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EHA : Yearkbook 2009
EHA YEARBOOK 2009 Regional Group Reports North Eastern Regional Group The Hume Region situated in North East Victoria experienced a challenging 2008-2009. The region was fraught with fires, flu pandemic and a fantastic snow season which made for a very busy time for Environmental Health Officers in the region, particularly for officers in the fire affected shires of Murrindindi, Mansfield, Alpine, Mitchell and Indigo. Despite these events we continued to hold regular quarterly meetings discussing a broad range of issues. The group found the meetings important to debrief on the major events that had occurred around the region, and lend each other their support, ideas and experiences. It was great to see the overwhelming support and assistance that other Environmental Health Officers from the region and surrounding regions gave to help out fire affected areas. The regions are now faced with rebuilding and the challenge is to continue assistance into the coming months and years. Benalla hosted the Onsite Wastewater Management Conference in October 2008, which was very informative and a great opportunity for rural and metropolitan councils to discuss their issues surrounding wastewater and greywater and learn from the experts. One of the group’s frustrations and a regular topic at meetings was the relationship between Local Government and the EPA. A representative from the E PA recently attended one of our meetings and after some robust discussions we are now working together to achieve positive outcomes. Ski Resorts of Falls Creek, Buffalo, Hotham, Lake Mountain, Mt Stirling and Mt Buller all fall within the responsibility of Councils in the Hume Region. Most of these resort areas are described as a “nightmare” to the Environmental Health Officers dealing with them as current arrangements for these Alpine Resorts are not ideal and pose a potential public health disaster. The new Public Health and Wellbeing Act places the responsibility of Alpine Resorts under the control of the nearest municipality which will impact on some councils who do not have the resources. Councils in the Hume Region have found it difficult recruiting environmental health staff, positions are regularly advertised and not readily filled which impacts on service levels. I wish to thank all members of the EHA Hume Region for their participation and support during 08/09. I would particularly like to thank Leanne Wells (REHO) for all her support and hard work over the years. Leanne has taken up a position with DofH in the Drinking Water Unit and we wish her all the best. Suzanne Walker MEHA North Eastern Regional Group Secretary Central Highlands Regional Group The Central Highlands Regional Group has had another successful year meeting quarterly, including 2 meetings combined with the North Western Group. In February we joined with the North Western Group to farewell Bruce Pollard on the eve of his latest attempt at retiring. At the other end of the career spectrum Kate Bertoncini from Ballarat won the award for the Best Performing final year Student at Latrobe University Environmental Health Course - well done Kate. Given the number of Councils in our catchment and the small numbers of EHPs employed, we get a good turn up and try to spread the meetings over the region to spread the travel burden. Our relationship with the regional office of the Department of Health continues to prosper and the group is grateful to Tom, Stephen and Christelle for their support. Faye Paloukos, from Moorabool spent some time with DoH assisting Councils to write their Flu Pandemic Plans. Thanks Faye for your hard work. Maddocks presented a talk on the Food Act and Stephen Gilligan from the Plumbing Industry Commission spoke about their role and how we can support each other. We have also had support from the Food Analysts and E PA and their contribution is much appreciated. Because members are mostly from small workplaces, often sole operators, the exchange of ideas around our specific issues is always a valuable part of the meeting and of mutual benefit. We look forward to the new year of operation with confidence that our group provides a supportive forum for us all. Alex Serrurier FEHA Central Highlands Regional Group Chair Branch Reports Victorian Branch (continued)
Annual Review and Yearbook 2008
EHA Yearbook 2010