Reporting required under any other Act or Regulation (DHW Annual Report 2018 - 19)

Office for the Ageing Act 1995

11 – Annual Report

  1. The Director must on, or before
    31 October in each year, report to the Minister on the operations of the Office for Ageing Well during the preceding financial year.
  2. The Minister must, within 6 sitting days after receiving a report from the Director, have copies of the report laid before both Houses of Parliament.

Office for Ageing Well

The Office for Ageing Well (formerly Office for the Ageing), established under the Office for the Ageing Act 1995, is located in the Department for Health and Wellbeing. Under the Act, the Office for Ageing Well objectives include:

  • supporting South Australians of all ages to age well, unencumbered by stigma and discrimination
  • achieving proper integration of ageing persons within the community thus ensuring that the skills and experience of the ageing are not lost to the community through social alienation
  • creating social structures in which ageing persons are able to realise their full potential as individuals and as members of the community
  • creating a social ethos in which ageing persons are accorded the dignity, appreciation and respect that properly belong to them
  • ensuring that the multicultural nature of the community is reflected in the planning and implementation of programs and services relevant to ageing persons
  • achieving a proper understanding within the community of the problems affecting ageing persons and other vulnerable adults and ameliorating those problems so far as it is practicable to do so by modification of social structures and attitudes.

To achieve its objectives, the Office for Ageing Well listens to the voices of older South Australians as it leads the development of policies and delivers programs and projects in partnership with a range of stakeholders, in line with the priorities of the State government’s ageing well agenda, through:

  • Adult Safeguarding Unit
  • State Ageing Policy
  • Aged Care Strategy Unit
  • Seniors Card Program
  • Retirement Villages Unit
  • Community Grants.

Following its passage through Parliament, in November 2019 the Office for the Ageing (Adult Safeguarding) Amendment Act 2018 (Amendment Act) was assented to, delivering on the government’s election commitment to protect the rights of adults vulnerable to abuse and support South Australians to age well.

On 1 February 2019, amendments to the Office for the Ageing Act 1995 were proclaimed under the Office for the Ageing (Adult Safeguarding) Amendment Act (Commencement) Proclamation 2019, enabling the change of its name to Office for Ageing Well, to better reflect the focus of its work. During 2018-19, the Office for Ageing Well expanded its existing support function for adult safeguarding through the work of the new Adult Safeguarding Unit (ASU), which will commence operations in October 2019.

Adult Safeguarding Unit

Following the assent of the Amendment Act in November 2018, a substantial body of work commenced to establish the ASU, including recruitment of staff.

The Office for Ageing Well engaged with key stakeholders and a broad range of community members, including older people, people with disability and mental illness, and their families, to provide input into the development of the draft Ageing and Adult Safeguarding Regulations 2019, Code of Practice and Charter of the Rights and Freedoms of Vulnerable Adults.

On 1 January 2019, operation of the SA Elder Abuse Prevention Phone Line service (Phone Line), which was previously managed by the Aged Rights Advocacy Service with funding from the Office for Ageing Well, transitioned to the Office for Ageing Well. The Phone Line commenced in 2015 and currently operates as an advice and referral service. Since its commencement, the Phone Line has taken more than 1300 calls. Between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019, the Phone Line has received 565 calls.

Data from the Phone Line consistently indicates that the most frequent callers are older people seeking support in relation to their personal experience of abuse. The most common types of abuse are financial or emotional, and adult sons and daughters of older people are most often reported as the alleged abuser.

The adult safeguarding provisions of the Amendment Act and the Ageing and Adult Safeguarding Regulations 2019 were proclaimed and gazetted on 20 June 2019, and will come into effect on 1 October 2019. The Office for the Ageing Act 1995 will be then be known as the Ageing and Adult Safeguarding Act 1995.

Once the ASU commences in October 2019 under the Ageing and Adult Safeguarding Act 1995, the ASU will have a focus on prevention and early intervention and will be responsible for responding to reports of abuse of older adults who are vulnerable in SA, in line with the Charter of the Rights and Freedoms of Vulnerable Adults. The Phone Line service will be the portal to the ASU.

State Ageing Policy

To meet the three priorities of the State Ageing Plan, in 2018-19 Office for Ageing Well delivered 15 ageing strategic projects in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders from government, non-government and community organisations, including:

  • Partnering with Think Human to deliver the Peer Facilitated Mindset for Life program. This project will give older people from a range of backgrounds and locations the opportunity and tools to navigate their retirement transition to create a positive and rewarding next phase of life
  • Piloting the Age Friendly Services Resources and Training project with State government organisations to ensure customer service is provided to older people that is age friendly, respects their rights and includes them in service design
  • Providing Age Friendly SA grant funding to local governments to kick-start innovative projects that contribute to an age friendly SA through an open tender process
  • Supporting older people to develop skills and confidence to connect, participate and interact safely in the digital world through a partnership with Telstra, Public Libraries and Service SA.

