Health

Environmental Health

Environmental Health, as defined by the National Environmental Health Strategy, is "about creating and maintaining environments which promote good health".

Environmental health encompasses a wide range of health areas. It involves preventing and dealing with any potential risk which comes from the physical environment and could prove harmful to the public.

Information on the wide range of environmental health issues dealt with is available in handout material from the Shire's Administration Offices and electronically on this website.

Please contact the Shire's Environmental Health Officer on 08 9168 4100 for further information or assistance.

Accommodation

The Shire inspects public accommodation premises such as lodging houses, hotels, motels, bed and breakfast accommodation, caravan parks and camping grounds regularly.

Premises which provide accommodation are required to be licensed and registered with the local government. These licenses are renewed annually.

Download a Lodging House License Registration or Renewal Application Form

Download a Caravan Park or Camping Ground License Registration or Renewal Application Form

Download a Caravan Park and Camping Grounds Application - Temporary Licence

For further information, contact the Shire's Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100.

Asbestos 

Asbestos cement products were commonly used in buildings during the establishment of Wyndham and Kununurra, and as a result, many installations contain asbestos.

Asbestos fibre release occurs from natural sources, as well as arising from extensive industrial and commercial use in the past. Inhalation of asbestos fibres in sufficient quantities may cause several chronic diseases including asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer or pleural plaque. It is important to note that materials containing asbestos are relatively harmless when left undisturbed as it is bound in a solid cement matrix. It is only when the material is damaged that it may release fibres into the air.

If you are demolishing a structure a demolition permit shall be required, please click here for further information. Should the demolition require the removal of more than 10 square metres of asbestos, a licensed WorkSafe contractor must be used.

People removing and disposing of material containing asbestos must comply with the Health (Asbestos) Regulations 1992 and follow the following key points:

  • use adequate personal protective equipment 
  • wet the area thoroughly
  • do not use power tools
  • dispose of asbestos correctly in approved landfill sites by wrapping it in plastic sheeting and labelling it 'CAUTION ASBESTOS' in letters at least 30cm high

Visit WorkSafe for further information.

Beauty Therapy

Skin penetration

Skin penetration can be defined as a procedure where the skin is cut, torn, punctured, shaved or penetrated in any way. This includes most procedures/treatments carried out by tattoo, body piercing, beauty therapy and acupuncture businesses.

The following Department of Health fact sheets provide more information on skin penetration:

Age Laws

The age limit for getting a tattoo is 18 years of age. The age limit for piercing depends on the part of the body to be pierced:

  • A person must be 18 years or over to get an intimate body piercing (regardless of parental consent).
  • A person must be over 18 years to get any non-intimate body piercing (e.g. belly button) unless parental consent is provided.
  • A person must be over 16 years to get one's ears pierced unless parental consent is provided.

The above age limitations are regulated by the Department of Child Protection.

Beauty Therapy

Only some beauty therapy treatments are regulated by Health Laws, this includes electrolysis, tweezing, waxing, lancing and any other treatment where the skin is cut, torn, punctured, shaved or penetrated in any way. The Department of Health's Skin Penetration: Advice for the Beauty Therapy Industry Environmental Health Guide has more information.

To apply for a beauty therapy business you must have planning approval. Contact the Shires Planning Department for further information. Additionally, you must also complete the Hairdressing and Skin Penetration Premises Notification Form and submit it to the Shire.

Contact the Shire’s Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100 for further information.

Tattooing

Tattooing is a form of skin penetration and premises must comply with the Health (Skin Penetration) Regulations 1998. If you want to conduct tattooing, you must have planning approval. Contact the Shires Planning Department for further information.

You must then complete the Hairdressing and Skin Penetration Premises Notification Form and submit it to the Shire for assessment.

Contact the Shire’s Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100 for further information.

Body and Ear Piercing

Body and ear piercing is a form of skin penetration and premises must comply with the Health (Skin Penetration) Regulations 1998. The Department of Health’s Skin Penetration: The Use of Ear Piercing/Nose Piercing Guns Environmental Health Guide has more information.

If you want to conduct body or ear piercing you must have planning approval. Contact our Planning Department for further information. Additionally, you must also complete the Hairdressing and Skin Penetration Premises Notification Form and submit it to the Shire.

Contact the Shire’s Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100 for further information.

