Public and Environmental Health

Council’s Environmental Health Unit consists of trained public health professionals and experienced administrative support staff.

Registering a New or Existing Business

If you are planning to open a new business, whether it be a business that sells, prepares or handles food, provides accommodation, a hairdresser/beauty parlour services, conducts skin penetration activities (ear piercing and tattooing), or operates a caravan park, there is legislation in place that requires the registration of these businesses with Council.

Registration commences the day that you are approved and issued with your certificate of registration. All registrations issued expire on 31 December each year.

An application to renew registration must be submitted before the current registration expires. The application fee that is paid with the first registration covers the initial inspections of the premises and approval of the plans.

Premises registered under either the Public Health and Well Being Act 2008, Food Act 1984 or Residential Tenancies Act 1997 are required to meet minimum standards for construction, fit out and general operation. Before purchasing an existing business, there are a number of steps that you should take.

Further information:

Anyone contemplating opening a new business should also make contact with the following organisations. They may be able to provide you with additional assistance and let you know if any other approvals, registrations or licences will be required. This list is not exhaustive but may be of assistance.

Within Council: 5755 0555 | email info@alpineshire.vic.gov.au

  • Statutory planning - for town planning advice
  • Building - for any building/fire compliance requirements
  • Local laws - for advice in relation to advertising signs on footpaths and street furniture
  • Rates office - to discuss what rates and charges are likely to apply

Other contacts:

  • North East Region Water Authority - for advice on water supply and grease traps | 1300 361 622 
  • Liquor Licensing Victoria | 9655 6696
  • Consumer and Business Affairs Victoria | 1300 558 181

Consent to Disclose Information

Selling or Handling Food

Food Premises Information

The Victorian Food Act 1984, along with the Food Standards Code and the Food Safety Standards, cover all businesses that handle, pack, prepare and sell food. Therefore all businesses, regardless of their size, that are involved with food, must be registered, and must comply with the requirements of the legislation.

Food Premises Classification

  • Class 1: Handles, processes or serves ready to eat potentially hazardous food to groups, most vulnerable to food related illness (including hospital patients, nursing home residents or children in long day care)
  • Class 2: Supplies potentially hazardous unpackaged foods (e.g. meat, dairy etc) which need correct temperature control throughout the food handling process, including cooking and storage, to keep food safe (such as restaurants or take away foods)
  • Class 3: Supplies or handles unpackaged low risk foods or pre-packaged potentially hazardous foods which simply need refrigeration to keep them safe (such as milk bars or bread baking) and some community events
  • Class 4: Premises that only sell pre-packaged low risk food and certain low risk occasional activities e.g. a simple sausage sizzle (sausages, bread, sauce and onion only). Retailers, community groups and warehouses selling low risk packed and prepacked foods (such sausages cooked and served immediately, cooked cakes, jams and honey). 

Food Safety Supervisor Qualifications and Requirements

More information about Food Safety Supervisor Qualifications and Requirements.

Information for Temporary Food Premises / Stalls / Mobile Premises and Community Food Selling Events

Temporary food stalls are sites that are not permanently fixed, where food is sold, prepared or handled. These include stalls and tents at fetes, farmers markets, craft markets, shows, festivals or other short term events.

Mobile food premises are vehicles such as vans, trailers or carts from which food is sold.

Streatrader allows registration and notification of temporary and mobile food business to the customer’s principal council.

Operators of temporary and mobile food premises - including community groups need to access the website and proceed to complete the application online. The relevant council will be notified. The fees and charges will be advised via this website.

The Victorian Department of Health has developed a short video and interactive website to help community groups understand and meet their food safety obligations when selling food to raise funds in Victoria.

The video provides an informative insight into community fund-raising activities while the website covers a range of topics, including community group obligations under the Victorian Food Act 1984.

How to Register Temporary and Mobile Food Premises

1. Login to the Streatrader website.

2. Answer questions about your food handling activities to determine your food safety risk classification and fees to pay.

3. Submit your form on Streatrader.

A - Z of Food Safety

View an A - Z of Food Safety.