The annual Stop Elder Abuse public awareness campaign was held between
20 May and 22 June 2019. This year’s campaign focussed on the general community as well as hairdressers and beauticians, who are often best placed to recognise signs of abuse of older clients. As in previous years, calls to the Phone Line service increased during and following the campaign period.

The Statewide Conversations with Older South Australians 2018 project engaged 1,500 older South Australians from diverse backgrounds to find out what matters most to them to age well. The key themes for ageing well included navigating change, no place like home and meaningful connections. This was underpinned by two broader themes of respecting diversity and challenging ageism. Building on this work, the Office for Ageing Well, in partnership with the Australian Centre for Social Innovation, conducted the Statewide Conversations with Stakeholders 2019 Project. These findings will be used to inform the actions, collaborations and partnerships of the next State Plan for Ageing Well in SA 2020-2024.

Aged Care Strategy Unit

Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACATs) in SA comprehensively assess the needs of frail older people to provide access to Commonwealth funded aged care services

SA was one of the highest performing jurisdictions in 2018-19, actioning 23,063 referrals and 16,119 completed assessments, an 8.5 percent increase from 14,854 in 2017-18. SA maintained timely performance in the completion of assessments across all settings, with the median days from referral to assessment currently at six days, compared to 11 days nationally. Ninety-five percent of assessments were completed within 29 days compared to 61 days nationally.

Seniors Card Program

The Seniors Card Program supports social and economic participation of older people and their connectedness to the community. It contributes to making SA an affordable place to live by increasing access to free public transport, providing important information about community news, events and services. It also delivers discounts and benefits from participating businesses.

In 2018-19, the total number of Seniors Card members increased to 390,000 and subscriptions to WeekendPlus, the fortnightly digital seniors’ magazine, increased by 10 percent to 75,000. The number of 2019 Seniors Card business partners increased by 5.2 percent to 767. Of these, 47 percent were based in regional areas of the state and 53 percent were based in metropolitan Adelaide.

Community Grants Program

The SA government, through the Office for Ageing Well, provides $600,000 in ageing community grants to support community organisations and local government projects. These grants support South Australians to age well and promote opportunities for older South Australians to be involved and active in their communities.

In 2018-19, the Office for Ageing Well ran the Grants for Seniors, Positive Ageing Fellowship Grants (PAFG) and Age Friendly SA Grants rounds concurrently through an open tender process, providing grant funding totalling $600,000 to support regional and metropolitan projects and activities including:

  • Grants for Seniors supported 35 projects at a total cost of $149,945
  • PAFG supported six projects, totalling $199,200
  • A targeted grant of $50,000 was provided to the Australian Centre for Social Innovation to deliver ongoing coaching, mentoring and support to PAFG recipients over the 12-month funding period to support sustainability
  • Age Friendly SA grant funding supported eight projects at a total cost of $200,000.

Outcomes achieved during the 2018-19 financial year include:

  • purchase of equipment
  • delivery of cultural, educational and sporting activities and programs
  • initiatives to tackle ageing stereotypes and support positive perceptions of ageing
  • initiatives that support participation, learning and independence
  • kick-starting age friendly innovation projects to support opportunities for older people to connect to local places and community activities.

Retirement Villages Act 2016

11 Annual Report

  1. The Registrar must, on or before 30 September in each year, provide a report to the Minister on the administration of this Act during the preceding financial year.
  2. The Minister must, within 12 sitting days after receiving a report under this section, have copies laid before both Houses of Parliament

Retirement Villages Unit

The Retirement Villages Unit (the Unit) within the Office for Ageing Well provides information, assistance and education sessions on retirement village matters. It clarifies areas of concern, as well as providing a mediation service to help resolve disputes between residents and operators. The Unit investigates and assesses complaints and allegations of breaches of the Act and Regulations, underpinned by support and education rather than adversarial approaches to enforcement.

In 2018-19, legislative requirements under the Act were managed by the Unit, including one ASO7 Chief Retirement Villages Officer, two ASO5 Senior Retirement Villages Officers and an ASO4 Retirement Villages Officer. The Unit:

  • responded to 789 cases relating to retirement village issues
  • conducted 54 meetings related to resident cases
  • delivered 11 presentations and information sessions to residents and interested groups
  • delivered monthly retirement village information sessions at the Catalyst Foundation
  • undertook six mediations
  • provided advice and recommendations to the Minister.

In 2018-19, one village operator was convicted and fined for offences relating to failing to call an annual meeting of residents and failing to provide residents with audited financial statements. The operator is no longer employed in the retirement village industry.

As at 30 June 2019, 521 retirement villages were registered across the state. Information about registered retirement villages in SA is available on Data SA.

There were two new villages registered in the past year and two small villages were voluntarily terminated. Nine individually registered villages were removed from the register as a result of an audit. It was determined that these sites were incorrectly registered and the records were adjusted to reflect the four consolidated villages. It is a requirement for all retirement village schemes under the Act to be registered within 28 days of the first resident taking up occupation.

