About the interim Australian Centre for Disease Control (CDC)

Improving the health of all Australians by protecting the country from health threats.

The interim CDC launched on 1 January 2024 within the Department of Health and Aged Care.

The interim CDC is enhancing our national health emergency planning and preparedness. It will strengthen partnerships with stakeholders and provide transparent and consistent public health advice.

The Australian CDC will be established in a phased approach which will provide scope to expand its preventive health responsibilities over time, particularly in the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCD).

Find out more about what we do

In 2024, the interim CDC is starting to build our One Health and health security capabilities.

One Health is an international approach that recognises the connection between the health of people, animals and the environment. This concept will guide the work of the interim CDC.

The interim CDC is also improving Australia’s health security. This work will increase our understanding of future health threats.

Why it is important

The risk of public health emergencies is increasing. Australia has seen this in recent disease outbreaks and more frequent natural disasters.

The reasons for the increased risk include:

  • changes in the environment that are leading to health issues, such as more diseases that spread from animals to people (zoonoses)
  • increasing vulnerability driven by climate change.

A CDC will help Australia prepare for these increased risks.

Background

The Australian Government identified the need for an CDC after recent public health emergencies, including the:

These emergencies challenged the nation and prompted urgent responses. Australia faced the challenges well, but there are lessons from these experiences.

The government decided to set up a CDC to improve the way we prepare for and respond to emergencies in the future.

Funding and approach to establishment

In 2022, the government consulted with stakeholders on the scope and functions of a CDC. It committed $90.9 million in the 2023–24 Budget to support setting up a CDC.

This includes funding to:

  • develop our expertise to better understand the connections between the health of people, animals and the environment (One Health)
  • improve our intelligence of health threats (health security).

We are taking a phased approach to setting up the CDC so it grows in a sustainable way. We are consulting with key stakeholders about the establishment of the CDC.

To support the ongoing establishment of an Australian CDC, the department stood up a CDC Establishment Taskforce on 29 January 2024 to further progress and prioritise work on establishing a standalone CDC. This taskforce is led by Helen Grinbergs (First Assistant Secretary). It operates alongside and in collaboration with the interim Australian CDC within the Department of Health and Aged Care.

Into the future

The CDC will continue to grow in a phased approach, pending a decision from Government on the final scope and functions. The CDC will lead the Australian Government’s response to public health emergencies of national significance. It will be an authority on public health that Australians can trust. It will provide transparent and consistent evidence-based advice to meet community needs.

To protect Australians from health threats, the CDC will:

  • prepare and plan for potential public health emergencies, such as pandemics
  • respond to a range of emergencies that have an impact on public or human health
  • coordinate and collaborate with states and territories to take a national approach
  • collate, monitor and analyse disease surveillance data from international, state and local sources
  • advise government and inform the public on health issues using an independent, evidence-based approach.

The CDC will engage in work at locations around Australia. Its permanent location is not yet determined.

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