employer organizations and the timing, which was in the middle of the Pandemic H1N1 (2009) outbreak. A Noise Workshop was also conducted over two days following the Branch Conference and was well attended. For the fifth year running, the ‘Environmental Health Excellence Awards’ were presented during the conference. This year has also presented some unique challenges to Environmental Health Officers in Queensland. Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) located within Queensland Health Population Health Units played an important role in the H1N1 Pandemic (2009) by undertaking contact tracing and border control activities working alongside Public Health Medical Officers and Nurses. A number of these EHOs took on additional roles within the command and control structures set up in those Units. In my case, I was Sector Commander for Southern Population Health Services which covers Population Health Units at the Gold Coast, Brisbane South, Ipswich, Logan, Toowoomba and Charleville; I was also Site Commander at the Darling Downs Population Health Unit as well as continuing to do my regular day time job of Director of Environmental Health. We were required to transform our Units into Health Emergency Operation Centres (known affectionately as HEOCs) and operate under an Incident Management Team or IMT structure. Prior to this porcine related pandemic, we had a major disease epidemic in our own backyard – I refer to Dengue Feve r. This year has seen Fa r North Queensland record the largest epidemic of dengue in 50 years. Over 1000 cases have been reported and while the worst of it is now over for this season, there are concerns that this summer could see a repeat of the outbreak. Unfortunately, one death was recorded as a direct result of this disease outbreak. Once again Environmental Health Officers from all over the State, both from Local and State Government, were asked to provide support to the Tropical Population Health Unit to control the spread of the dengue. For those who understand the clinical relevance of dengue hemorrhagic fever, all four serotypes of dengue were present at the same time in North Queensland producing a potentially deadly mix to the respective communities. This response lasted many months and the fight to control local mosquito breeding and transmission of dengue is an ongoing battle. What this outbreak has clearly demonstrated again is the capacity of Environmental Health Officers to adapt to the local challenges and respond in a professional and effective manner. The North Queensland climate during this summer certainly presented some unique hurdles for staff to deal with and I can personally vouch for that having worked for two weeks in Cairns assisting with the dengue response. Not content with sending us disease transmission challenges, Mother Nature continues to roll out a series of natural disasters, some of which just happen to occur at the same time as the disease outbreaks. The near misses with cyclones along the Queensland coast and the short lived return to a more normal weather pattern produced a number of localised flood events and wild storms to add some variety to our chaotic lives. The storm Super Cell that went through the western suburbs of Brisbane created a myriad of environmental health problems including lengthy power outages affecting homes and businesses; asbestos handling, removal and disposal; mountains of green waste and building materials to dispose of; maintenance of a safe reticulated water supply and the provision of appropriate emergency housing. Some of the worst affected homes have still not been reinstated while some that were repaired were again damaged following another rain event. And what a rain event it was. Emergency services were put on full alert, emergency operation centres stood up and once again a range of public health issues surfaced to satisfy the most demanding EHO. Australia is a land of many contrasts. We regularly move swiftly from flooding rains to prolonged droughts. I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work performed by our Victorian environmental health colleagues after the devastating fires earlier this year. Our hearts went out to you and the communities affected by the worst fires we have seen in many years. I can only begin to imagine the impact that it has had and applaud your resilience in managing the changing climate of work expectations and public opinion that continues today. Branch Council continues to meet regularly through a combination of teleconferences and a number of face to face meetings each year. Our branch councillors come from a variety of locations throughout Queensland and work for Local Governments, Queensland Health, a University, and private enterprise. As mentioned previously, Branch membership remains strong and once again this year, we have exceeded our budget goals. Members serving on Branch Council during the year were: Virgil Kelk – Branch President Grant Steen – Vice President David McNicoll – Vice President Belinda Davies – Branch Councillor Jim Edwards – Branch Councillor Paul Endres – Branch Councillor Sarah Shuttlewood – Branch Councillor David Hancock – Branch Councillor Amanda Hutchings – Branch Councillor Queensland Branch
Annual Review and Yearbook 2008
EHA Yearbook 2010