DHW Growth of retirement villages

Voluntary termination of a village can only occur with Ministerial approval. Villages terminated during the year were identified as no longer being used for the purposes of a retirement village scheme and there were no outstanding funds owing to past residents.

There were 18,606 residences in retirement villages in SA. Calculations based on past census data showed that 60 percent of all residences (11,164) housed one person only, while the remaining 40 percent (7,442) of residences had dual occupancy. It could be estimated that the number of people living in retirement villages totalled approximately 26,048.

The vast majority of retirement villages offered independent living units (ILU) only. There is only a small section of the sector that provides serviced apartment accommodation, which caters to residents requiring assistance, including provision of meals, some cleaning and the availability of extra services.

There were 181 villages with exemptions under the Retirement Villages Act 1987 which have continued under the associated provisions of the Retirement Villages Act 2016:

  • 4 x S18: With client consent, no need to hold premium in trust (1987 Act)
  • 12 x S26(1): Ingoing contribution does not have to be held in trust, max deposit $10,000 (2016 Act)
  • 44 x S22(c), S33(6), S34(8), S39, S40(4): Can have consolidated meetings and financial reports for resident funded and independent living resident groups (2016 Act)
  • 101 x S22 & S23: Can have consolidated meetings, financial reports & interim financial reports (1987 Act)
  • 20 x S31(3): Operator exempted from assuming responsibility for depreciation (2016 Act).

Retirement Villages Advocacy Program

The Office for Ageing Well has funded the Aged Rights Advocacy Service (ARAS) to provide an advocacy service to residents since 2014. The Retirement Villages Advocacy Program (the Program) is a valuable resource to residents of retirement villages, providing advocacy support, information and advice on their rights.

The predominant contact with the Program is by telephone, with 74 percent of calls from metropolitan areas and the remaining 16 percent from rural areas.

In 2018-19, ARAS received 171 new requests for assistance. This included 113 cases relating to advocacy assistance and 58 requests for general information about rights and advocacy services. Advocates assisted with one SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing and supported residents in two mediation sessions.

ARAS delivered 12 specific information sessions within retirement villages for residents and staff of the village, and incorporated information about the Program generally in over 400 information sessions.

Food Act 2001

Part 9 — Administration

Division 2 – Functions of enforcement agencies

S 93 - Reports by enforcement agencies

  1. The head of an enforcement agency (other than the relevant authority) is to report to the relevant authority, at such intervals as the relevant authority requires, on the performance of functions under this Act by persons employed or engaged by the agency.

Division 4 – Agreement and consultation with local government sector on administration and enforcement of Act

S 96 – Agreement and consultation with local government sector

  1. The Minister must take reasonable steps to consult with the Local Government Association (LGA) from time to time in relation to the administration and enforcement of this Act.
  2. If the Minister and the LGA enter into an agreement with respect to the exercise of functions under this Act by councils, then the Minister must prepare a report on the matter and cause copies of the report to be laid before both Houses of Parliament.
  3. A report under subsection (2) must be accompanied by a copy of any relevant written agreement between the Minister and the LGA.
  4. The Minister must consult with the LGA before a regulation that confers any function on councils is made under this Act.
  5. The annual report of the Minister under this Act must include a specific report on —
    1. the outcome of any consultation undertaken under subsection (1) or (4); and
    2. the operation of any agreement referred to in subsection (2).

Part 11 - Miscellaneous

S 109 - Annual report

  1. The Minister must, on or before 30 September in each year, prepare a report on the operation of this Act for the financial year ending on the preceding 30 June.
  2. The Minister must, within six sitting days after completing a report under this section, cause copies of the report to be laid before both Houses of Parliament.

The objectives of the Food Act 2001 (the Act) are defined in Section 3 of the Act as:

  • Ensuring that food for sale is safe and suitable for human consumption.
  • Preventing misleading conduct in connection with the sale of food.

Providing for the application of the Food Standards Code. The Act closely follows the content and structure of national model food provisions, which provide for the consistent administration and enforcement of food legislation in Australia. This uniform approach to national food legislation was formalised by the Inter-Governmental Food Regulation Agreement 2002. Under the Agreement all states and territories have adopted the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) through their Food Acts. While the Act contains important legal and administrative issues, such as defining offences and penalties, the Code details the specific requirements with which food businesses must comply.

1. Activities of the health protection operations branch

Health Protection Operations administers the regulatory functions of the Food Act 2001 in the ‘Out-of-Council Areas’ within SA (‘unincorporated’ and Aboriginal Lands not serviced by a local council). These areas make up approximately 85 percent of the geographical area of SA and are typically very remote and often isolated, making staff safety a paramount element of all regulatory operations.