Health Premises (Hairdesser, Beauty, Piercing or Tattooing)

Personal care and body art industries guidelines

The principle purpose of this set of guidelines is to assist those involved in the personal care and body art industry to comply with the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009 by providing information on:

  • How infection can be associated with the procedures employed in the industry, and
  • Precautions to protect clients and employees.

For more information please read the Health premises guidelines.

Contact Council for application forms to register or transfer registration of a health premises.

Accommodation Premises

The Public Health & Wellbeing (Prescribed Accommodation) Regulations 2020 requires registration of all prescribed accommodation premises. The following information regarding prescribed accommodation may assist you when establishing your own Bed and Breakfast, Guesthouse or other form of accommodation.

Objectives of the regulations 

  • To prevent overcrowding in prescribed accommodations 
  • To ensure a reasonable standard of hygiene, sanitation and safety in prescribed accommodation 
  • To minimise the risk of airborne and other communicable diseases amongst people living in prescribed accommodation

Accommodation factors connected to ill health 

  • Lack of or sharing of amenities linked to gastroenteritis and dysentery especially among young children and the elderly. 
  • Overcrowding leading to accidents, respiratory illness in young children and the elderly and the transmission of infectious diseases. 
  • Problems with insulation and ventilation can result in respiratory illness 
  • Dampness has been linked to respiratory illness, particularly chest infection and asthma in children 
  • Uncollected waste can lead to the spread of gastrointestinal and parasitic diseases, mainly as a result of the increase of insect and rodent vectors and poor maintenance of sewers and food waste. 

Types of Prescribed Accommodation

Within the State of Victoria the following classes of accommodation are prescribed to be subject to Division 1 of Part 5 of the Public Health & Wellbeing Act 2008

  • Residential Accommodation 
  • Hotels and Motels 
  • Hostels / Backpackers 
  • Student Dormitories 
  • Holiday camps 
  • Rooming Houses

Definitions 

Holiday Camp means any house, building or structure, whether temporary or permanent, which is used for accommodation of student groups, youth groups or family groups for holiday or recreational purposes. 

Rooming House means a building in which there is one or more rooms available for occupancy on payment of rent in which the total number of people who may occupy that room or those rooms is not less than four.

This includes short term Bed and Breakfast premises if five or more persons are accommodated, unless exempt, see below: 

  • A house or self-contained flat under the exclusive occupation of the occupier 
  • Premises in which, other than the family of the proprietor, five persons or fewer are accommodated, and which is not a rooming house 
  • Any house, building or structure to which Part 4 (Caravan Parks are separately requested with Council) of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 applies 
  • Any vessel, vehicle, tent or caravan 
  • Public Hospitals or health services establishments (registered) 
  • Retirement villages. 

Overcrowding 

The Regulations detail the maximum number of persons that can be accommodated based on room size and varies depending on the length of stay (more than or less than 31 days).

Under these regulations: 

  • Each bedroom must have a minimum floor space of 7.5 square meters; 
  • One child under three is not counted as a person; and 
  • 2 children under the age of three are counted as one person. 
  • Floor area includes the area occupied by any cupboard or other built-in furniture, fixture or fitting but does not include any area occupied by any bathroom or toilet in, or attached to, the bedroom.
People permitted Holiday camp (m2) 1 - 31 Days (m2) 31+ Days (m2)
1 7.5 7.5 7.5
2 7.5 7.5 12
3 7.5 10 16
4 8 12 20
5 10 14 24
6 12 16 28
7 14 18 32
8 16 20 36
9 18 22 40
10 20 24 44
11 22 26 48
12 (and additional people) 24 (add 2m2 for each additional person) 28 (add 2m2 for each additional person) 52 (add 2m2 for each additional person)
1 child <3 y/o Do not count Do not count Do not count
2 children <3 y/o = 1 adult = 1 adult = 1 adult

Toilet and Bathing Facilities  

  • Proprietor must provide at least one toilet, one bath or shower and one hand basin for every 10 persons or fraction of that number of persons occupying the premises. 
  • All facilities to be maintained in a clean and hygienic condition and in a good state of repair.

