Food safety and public hygiene officers in decline in Australia too
Posted: January 31st, 2012 - 1:18pm
Public health is often on the front-line of budgetary restrictions.
And there’s indifference.
Same in Australia.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that students seeking to work for local government as environmental health officers to monitor public health laws such as food safety, water contamination and hygienic practices, are in decline, according to Curtin University.
The trouble has been competition with the mining sector, according to a university spokeswoman (the money sector, in Australia).
Environmental Health Australia's state president Vic Andrich acknowledged the decline, saying local government as the prime employer of environmental health graduates had not provided competitive salary packages and promoted careers in environmental health.
He said the lack of action by the Department of Health in maintaining local government EHO numbers was questioned by the Auditor General in 2004 in the Food Safety Report, and raised again at the EHA WorkForce Summit 2007.
Mr Andrich however argued that any removal of Western Australia's only fully accredited environmental health degree course will further compound the shortage of degree qualified EHOs to safeguard public health in WA.
The university has been reviewing the need to run the environmental health major in its bachelor of science (health, safety, and environment) course, as well as the health and safety major.
"At this stage Curtin University can confirm that there is no final decision to cancel this major," the spokeswoman said.
"The university is currently investigating the feasibility to review the content of the two majors to develop a single degree that may meet the standards of the professional bodies.
The university has also not accepted any new enrolments for the master of environmental health and postgraduate diploma in environmental health this year.