Health Protection Operations staff authorised under the Food Act 2001 are qualified Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) with extensive regulatory experience in rural, remote and Aboriginal communities. Food safety functions undertaken by Health Protection Operations include:

  • Monitoring and enforcement of compliance with Food Safety Standards and of the safety and suitability of food
  • Routine and follow-up inspections of food businesses to ensure that the premises, equipment and food handling practices will result in the supply and sale of safe and suitable food
  • Food safety audits of businesses providing food to vulnerable populations
  • Responding to complaints in relation to food businesses and investigating food poisoning and disease outbreaks
  • Monitoring and taking action to ensure efficiency with which food is recalled for health and safety, and/or is removed from sale
  • Receiving food business notifications for new businesses or change to business details
  • Provision of food safety advice and delivery of educational programs and resources to food businesses, schools and communities.

The vast distances and extreme weather conditions associated with outback SA provide a challenging environment for both food business operators and regulators alike. Effective and thorough operational procedures and protocols ensure that risks associated with such an environment are well-managed and appropriate food safety and compliance standards are maintained.

Statistics about food businesses, staff and surveillance activities are provided below:

Table 1: Authorised officers

Authorised officers
Environmental health qualifications Full-time
6 6

Table 2: Food business and surveillance activity

Food business and surveillance activity
Area of operation ~ 837,000 km²(≈ 85% of geographic area of the State)
Number of businesses 118
Routine inspections conducted 135
Follow-up inspections conducted 9
Food Safety Audits conducted 6
Complaint inspections conducted 2

Table 3: Enforcement actions

Enforcement actions
Business type Prohibition order Improvement notices Expiations
Roadhouse/service station 0 2 2
Total 0 2 2

2. Activities of the Food and Controlled Drugs Branch

Monitoring Compliance with the Food Act 2001

The Food and Controlled Drugs Branch (FCDB) conduct sampling of various foods that are of public health concern, or to confirm compliance with the compositional and labelling requirements of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Food Standard Code (the Code). A key performance indicator has been established to analyse 800 food samples per year. For 2018-19, a total of 804 food samples were collected as part of food incident investigations.

Investigation of food safety issues 2018-19

Food safety related issues come to the attention of FCDB from a variety of sources including routine food surveys, complaints from members of the public, reports from the food industry itself, EHOs in local government, other regulatory agencies, or notification of illness from the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB). During the year 2018-19, a number of significant issues were investigated and are summarised below.

The FCDB collaborated with local councils on a total of 11 foodborne illness investigations after notification from CDCB. Details of some of the major outbreaks can be found in Appendix 2 (PDF 133KB).

Investigations included onsite assessment of food handling practices in food businesses, sampling of food and environmental swabbing. The primary objective of these investigations is to remove any risk to public health, establish the cause of the outbreak, and ensure food businesses implement short-term and long-term corrective action, and to determine if an offence has been committed against the Act.

Post investigation review

FCDB regularly conducts post-incident debriefs to review the effectiveness of policies and procedures applied during incident investigation.

Food recalls

Food recalls conducted by all food businesses are nationally coordinated by FSANZ. The food business undertaking a recall is responsible for ensuring that the recall is carried out as soon as an issue is identified. Standard 3.2.2 requires a food business that engages in the wholesale supply, manufacture or importation of food, to have a system in place to ensure the recall of unsafe food. There are two levels of recall, a trade level and a consumer level recall. A trade level recall is conducted when the food has not been available for direct purchase by the public, such as food sold to wholesalers and caterers. A consumer level recall is conducted when the food has been available for retail sale. This usually includes advertisements in newspapers or on social media platforms to inform consumers of the recall. The department informs local councils state-wide of the recall and requests that they check food businesses in their local council area to ensure food businesses are complying with the recall.

FSANZ acted as coordinator for 106 food recalls during the 2018-19 financial year. This consisted of 14 trade level recalls, where the company has only provided product to distribution centres, wholesalers and food services. As the product was not released in retail stores and could easily be retrieved, a consumer level recall was not required. In another eight instances, there were combined trade and consumer level recalls conducted as there was a possibility that a small amount of product may have been distributed. A further 84 recalls were consumer level recalls, where it was necessary to recover product from retail outlets and/or consumers. In total, SA was affected by 44 recalls where recalled product had been distributed in the state. Table 4 provides a summary of the 106 food recalls conducted during the 2018-19 financial year.

Table 4: Summary of recalls conducted in 2018-19

Summary of recalls
Type of recall Reason for recall SA not affected National SA & other states affected SA only
Consumer 84 Undeclared allergens 37

Trade 14 Micro contamination 24

Consumer / trade (combined) 8 Chemical 4

Foreign matter 18

Labelling 5

Total 106 57 18 44 6

Enforcement actions

FCDB is responsible for monitoring food industry compliance with chapters 1 and 2 of the Code and also becomes involved with compliance matters associated with chapters 3 and 4 in the course of audits, surveys, complaints and investigation of illness. SA Health’s Public Health Services Enforcement Framework provides authorised officers with guidance about the manner in which enforcement activities are to be undertaken.

