Queensland will now have some of the most stringent water risk management requirements for hospitals and residential aged care facilities in Australia after new laws were passed in State Parliament today.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the successful passage of the Palaszczuk Government’s Public Health (Water Risk Management) Amendment Bill 2016 meant Queensland’s hospitals, private health facilities and public residential aged care facilities would now be required to develop robust water risk management plans.
“These new laws are the most stringent in Australia when it comes to water risk management in hospitals and residential aged-care facilities and they build on current international best practice in legionella risk management in these spaces,” he said.
“They will improve the management and control of health risks associated with water use and supply in Queensland’s hospitals and aged-care facilities, better protecting some of our most vulnerable Queenslanders against nasty illnesses like those associated with legionella bacteria.”
Mr Dick said the changes also required the person in charge of a facility to notify the Department of Health within one business day after becoming aware of a test result confirming the presence of legionella bacteria.
“This will ensure the Department of Health is aware of the detection and will enable the Department to determine whether the facility is responding appropriately to the detection.
“The changes also require facilities to periodically submit reports summarising the results of their legionella tests, which will be published on the Queensland Health website.
“This provides for greater public transparency and will give the community confidence that facilities are regularly testing their water supplies for legionella bacteria.”
Mr Dick said the new laws also set out significant penalties associated with non-compliance.
“These penalties range from 200 penalty units to up to 1,000 penalty units for the most serious offences – that means penalties ranging anywhere from $23,560 to up to $117,800.
“The severity of infringements reflects the seriousness of this issue and the need for healthcare facilities to have stringent water management practices in place.”
Mr Dick said the requirements would be applied to the private residential aged care sector over time in order to minimise the impact on smaller providers.
For more information or to view a copy of the Bill visit www.parliament.qld.gov.au.
Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Cameron Dick