Manicures, pedicures and acrylic nails

The Department of Health's Skin Penetration: Advice for the Beauty Therapy Industry Environmental Health Guide advises that manicures and pedicures are semi-critical skin penetration procedures. The Department of Health’s Methyl Methacrylate (MMA): Use of MMA in Nail Products Environmental Health Guide has more information on the use of MMA.

If you wish to operate as a nail business offering manicures or pedicures you must have planning approval. Contact our Planning Department for further information. Additionally, you must also complete the Hairdressing and Skin Penetration Premises Notification Form and submit it to the Shire.

Contact the Shire’s Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100 for further information.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of skin penetration and premises must comply with the Health (Skin Penetration) Regulations 1998. To apply to conduct acupuncture clinic you must have planning approval. Contact our Planning Department for further information. Additionally, you must also complete the Hairdressing and Skin Penetration Premises Notification Form and submit it to the Shire.

Contact the Shire’s Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100 for further information.

Hairdressing

Hairdressing premises are governed by the Hairdressing Establishments Regulations 1972. Cutthroat razors are permitted to be used only with an interchangeable single-use blade. The Department of Health Skin Penetration: Use of Cut-Throat Razors in the Hairdressing Industry Environmental Health Guide has more information.

If you want to have a hairdressing business, you must have planning approval. Contact our Planning Department for further information. Additionally, you must also complete the Hairdressing and Skin Penetration Premises Notification Form and submit it to the Shire.

Contact the Shire’s Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100 for further information.

Massage

In Western Australia, there are currently no provisions under the Health Act 1911 regulating massage therapy. However, there are still standard precautions massage therapists should take. Please refer to the Department of Health's advice for Skin Penetrarion: Massage Therapy Environmental Health Guide for more information.

If you want to operate as a massage business, you must have planning approval. Contact our Planning Department for further information. Additionally, you must also complete the Hairdressing and Skin Penetration Premises Notification Form and submit it to the Shire.

Contact the Shire’s Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100 for further information.

Effluent

Effluent is wastewater which can include water from residential, commercial or industrial premises. There are specific guidelines which must be followed for disposal of wastewater.

Onsite Effluent Disposal

In many instances, connection to a sewer is not available for wastewater disposal. In these cases, an onsite effluent disposal system is required. These can include septic systems, greywater systems or aerobic treatment units.

These systems must be approved by the Department of Health; specific requirements must be approved before installation (Permit to Construct) and inspected by an Environmental Health Officer before use (Permit to Use).

Click here to download an application form for the onsite disposal of wastewater.

Greywater

Greywater is wastewater from a house or premises not including water from the toilet. Greywater can be reused on gardens or lawns if a permitted greywater system is in place.

It is an offence under the Health (Treatment of Sewage and Disposal of Effluent and Liquid Waste) Regulations 1974 to install a Greywater Reuse System (GRS) without approval and an offence to use the GRS without a permit.

All greywater reuse systems must meet the legislative requirements of the Code of Practice for the Reuse of Greywater in Western Australia 2010.

Contact the Shire's Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100 for further information or visit the Department of Health's Greywater Website Page.

Liquid Waste Transporters

Transporters of liquid waste are required to be licensed with the Local Government authority. 

Contact the Shire's Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100 for further information.

Events & Concerts

here are some public health requirements for concerts and events. These can include things such as the provision of bins, toilets and water.

Further information can be found on here about holding an Event.

Environmental Nuisance and Pollution

Environmental Nuisance and Pollution control involve the investigation and resolution of nuisance and pollution issues.

Property owners are responsible for ensuring that activities that occur on a property do not have a negative impact on neighbouring properties, residences and the environment.

The Health Act 1911 and Environmental Protection Act 1986 empower the Shire to issue notices in instances whereby a nuisance is deemed to be occurring.

The nature of environmental nuisance concerns investigated by the Environmental Health Section includes the following:

  • Air Pollution
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Drainage Nuisance
  • Odour Nuisance
  • Sewerage Nuisance

If you have a concern concerning the above about a neighbouring property or a property within the Shire contact the Shire's Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100.

For further information, please click on the topics below:

Department of Health 

Food

The Shire's Environmental Health Officers routinely inspect all food businesses for compliance with the Food Act 2008, Food Regulations 2009 and Food Safety Standards to ensure hygiene and structural requirements are being maintained. The inspection rate is dependent on the food types sold or produced, risk categorization, previous inspection results and if vulnerable consumer groups are the targeted population.