Local government is responsible for the conduct of routine food business inspections to verify compliance with chapter 3 of the Code (see Appendix 1 (PDF 532KB).

Where FCDB identifies non-compliance issues in food businesses, corrective actions are addressed through a graduated and proportionate response. Once effective corrective action is confirmed, no further enforcement action is undertaken. Should non-compliance remain unresolved, enforcement action can be escalated. Table 5 provides a summary of the enforcement activities undertaken by the FCDB.

Table 5: Enforcement activities undertaken in 2018-19

Enforcement activities
Letters of warning Expiations issued Improvement notices Emergency orders Prosecutions
2 0 0 0 0

Activities undertaken

The table below identifies the enquiries, complaints, referrals, incident management and food safety resource requests actioned by FCDB.

Table 6: Nature of activities in 2018-19

Nature of activities
Type Category Number
Alleged food poisoning 53
Food contamination 127
Labelling 106
Alleged non-compliance with Food Standard 3.2.2 114
Alleged non-compliance with Food Standard 3.2.3 13
General food matters 282
New business information 61
Food recall 6
Incident management
Investigations 6
Incident management
Referrals from CDCB 272
Incident management
Requests for resources 36
Total    1,076

Food safety management

Food safety programs (FSPs) have been mandated nationally for businesses providing food to vulnerable populations in hospitals, aged care facilities, child care centres, and via delivered meals organisations such as Meals on Wheels.

National Food Safety Standard 3.3.1 (audited mandatory food safety programs for food services to vulnerable persons) became enforceable in SA in October 2008. The department has continued to liaise with industry, local government and food safety auditors to develop monitoring and review systems in order to ensure effective management of the audit process in SA food businesses to whom this standard applies.

In 2018-19 the department continued to conduct food safety audits of public hospitals, Department of Human Services businesses such as Disability Services and not-for-profit social care and delivered meals organisations including Royal District Nursing Services (RDNS) SA and Meals on Wheels. These facilities are audited at the frequency determined by the performance of individual sites, in line with the priority classification for these businesses. Food audit statistics are provided below.

Table 7: Food audit statistics 2018-19

Food audit statistics
Risk classification Number of businesses Routine audits
Public hospital 71 77
Not-for-profit delivered meals organisations 41 49
Aged care/child care audited in regional areas/ DCSI 13 10

3. Foodborne disease investigations in SA 2018-19

Epidemiological investigations into foodborne disease outbreaks within SA are coordinated by the Disease Surveillance and Investigation Section (DSIS) and OzFoodNet staff who are based within the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB) of SA Health. OzFoodNet is a national network that conducts enhanced foodborne disease surveillance. OzFoodNet and other CDCB staff work in collaboration with a range of stakeholders when investigating outbreaks

During 2018-19, SA Health investigated 11 outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness that were known or suspected to be foodborne and for which a common source was identified. The settings for the outbreaks were varied and included seven associated with restaurants, two from primary food production, and one outbreak each associated with a bakery and a private function.

In addition to these outbreaks, eight clusters of potentially foodborne illness for which no common source could be identified were also investigated in 2018-19. There were seven clusters of Salmonella and one cluster of Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) investigated. Hypothesis generating interviews were conducted in the majority of cases.

This summary does not include clusters or outbreaks that were suspected to be person-to-person transmission, animal-to-person transmission, or from an environmental source (including swimming pools). All investigation data is subject to change, as this is the nature of clusters and outbreaks.

In the reporting period 2018-19, there were two multi-jurisdictional outbreak investigations (MJOI) that included South Australian cases. One MJOI included people infected with Salmonella Enteritidis and the source of infection was identified as eggs. There was one South Australian case included in this MJOI, and the case had consumed eggs while in New South Wales in January 2019. The other MJOI was Salmonella Heidelberg and no source was identified for this outbreak. There were six South Australian residents included in this MJOI, with onsets of illness ranging from November 2018 to May 2019.

Further details about outbreaks investigated during 2018-19 and their exposure settings is found in Appendix 2 (PDF 133KB).

Table 8: Summary of foodborne disease investigations in SA in 2018-19

Summary of foodborne disease investigations
N Month and year Organism Setting N ill N laboratory confirmed Evidence
1 Aug 2018 S. Oranienburg Primary production 27 27 D, M
2 Nov 2018 S.Tm 108 Private function 5 5 D
3 Dec 2018 S.Tm 9 Restaurant 5 5 D
4 Jan 2019 S. Tm 9 Restaurant 5 5 D
5 Jan 2019 S. Hessarek Primary production 10 10 D
6 Feb 2019 S.Tm 9 Bakery 78 78 D, M
7 Feb 2019 S.Tm 9 Restaurant 11 11 D
8 Feb 2019 S.Tm 135a Restaurant 3 3 D
9 Feb 2019 S.Tm 12a Restaurant 12 11 D
10 Apr 2019 S.Tm 135 Restaurant 14 14 D
11 May 2019 S.Tm 9 Restaurant 5 5 D

N – Number
D – Descriptive evidence (i.e. information obtained from interviewing cases and/or inspections of premises)
M – Microbiological evidence (i.e. the same bacteria/virus found in food or environmental samples as the unwell people)
Tm – Salmonella Typhimurium.

