Health Protection and Licensing Services

What we do in Health Protection and Licensing Services

The work of SA Health’s Health Protection and Licensing Services is targeted at protecting and promoting public health and wellbeing and touches the lives of all South Australians every day. We make an important contribution to the conditions and environments that keep people safe and healthy, enhance quality of life, and significantly reduce the need for treatment and the anguish caused by illness and injury. Importantly, in protecting and promoting public health and wellbeing, we also contribute to the economic wellbeing of South Australia.

We achieve this through developing and administering public health legislation on behalf of the Minister for Health and Wellbeing and the Department for Health and Wellbeing. We provide authoritative high-level advice on public health issues and work in partnership with Local Government, other government agencies, business, non-government organisations and the community to protect the health of South Australians.

Who we are

Health Protection and Licensing Services is comprised of the following:

  • Office of Health Protection and Licensing Services
  • Private Health Licensing Unit
  • Scientific Services Branch
  • Health Protection Branch
  • Food and Controlled Drugs Branch

Office of Health Protection and Licensing Services

The Office of Health Protection and Licensing Services provides executive leadership and management of health protection and licensing functions across the state, high level cross service expertise and operational stewardship.

Health Licensing Unit

The Health Licensing Unit performs the regulatory oversight and licensing of private hospital and private day procedure centre premises, as well as private ambulance services. This includes:

  • Providing advice on when a licence is required under Part 6, 10 and 10A of the Health Care Act 2008 and Health Care Regulations.
  • Assessment of proposed construction, alteration or extension of private hospital and private day procedure centre premises against the Australasian Health Facility guidelines.
  • Inspection of licensed private hospital and private day procedure centre premises to confirm compliance with relevant guidelines and standards including infection control and sterilisation services.
  • Inspection to confirm private ambulance operators are using medical equipment and trained staff for non-emergency ambulance care.
  • Inspection of unlicensed premises providing prescribed health services, in breach of Part 10 or Part 10A Health Care Act 2008.
  • Inspection of unlicensed operators who are providing ambulance services without a licence under Part 6 of the Health Care Act 2008.
  • Providing expertise to stakeholders including industry and intergovernment, and participation in interjurisdictional forums.

Scientific Services Branch

The Scientific Services Branch protects and enhances public health by minimising potential environmental health risk factors arising in homes and the environment, in particular from air, water, soil and hazardous substances. It provides scientific based health risk assessments and analysis of data in order to provide regulatory direction and medical, scientific and technical advice on a wide variety of exposure scenarios by:

  • approving, monitoring and enforcing compliance of the Safe Drinking Water Act 2011
  • managing water quality incidents
  • issuing licences, authorities and permits and undertaking inspections and enforcing the Controlled Substances Act 1984
  • supporting, advising and working with other jurisdictions and the public for the safe use and management, and consistent regulation of chemicals
  • undertaking health risk assessments in order to inform state and private managers and the public on best practices to reduce exposure to various environmental hazards including water borne hazards, air pollution and chemicals
  • provides strategic and scientific sound evidence base advice and direction for dealing with lead exposure in Port Pirie and for the general public.

Health Protection Branch

Health Protection Branch identifies, investigates and manages environmental factors that impact on public health.

  • develops public health policy, legislation, advice and programs for the management of environmentally mediated infectious disease and coordinates outbreak investigations and responses to these diseases
  • supports the implementation and administration of the South Australian Public Health Act 2011 and regulations by State and Local Government
  • undertakes public health planning and direct service delivery across the Out-of-Council Areas of South Australia (remote), including Unincorporated Areas and Aboriginal Communities
  • is responsible for state-wide enforcement of measures to control the supply and consumption of tobacco and e-cigarette products
  • provides direct service delivery and coordination of Aboriginal Environmental Health programs
  • develops and administers wastewater related legislation and technical guidance for infrastructure, recycling and onsite systems.

Food and Controlled Drugs Branch

SA Health recognises that a safe food supply and access to appropriate treatment with drugs of dependence are major contributing factors to the health of South Australians.

The Food and Controlled Drugs Branch work together with other state and national government agencies, and local councils to ensure:

  • that food for sale in SA is safe and suitable;
  • consistency and integration of the bi-national food regulation system with New Zealand; and
  • that potential harms (dependence, misuse and diversion) associated with the legitimate use of drugs of dependence are minimised.

The Branch undertakes work to protect the public from preventable health risks by administering the Food Act 2001 and associated regulations, the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and the Controlled Substances Act 1984. The Branch:

  • monitors and enforces compliance with the Food Act 2001 (SA), the Food Regulations 2017 (SA) and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA), the Controlled Substances (Poisons) Regulations 2011 (SA) and the Code of Practice for Storage and Transport of Drugs of Dependence
  • engages in food surveys and sampling and opioid pharmacotherapy trend data collection to inform national and state policies.
  • supports, advises and works with local government on consistency and workforce development
  • develops and implements national and state food and controlled drug policy and law
  • educates regulators, food businesses, consumers, students and other interested parties about food safety, labelling and food standards
  • educates and provides advice to health practitioners, consumers, students and the public about the legislative obligations for prescription, dispensing, supply, administration, storage and transport of drugs of dependence
  • investigates food poisoning and other food safety incidents and taking corrective action (such as food recalls) to protect the safety of the food supply
  • monitors and investigates allegations of non-compliance with legislation relating to the prescription, supply and use of drugs of dependence
  • administers and maintains the registers of persons:
    • prohibited from prescribing, administering or supplying drugs, and
    • known or suspected to be drug seeking, fraudulently obtaining drugs, or forging prescriptions
  • coordinates the South Australian government’s position regarding the regulation of genetically modified organisms and genetically modified food
  • approves and verifies food safety auditors
  • conducts food safety audits of public hospitals, not for profit delivered meals organisations and other government agencies.


General enquiries

SA Health
PO Box 287 Rundle Mall Adelaide SA 5000

Phone: (08) 8226 7100
Fax: (08) 8226 7102

Office of Health Protection and Licensing Services

Phone: (08) 8226 7100

Health Licensing Unit

Phone: (08) 8226 7100

Scientific Services Branch

Phone: (08) 8226 7100

Controlled Substances Licencing

Phone: (08) 8226 7100
Fax: (08) 8226 6681

Drinking Water

Phone: (08) 8226 7100
Incident Hotline: 1300 558 657

Health Protection Branch

Phone: (08) 8226 7100

Health Protection Programs

Policy and advice email

Health Protection Operations

Out-of-Council areas & tobacco compliance email


Phone: (08) 8226 7100

Food and Controlled Drugs Branch

Phone: (08) 8226 7100