In order to open a new food business within the Shire, you will need to ensure that you have the correct planning approval for the premises.

All prospective food business operators should make an appointment with a Shire Environmental Health Officer to discuss ideas to ensure the premises comply with all relevant legislation.

All food businesses must notify or register with the Shire by completing the application to register a new food business.

To transfer the registration of food business you must complete an application to register a new food business.

Temporary Food Stalls (for markets or events)

Temporary food stallholders wishing to trade at approved events or at a recognised market within the Shire (including the Kununurra and Wyndham Markets) require approval from our Environmental Health Officers. All stallholders must notify or register with the Shire by completing the Temporary Food Stall Application form, which can be found here.

Licence holders may use their temporary food stall licence to trade at multiple ongoing markets or events, specified within the licence (provided the organisers' consent has been obtained).

The minimum standards for the operation of a food stall provide an example of what a food stall should look like. When submitting an application please provide all relevant documentation such as proof of food safety knowledge and skills, an existing Certificate of Registration with another local council and a certificate of currency (public liability insurance) to avoid the delay in processing your application. Please allow 5 working days to process your application. Late applications will not be accepted.

For information on what will be required in order to operate a food stall please refer to Food Safety Standards.

Residential Food Premises

If you wish to sell food that you have prepared at home, then you must ensure you have obtained Home Occupation or Home Based Business planning approval first. Contact the Shire's Planning Services Department on 9168 4100.

For further information on what is required for residential food business to be suitable to prepare low-risk foods contact the Shire's Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100 for further information or download an application form here.

Food Preparation in Residential Premises Guide 

Food Premises and Product Complaints

Should you find a food business within the Shire that has unacceptable hygiene or maintenance standards, contact the Shire's Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100.

If you have found a foreign object in a food product, retain the portion of product and packaging and contact the Shire's Environmental Health Department on (08) 9168 4100.

Suspected Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is caused by eating food or drink that is contaminated with food poisoning organisms including certain types of bacteria, parasites, viruses or toxins.

Symptoms of poisoning may include some or all of the following:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pains or cramps
  • Vomiting

If you suspect you may have food poisoning you should consult your doctor immediately, especially if you have severe symptoms, and request analysis of stool specimens as this may help in investigating the cause of your illness. You should also report your illness to the Shire in writing, including as much information as possible.

For further information on food poisoning visit the Department of Health's Food Poisoning Fact Sheet.

Food Labelling

Food products are required to be labelled in accordance with the Food Standards Code. For more information regarding food labelling Food Standards Australia and New Zealand or download our Guide. 

Food Safety Training

The Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley is pleased to provide local food businesses and community groups with FREE and unlimited access to an exciting online tool – I'm Alert Food Safety Training Program.

The program will assist food handlers in gaining valuable skills and knowledge in food safety and hygiene. This will help to ensure that only safe and suitable food is produced at food businesses within the Shire.

The I'm Alert Food Safety Training Program is presented in an interactive, easy to follow the at and includes the ability for the user to print off an acknowledgement form and a certificate upon completion of the program that can be kept as a part of your staff records and used to demonstrate compliance with legislative requirements.

This training program will assist food business managers in ensuring all staff are trained in this important area and thereby reducing the potential risk of foodborne illness resulting from poor food handling practices.

It is recommended that all food handlers within each food business take part in this training. This is a great opportunity for businesses to provide all staff with free training.

Click here to start your training! 

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are prevalent in most parts of the world, the East Kimberley is not an exemption. The East Kimberley provides a perfect environment for mosquito breeding, particularly with the high rainfall and increased temperatures experienced during the wet season. These insects can be the carriers of diseases which have adverse effects on human life.

Mosquito Management

The Shire undertakes mosquito management activities in accordance with the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley Mosquito Management Plan (MMP), which was adopted by Council in August 2016.

The MMP has been developed in consultation with the WA Department of Health Medical Entomology team. In September 2015 a review of the Shire's mosquito management activities was conducted by a Medical Entomologist from the Northern Territory. The recommendations from this review were also incorporated into the MMP. A copy of this report is available here

The Shire currently takes the following actions to address the risk of mosquito borne illness:

  • Participation in the Sentinel Chicken program
  • Monitoring of adult mosquito populations
  • Monitoring mosquito-borne infectious disease notifications
  • Monitoring mosquito breeding sites and application of larvicide where necessary
  • Application of residual adulticide to public areas

Spraying of adulticide (fogging) may also be used when disease risk is high.  This decision is made in consultation with the Department of Health Medical Entomology team.