Cluster investigations

A cluster is defined as an increase in a specific infection in terms of time, person or place, where the source and mode of transmission remains unknown. A summary of clusters investigated from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 are listed in Table 9. There were seven clusters of Salmonella and one cluster of STEC investigated. All clusters were general increases in specific infections in the community without a common point source identified and only descriptive evidence was available for all of the investigations.

Table 9: Summary of cluster investigations in SA, 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019

cluster investigations
Number Month and Year Organism Number ill
1 October 2018 S. Newport 3
2 December 2018 S. Stanley 3
3 January 2019 S.Tm 108 22
4 February 2019 S.Tm 8 3
5 March 2019 S. Saintpaul 13
6 March 2019 S.Tm 9 16
7 May 2019 S. Infantis 6
8 June 2019 STEC O26 4

Notes: S.Tm – Salmonella Typhimurium

4. Biosecurity SA activities under the Food Act 2001

Biosecurity SA is a division of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA). The Primary Produce (Food Safety Schemes) (Meat Industry) Regulations 2017 requires butcher shops to hold accreditation administered by PIRSA. Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SA Health and PIRSA, both agencies share risk management principles that minimise regulatory burden and duplication. In practice, to avoid duplication butcher shops that sell food other than meat and conduct activities regulated under the Food Act 2001 are inspected by Biosecurity SA officers. A number of officers have been appointed authorised officers under the Food Act 2001.

During 2018-19, 999 audits were conducted by Biosecurity SA officers on 506 butcher shops including supermarkets, where a component of audits addressed other retail activities regulated under the Food Act 2001. During the audits, 45 Corrective Action Requests (CARs) were issued which related to their food safety program, hygiene or construction, and required follow up visits. No expiation notices or penalties were issued.

SA Meat Food Safety Advisory Committee

The department continues to participate as a member of the SA Meat Food Safety Advisory Committee (the Committee) under the Primary Produce (Food Safety Schemes) (Meat Food Safety Advisory Committee) Regulations 2016. The Committee considers issues pertinent to management of the Primary Produce (Food Safety Schemes) (Meat Industry) Regulations 2017 (Regulations) under the Primary Produce (Food Safety Scheme) Act 2004. The role of the Committee is to provide advice to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development on the administration of the Regulations, and on matters relating to meat food safety in SA. The Committee met once during 2018-19.

Safe Drinking Water Act 2011

Part 8 – Miscellaneous

S 50 – Agreement and consultation with local government sector

  1. The Minister must take reasonable steps to consult with the LGA from time to time in relation to the administration and enforcement of this Act.
  2. If the Minister and the LGA enter into an agreement with respect to the exercise of functions under this Act by councils, then the Minister must prepare a report on the matter and cause copies of the report to be laid before both Houses of Parliament.
  3. A report under subsection (2) must be accompanied by a copy of any relevant written agreement between the Minister and the LGA.
  4. The Minister must consult with the LGA before a regulation that confers any function on councils is made under this Act.
  5. The annual report of the Minister under this Act must include a specific report on-
  6. the outcome of any consultation undertaken under subsection (1) or (4); and
  7. the operation of any agreement referred to in subsection (2).

S 51 – Annual report by Minister

  1. The Minister must, on or before 30 September in each year, prepare a report on the operation of this Act for the financial year ending on the preceding 30 June.
  2. The Minister must, within 6 sitting days after completing a report under subsection (1), cause copies of the report to be laid before both Houses of Parliament.

S 52 – Annual reports by enforcement agencies

  1. An enforcement agency (other than the Minister) must, on or before 30 September in each year, furnish to the Minister a report on the activities of the enforcement agency under this Act during the financial year ending on the preceding 30 June.
  2. The Minister must, within 6 sitting days after receiving a report under subsection (1), cause copies of the report to be laid before both Houses of Parliament.

The objectives of the Safe Drinking Water Act 2011 (the Act) and Safe Drinking Water Regulations 2012 (the Regulations) are to:

  • ensure that drinking water supplied to the South Australian public is safe
  • provide direction to drinking water providers on how to achieve a safe drinking water supply
  • implement principles of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011 (ADWG).

The Act requires:

  • registration of drinking water providers
  • development and implementation of risk management plans (RMPs) for individual drinking water supplies including approved monitoring programs and incident protocols
  • audit or inspection of drinking water supplies
  • reporting of incidents to the department
  • provision of water quality results to the public on request.

The department administers the Act with assistance from local government. Activities are outlined in council reports in Appendix 3 (PDF 532KB). Within the department, the Water Quality Unit is responsible for day to day administration of the Act with assistance from the Health Protection Operations and Food Safety and Audit sections.