Drinking water 

Water intended for drinking must be fit for human consumption. Private drinking water supplies used for commercial premises need a higher level of management then that required for private dwellings.

If the water supply is roof catchment and tank storage than maintenance procedures will be necessary to ensure compliance with the Australian Drinking Water Standards. 

Kitchens/ Food Premises

Many prescribed accommodation premises also operate a kitchen or kiosk and as such registration under the Food Act 1984 may also be required. 

  • Where a prescribed accommodation premises provides meals for residents, a separate Food Premises registration must be obtained from Council’s Environmental Health Unit. 
  • Premises not supplying food (eg. self-catering) will have their kitchen facilities assessed in terms of overall structural and cleanliness.

Registration  

If you intend opening, buying or have a prescribed accommodation premises, please submit an application to Council’s Environmental Health Officers. 

Email your completed application to Health@alpineshire.vic.gov.au. Once the application is assessed, Council will arrange for an inspection of the premises. This can be during construction if applicable. When all works have been completed to the satisfaction of Council, a certificate of registration to operate can be issued and forwarded to you.

Caravan Parks

The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 requires registration of all caravan parks. Many caravan parks also operate a kiosk and as such registration under the Food Act 1984 may also be required.

All caravan parks are required to have in place an Emergency Management Plan. It is advisable to obtain a copy of this plan prior to taking over so that you are fully aware of your obligations under that plan.

If you intend opening or buying a caravan park, please contact Council’s Environmental Health Officers.

River Pool Water Quality Sampling Summer Season

During the summer school holidays Council undertakes water quality sampling of the river pool in Bright and the river pool and toddler pool in Porepunkah.

Sampling is undertaken for E.coli organisms on a weekly basis, or more frequently as required. E.coli is recognised as an indicator of water quality in freshwater bodies used for swimming and other recreational activities.

Council may issue a Water Quality Warning for the river pools and associated equipment when the water quality is unsuitable for recreation. See Water Quality Warning information below.

It is acknowledged that the sampling project provides an indication of recreational water quality only, and does not give a specific measure of the health risk on any given day. Drinking of the river water is not recommended.

River users should take care at all times, including observing any warning signs and checking for physical hazards before entering the river. It is also recommended to avoid swimming 24-48 hours after heavy rain regardless of the water quality rating.

River Pool Water Quality Warning

Council will notify the public of a water quality warning for our river pools via Council’s website, providing social media alerts, placing signage at the pools, closing the facilities (slide/diving board) and removing lifeguards where feasible.

Undertaking recreational activities in the river pools during a warning may result in a potential risk to health. People who choose to continue to use the river pools do so at their own risk.

When the warning is no longer current, Council’s website and social media will be updated, signage at the pools will be removed, and lifeguard and equipment operation will resume as normal.

Council’s Environmental Health Department is happy to provide further information if requested.

Health and Infectious Disease - Pools and Spas (Aquatic Facilities)

Any premises that operates an aquatic facility, available to the public, must meet the requirements under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009.

These Regulations govern public swimming pools and public spa pool standards.

The potential for outbreaks of infectious diseases through the use of pools, if not maintained to the standards specified in the Regulations, can be high.

Part 6 of the Regulations outlines the minimum requirements to ensure that an aquatic facility operates in a manner that ensures the health and wellbeing of its patrons.

Noise

Residential Noise

It is part of life that we all make noise, whether we are talking to others, playing music, entertaining, mowing the lawn, working around the house or just going about our daily business. What is enjoyable to one person may be noise to another. Excessive noise can affect a person's quality of life.

Police and Council officers can require offenders to cease unreasonable noise. Police are best placed to respond to late night noise such as parties, or issues where alcohol or threatening behaviour is involved. Council officers are most suited to address long-term issues, involving prescribed items, plant and equipment, machine and animal noise. Investigations of complex issues may require a collaborative approach between both Council officers and police officers.

