Health impact assessment in Australia

Ben Harris-Roxas, Patrick Harris, Marilyn Wise, Fiona Haigh, Harrison Ng Chok and Elizabeth Harris

in Health Impact Assessment

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199656011
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191748028 | DOI:
Health impact assessment in Australia

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Australia is a federation comprised of six states, two territories and a federal government. There is legislation in all of these jurisdictions requiring Environmental Impact Assessment of major developments but no equivalent nationally consistent legislation requiring HIA, and no systematic framework or triggers for undertaking HIA. The purpose of and process for undertaking Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in Australia has been a contested area since the National Health and Medical Research Council released the first National Framework for Environmental and Health Impact Assessment in 1994. There has been concern that there is no evidence of the effectiveness of HIA, dispute over the scope of health issues to be considered and the robustness of evidence. There was also concern that taking a broad view of health might lead to calls for changes in society. Major reviews of HIA have consistently called for Health considerations to be built into EIA but recent studies suggest that while there is some consideration of traditional health risks in air, soil and water there is very limited consideration of a broader view of health and its determinants. While progress in formally adopting HIA has been slow and largely opportunistic consistent progress has been made in building capacity to undertake and provide technical support for HIA.

Keywords: health impact assessment; Australia; history; capacity building; impact assessment

Chapter.  4366 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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