Registration of drinking water providers

During 2018-19, the department registered 18 new drinking water providers and twelve drinking water providers cancelled their registration. At 30 June 2019, there were 181 drinking water providers registered with the department. Some providers include multiple drinking water supplies under one registration. SA Water has a dual registration which includes a total of 87 water supplies while the Department for Education’s single registration includes 61 schools and preschools.

As required under Section 11 of the Act, the department maintains a list of registered drinking water providers on the SA Health website. Councils are advised of drinking water providers within their area on a minimum annual basis.

Risk management plans

All drinking water providers must have a Risk Management Plan (RMP) that includes an approved monitoring program and an incident protocol. During 2018-19, the department reviewed RMPs for new drinking water providers and provided assistance as required. Advice was also provided on the review and amendment of RMPs for existing providers where sought or required to rectify non-compliance identified as part of a drinking water inspection or audit.

Water quality incidents

Under Section 13 of the Act, a drinking water provider’s RMP must include a procedure for identifying, notifying and responding to water quality incidents. The department receives notification of incidents and provides advice and direction on remedial actions required to maintain safety of drinking water supplies.

Incidents reported by SA Water

SA Water incidents are reported according to the interagency Water/Wastewater Incident Notification and Communication Protocol (the Protocol). Under the Protocol the department fulfils the role of the Water Incident Coordinator. Incidents are classified as Priority Type 1, Type 1 or Type 2 health incidents.

  • Priority Type 1 incidents are likely to require an immediate interagency meeting to develop responses and consider possible issuing of public advice. In the absence of appropriate interventions these incidents could cause serious risk to human health
  • Type 1 water quality incidents, in the absence of appropriate intervention could cause serious risk to human health
  • Type 2 incidents represent a low risk to human health, but may provide preliminary warnings of more serious incidents.

During 2018-19, the department received notification of one Priority Type 1 incident, 24 Type 1 incidents and 54 Type 2 incidents from SA Water. A trend in the number of incidents decreasing has been observed over the past few years and can be attributed to a number of factors, including improvements in source water quality and enhanced treatment implemented by SA Water. The department:

  • coordinated communication and responses to all Priority Type 1 and Type 1 incidents
  • provided advice on appropriate remedial actions and attended an interagency root cause analysis workshop for the Priority Type 1 incident. The incident involved the detection of a misconnection between the drinking water supply and high quality recycled water supply to a single residence
  • liaised with SA Water during Type 1 incidents to ensure remedial actions or responses were implemented in a timely manner. The Type 1 incidents included:
    • increased numbers of cyanobacteria in source water
    • potential contamination of source water
    • elevated levels of a radionuclide in source water
    • detection of non-human infectious Cryptosporidium in treated water
    • short term interruptions to disinfection
    • elevated levels of disinfection by products
    • exceedances of chemical guideline values from the ADWG
    • accidental contamination of water mains during repair works
    • short term increase in filtered water pH
    • short term overdosing of chlorine

Water quality incidents were notified by SA Water within prescribed time limits. Appropriate remedial actions were implemented and ensured that the protection of public health was maintained at all times. The department determined that no public notifications were required for these incidents.

Incidents reported by other drinking water providers

In 2018-19 there were 12 drinking water incidents reported to the department by providers other than SA Water. Five out of the 12 reported incidents were due to the detection of E.coli in rainwater supplies. The department provided advice on chlorination of water tanks and flushing of pipework with resampling of the water supply where required.

Other incidents reported were due to reverse osmosis failure, high fluoride concentration, increased filtered water turbidity and elevated numbers of cyanobacteria and contamination of source water. In each case appropriate responses were implemented.

Approval of auditors and inspectors

Auditors and inspectors are approved under Section 15 of the Act in line with established competency criteria. Approval as either a Level 1 or 2 Auditor or Level 3 Inspector is based on technical skills and experience. The types of drinking water supply that can be audited or inspected by an individual are defined in approval conditions. In 2018-19, the department:

  • approved three Level 2 Auditors and one Level 3 Inspector
  • reapproved three Level 1 Auditors, 15 Level 2 Auditors and two Level 3 Inspectors following expiry of existing approvals
  • provided access to online drinking water quality training for local government employees
  • provided support and on-site training for local government auditors and inspectors.

At 30 June 2019 there were 38 approved auditors and inspectors including independent auditors, department staff, local government employees and officers from Dairysafe. The department maintains a list of approved auditors and inspectors on the SA Health website.

Audits and inspections

The Act requires that all drinking water providers are subject to an audit or inspection every year or every two years as described in a schedule published in the Government Gazette. Reports of all audits and inspections are required to be submitted to the department within 21 days of the audit or inspection being undertaken. Under Section 20(4) of the Act, the drinking water provider is responsible for ensuring the audit or inspection is carried out in accordance with the published schedule.