Information about residential noise and what you can do about it can be found at EPA - Residential Noise information and the EPA publication - Annoyed by noise?

Animal Noise

Barking dogs, bird and other animal noise are regulated under provisions in either Council's Local Law or more specific legislation under the Domestic Animals Act 1994 or nuisance provisions of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.

Contact Council's Local Laws Officers or Environmental Health Officers for specific advice on 5755 0555 or info@alpineshire.vic.gov.au

Other Noise

EPA has guidelines for other types of noise to assist local government in resolving complaints. These guidelines cover noise from construction sites, domestic refuse collections, commercial and industrial noise, and motor vehicles.

Further information can be obtained by visiting EPA Noise publications and resources.

Bird Scare Guns

The control of bird scare guns is regulated under the Bird Scare Gun policy a section of incorporated documents for the Community Local Law 2019.

Tobacco Legislation Enforcement

Over the past few years a number of new laws controlling tobacco have come into effect in Victoria. As a result we can now enjoy a smoke-free environment while eating out, tobacco advertisements and promotions have been limited, shopping centres are now smoke free and as of 1 September 2007, smoking in gaming venues and licensed premises was also restricted. The laws are also aimed at reducing the sale of cigarettes and tobacco to children.

Complaints about sale of tobacco products to children are to be referred to Council’s Environmental Health Unit for investigation. Council’s Enviornmental Health Officers also ensure that tobacco advertising and point of sale display comply with the Tobacco Act 1987 and that required “Warning Signs” are displayed.

Private Water Supplies (tanks, bores)

If you live outside a township in a rural or semi-rural area, it is likely that the water you drink is obtained from private water tanks or bores. This may also be the case for any accommodation and food businesses in these areas. It is important that water from these supplies is maintained regularly and not contaminated. 

Further information on rainwater tanks is available on the HealthVic website.

Information regarding private groundwater extraction bores is available on the Department of Land Water and Planning Website.

Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Surveillance

Visit the HealthVic website (Guidelines for the control of infectious diseases), along with various other fact sheets, guidelines, standards and legislation for the investigation, control and prevention of infectious diseases in a range of settings.

Head Lice

For information on head lice, please visit the HealthVic Website.

European Wasps

European wasps are well established within the Alpine Shire. Council's Community Local Law 2019 - Clause 3.10 requires landowners to remove / destroy European wasp nests on private land. If required, Council can give written direction for this to occur.

It is Council's responsibility to manage nests on municipal (Council-managed) land. Council encourages members of the public to report nests so they can be treated as soon as possible.

Nests found on Crown Land should be referred to the relevant land owner / land manager, i.e. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). European wasps can only be controlled by finding the nest and destroying it.

The European wasp, Vespula germanica, is most easily identifiable by:
• Its black and yellow body;
• Its yellow legs; and
• Triangular markings on the abdomen.
While the European wasp is the same size as a bee (10 - 15mm), it is less hairy and folds its wings back at rest. Queen European wasps have identical markings and colouring, except are larger.

Do not aggravate an European wasp

If a European wasp is aggravated it may sting. Unlike the bee, a European wasp can sting multiple times. If left undisturbed the European wasp is not aggressive to humans or other animals.
If a nest is disturbed, the wasps release a chemical which triggers the wasps to defend the nest.

Finding the nest

In order for the nest to be destroyed you need to locate the nest. To find the nest you need to establish the direction the wasps are flying. To do this, place a food source (i.e. meat or pet food) in a visible location. Once the wasp has collected the food, it will fly in a direct line to the nest.

Observing the flight path of the wasp during the early morning sunrise or evening setting sun is best. A wasp may be scavenging for food up to 500m from the nest. Keep relocating the food sources in the direction of the nest. You may need to work cooperatively with your neighbours.

Nests are located where shelter is available. The most common location for nests is underground and nests will be evident by a stream of wasps entering and leaving a hole in the ground. Nests are also found in retaining walls, hollows of trees and wall cavities. The nest is made of grey paper mache-type material. Nests constructed of mud are not European wasp nests.

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