If you are experiencing problems with mosquitoes at your home or workplace and wish to have an officer investigate please complete a Mosquito Nuisance Complaint Form. If you have any questions or require further information about mosquito management, please contact an Environmental Health Officer on 9168 4100.

Fight the Bite

Residents of the Kimberley region are being encouraged to 'Fight the Bite' as part of a 'Healthy WA' campaign to reduce the mosquito population and the incidence of mosquito-borne disease. The Fight the Bite campaign (Healthy WA) is aimed at reducing mosquito-borne diseases that afflict individuals, communities and the healthcare system.

The three central messages are to:

  • cover up
  • repel (use repellent)
  • clean up areas around the home where mosquitoes can breed.

Other precautions that can be taken to avoid mosquito bites are:

  • Avoiding outdoor exposure from dusk and at night in all areas of high mosquito activity;
  • Ensuring insect screens are installed and completely mosquito-proof: use mosquito nets and mosquito-proof tents.
  • Ensuring infants and children are adequately protected against mosquito bites, preferably with suitable clothing, bed nets or other forms of insect screening.

Refer to the Department of Health information sheet 'Mosquitoes in Your Backyard' for some ways to keep your property free of mosquito breeding areas.

Mosquito-Borne Diseases

The most common mosquito-borne diseases in WA are Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus, which can lead to tiredness, severe joint swelling and pain that can continue for weeks, months or even years. Other less common diseases which are present in the Kimberley include Murray Valley encephalitis virus and West Nile virus (Kunjin subtype).

Other mosquito-borne diseases include the Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses. These viruses are transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. WA does not have local populations of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and there is currently no risk of local transmission for these exotic mosquito-borne diseases in WA.

These diseases are typically present in tropical countries and any WA travellers to these regions should take personal protective measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Travellers should seek medical advice or consult smarttraveller.gov.au before travelling to high-risk countries.

Further information on protecting yourself from mosquito-borne disease while travelling can be found at the Healthy WA website.

Sentinel Chicken Program

The University of Western Australia runs a sentinel chicken program which is carried out by local governments. The program works as an early indicator of mosquito-borne disease activity in the area. Blood samples are taken from a flock of chickens in Wyndham and Kununurra every month in the dry season and every fortnight in the wet season.

The samples are analysed for both West Nile virus (Kunjin subtype) and Murray Valley Encephalitis. The detection of either of these viruses indicates prevalence of the disease in the area and gives a 'heads up' to the public so extra precautions can be taken to minimise the of the disease.

Noise 

Noise is not only annoying but can cause stress which ultimately impacts on health. Noise is regulated by theEnvironmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 which specifies allowable levels of different types of noise. Various types of noise are regulated by different bodies.

To download a Noise complaint form click here. Alternatively you can contact the Environmental Health Officer at the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley on (08) 9168 4100.

Noise Monitoring

In some cases, the monitoring of noise levels may be necessary. The Shire is able to conduct noise monitoring if necessary.

Poultry & other Animals

Roosters

Under Section 5.4.4 (1) (a) of the Health Local Laws 2003, n occupier of premises located within a townsite cannot keep a rooster without the ten approval of the Council.

Roosters can be a nuisance to neighbours and are a source of complaint about the Shire. Residents can report a noisy rooster by completing a Noise Complaint Form.

If you would like further information about keeping roosters, poultry or large animals within the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley please refer to our Local Laws.

To obtain information on dogs & cats see Pets and Animals, or for other animals please click here.

Public Buildings 

A public building is any building or part of a building where people assemble. Public buildings also include tents, enclosures, platforms and in the case of some events can temporarily include outdoor areas such as ovals.

Public buildings are inspected for public safety by the Shire. It is important for public buildings to have correct exit doors or areas and lighting so that public safety is ensured in the case of an emergency.

Public buildings need to be registered with the Shire, download a Public Building Application

Smoking in enclosed public places 

Smoking in enclosed public places is not permitted in Western Australia. An enclosed public place includes any area, whether temporary or permanent, which has a ceiling or roof and walls, sides or other vertical coverings.

