What we do

Find out about the role of the interim Australian Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and our key areas of responsibility.

Our role

We protect Australia from public health threats and improve the health of all Australians.

The interim CDC is part of the Department of Health and Aged Care. We are growing in a phased approach, with an initial focus on improvements in the following areas:

  • preparing for public health emergencies with multi-jurisdictional training exercises
  • improving the national public health surveillance system
  • building capability in One Health and health security.

The development of the CDC will:

  • increase independence and strengthen evidence-based and transparent decision-making to maintain trust
  • improve national coordination of effort and efficiencies by building stronger partnerships, including across Commonwealth agencies and between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments
  • support national action through enhanced national capabilities, underpinned by the distinct and complementary roles and responsibilities of the Commonwealth, state, and territory governments
  • enhance international connections
  • increase and productively use resources to support preparedness and response across all Commonwealth, state, and territory governments, including nationally.

See our statement of intent for more detail.

Statement of Intent – 10 November 2023

This statement outlines how we will work together with state and territory governments to support the establishment and operation of the interim Australian CDC. It includes a timeline for delivering an agreement to support the fully developed Australian CDC.

Our functions

The interim CDC has taken over the responsibilities of the department’s Chief Medical Officer Group. These include:

  • health alerts
  • emergency health management, including management of the National Medical Stockpile
  • communicable diseases
  • national and international disease surveillance
  • environmental health.

The interim CDC functions and services will expand throughout 2024.

Health alerts

We issue health alerts to warn:

  • the Australian community when a disease outbreak affects people in multiple states and territories
  • Australians travelling overseas about disease outbreaks that may affect them.

Health alerts are available on the department's website and the interim CDC website.

Emergency health management

We work as part of the Department of Health and Aged Care to manage the Australian Government’s response to national public health emergencies. When one occurs, we:

  • issue a health alert
  • raise awareness through website and social media channels, and local and international media
  • activate the National Incident Centre (NIC) – our staff and Australian Government employees form a task force to respond through the NIC.

We also support the government’s response to emergency incidents that affect Australians overseas, such as natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

We plan to:

  • lead exercises with the Australian and state and territory governments to test our responses to emergencies, such as pandemics
  • strengthen the national health emergency response plan for all hazards.

Find out more about emergency health management and emergency management plans.

Communicable diseases and surveillance

We work to monitor, prevent and control communicable diseases in Australia. We:

  • conduct disease surveillance to monitor new and emerging communicable diseases here and overseas
  • develop, coordinate and implement policies and programs to address communicable disease risks
  • closely monitor diseases that are of particular concern nationally – for more about these diseases see the list of nationally notifiable diseases.
  • coordinate and share knowledge with international organisations like the World Health Organization.

Find out more about:

Environmental health

We develop policy and provide leadership and advice on the health impacts of environmental hazards and climate change in Australia. We work to protect human health from the impacts of:

  • climate change
  • environmental hazards
  • occupational dust
  • radiation.

We also work to build a sustainable, resilient, high-quality, net-zero health system, by implementing the National Health and Climate Strategy.

We work closely with government and other stakeholders. These include the:

Our work is guided by the One Health approach. This means we recognise the connection between the health of people, the environment and animals.

Find out more about:

Corporate reporting

The interim CDC reports on its activities through the Department of Health and Aged Care’s corporate reporting.

Related information

To carry out our role effectively, we work with and seek input from a range of stakeholders. Find out about our engagement with the Australian community and who we work with.

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