For more information on smoking in enclosed public places, refer to the Department of Health website

Trading

For the trading of goods other than food, a traders license from the Shire is required.

Click here to download a Traders License Application Form

Water Quality

Australians have come to expect and take for granted the provision of safe water. Water is essential for life and commercial and public premises should be able to guarantee that the water they provide is safe for drinking.

Water quality not only applies to drinking water but also to recreational water. Contact with contaminated recreational water can still make a person sick. For this reason, guidelines for bacterial and chemical levels are set for not only drinking water but also recreational water bodies.

Drinking-Water

Safe drinking water is essential to good health. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) provide a framework for good management of drinking water supplies.

Within the towns of Kununurra and Wyndham water is provided by the Water Corporation who conduct regular testing to ensure the quality of water is maintained. Any enquiries regarding the quality of the reticulated water supply should be directed to the Water Corporation.

Properties which are located outside of town sites must provide their own water for drinking washing and gardening. Many rural properties rely on groundwater from a bore, while some take surface water. These activities may require a licence from the Department of Water. Water taken from rivers or bores can be exposed to many sources of contamination and if it is to be used for drinking, washing or food preparation should be treated and tested regularly to determine if it is safe for these uses.

More information on drinking water quality management can be found on the Department of Health website.

Public Swimming Pools

If not adequately disinfected swimming pool water can contain microorganisms which can make swimmers sick. Swimming pool operators are required to check the water quality of their pools regularly to ensure the water quality is maintained. The Shire takes samples from public pools every month to confirm the microbiological quality of the water is being adequately maintained.

If you use a public swimming pool you can help to protect the quality of the water by ensuring you and any children with you do not enter the water if you have suffered from diarrhoea or gastroenteritis in the last 14 days. Babies and children who ordinarily wear nappies must wear an aqua-nappy when in the water.

 

Natural Water Bodies

Natural water bodies such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs and waterholes can be polluted and unsafe to swim in. Most natural water bodies in the Shire are not monitored for water quality and should be entered with caution. You can reduce your exposure to unsafe water by ensuring you and your children do not:

  • Swim in water that looks discoloured, murky or smells unpleasant.

  • Swallow water or put your head underwater if you are unsure of the quality.

  • Swim if you have an open wound or infection.

  • Swim in warm, slow-moving, stagnant water.

Many water bodies within the Shire are home to saltwater and/or freshwater crocodiles. Be cautious near any natural water body and take note of any warning signs. 

Amoebic meningitis

Amoebic meningitis is a very rare, but usually fatal condition, caused by the amoebae Naegleria fowleri.  This is a naturally occurring organism and can be present in any natural freshwater body. The amoebae are destroyed by chlorine and cannot survive in adequately disinfected swimming pools. Amoebae are most active in water above 28ºC and are a particular risk during the wet season months when temperatures increase.

You can only get amoebic meningitis if water containing the active amoebae goes up the nose. You cannot catch it from another person or by drinking contaminated water. Children are the most susceptible.

Amoebic meningitis is very rare; there have only been three recorded cases in WA and none since 1985. However, it is usually fatal so prevention is vital. To prevent infection:

  • Do not jump or dive into natural bodies of fresh water, particularly when the water temperature is high.

  • Make sure private swimming pools are adequately disinfected.

  • Do not let children play with hoses and sprinklers, particularly if the water is from an unmonitored source (eg. private bore).

  • Keep wading pools clean by emptying, scrubbing and allowing them to dry in the sun after each use.

For more information about amoebic meningitis visit the Healthy WA website.

For more information on water quality, please contact the Shire's Environmental Health Officer on (08) 9168 4100


Complaints

The Shire requires complaints to be received in writing for action to be taken.

Legislation

Environmental health is governed largely by state legislation and can be viewed on the State Law Publisher link to SLP website. Some areas of environmental health also operate under the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley Local Laws.

Useful Links

Legal Aid Western Australia

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

Department of Health Western Australia

Department of Environment and Conservation

Population Health— Department of Health Western Australia

State Law Publisher

Water Corporation

World Health Organisation

Department of Racing Gaming and Liquor

Environmental Health Toolbox –Gold Coast City Council

For further information about any health matters please contact Shire's Environmental Health Officer on (08) 9168 4100 or email at mail@swek.wa.gov.au