The Water Quality Unit oversees the audit and inspection program and where possible coordinates drinking water audit and inspections with the activities of the Health Protection Operation and Food Safety and Audit sections to avoid duplication and cost to providers. Audits and inspections are also performed by local government and independent auditors. Dairysafe undertakes inspections of independent drinking water supplies used by ten dairy processors as part of existing food safety audit activities.

During 2018-19 the department carried out a total of 40 audits and 20 inspections of drinking water supplies. The department also received copies of four audit and 12 inspection reports from local government and independent auditors including a comprehensive audit report covering a number of SA Water supplies.

The department maintains a database of non-compliances reported as an outcome of audit and inspection of drinking water providers. A range of non-compliances were noted in 2018-19 including incomplete or insufficient RMPs and lack of detail or absence of documentation relating to maintenance activities and water quality monitoring. None of the non-compliances resulted in a drinking water supply being declared unsafe. The department continues to provide advice and recommendations on improvements to documentation, operational practices and water treatment options for these providers. Follow-up processes or changes in inspection/audit frequency are implemented by the department as required to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Act.

Quality of water and provision of results

Under Section 27 of the Act, drinking water providers must make results of any monitoring program available to the public.

SA Water provides consumers with water quality information through publication of data on their website and in their annual report. Other drinking water providers can provide results to consumers on request by letter, email or telephone.

Approval of laboratories

No laboratories were approved during the reporting period. Approved water quality testing laboratories are listed on the SA Health website.

Administration and enforcement

The Act incorporates enforcement provisions including the appointment of authorised officers with appropriate qualifications and experience. Department officers may also be authorised to carry out expiation notices under the Act and Regulations.

In 2018-19, no new appointments were made within the department. At
30 June 2019 there were 14 authorised officers, 12 of whom are authorised to issue expiations. Authorised officers appointed by local government are provided in council annual reports (Appendix 2 (PDF 133KB)).

Consultation with the local government sector

Under Section 50 of the Act, the Minister must take reasonable steps to consult with the LGA from time to time in relation to the administration and enforcement of the Act.

During 2018-19, consultation between the department and the LGA continued, to formalise the roles and responsibilities of the department and local government in administering and enforcing the Act. A working group, formed in 2017 with representatives from the department and four local councils continued its activities. These included more clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of enforcement agencies, and reviewing and better promoting resources, training and education for local government.

A progress report was provided to the LGA detailing a range of strategies to support councils in the administration of the Act. Broader consultation occurred as part of this work, including discussions with the SA Branch of the Environmental Health Australia Managers Forum and specific councils as part of training sessions offered by the department. The department continues to consult with the LGA and work with local councils to provide support and training opportunities to facilitate the ongoing administration and enforcement of the Act.

Reporting required under the Carers Recognition Act 2005

The Carers Recognition Act 2005 is deemed applicable for the following: Department of Human Services, Department for Education, Department for Health and Wellbeing, Department of State Development, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, South Australia Police and TAFE SA.

Section 7: Compliance or non-compliance with section 6 of the Carers Recognition Act 2005 and (b) if a person or body provides relevant services under a contract with the organisation (other than a contract of employment), that person's or body's compliance or non-compliance with section 6.

SA Health continues to recognise the importance of unpaid carers through a commitment to ensuring better care engagement in shared decision-making in SA hospitals. The SA Health Partnering with Carers Strategic Action Plan 2017-2020 (Strategic Action Plan) is underpinned by the Carers Recognition Act 2005 and the South Australian Carers Charter. The Strategic Action Plan oversees the state coordination and monitoring of the whole of health strategy which supports the implementation of the SA Health Partnering with Carers Policy Directive.

The key priorities under the Strategic Action Plan include:

  • Early identification and recognition
  • Carers are engaged as partners in care
  • Carers provide comments and feedback
  • Carer-friendly workplace
  • Celebrate carers during National Carers Week
  • Staff education and training.

The Carer – Partnering with you web page provides carers with information. Information includes the Policy Directive, Strategic Action Plan and key priorities. The website encourages carers to provide feedback and seek information on how carers can engage with health care sites in service planning, designing care, measuring and evaluating health services and further information on local and national carer support services.

Consumer, Carer and Community engagement strategies are progressing across the Local Health Networks. In particular, the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist (OCP) has a Carer Consultant Project Officer (Carer Consultant) as part of its Lived Experience team. The Carer Consultant is responsible for engaging with, consulting and facilitating the input of mental health carers into the planning and delivery of mental health services in SA. They are also responsible for the planning, development and implementation of projects and initiatives which ensure carer input is optimised.

The Lived Experience Register is an engagement strategy to connect the OCP with the Lived Experience community (consumers and carers). The OCP has recruited carer representatives from this Register to provide advice on several working groups and committees. For example, the OCP has developed a fact sheet about the rights of carers of people receiving mental health care.

This has been piloted with carers of the community and the members of the OCP Lived Experience Reference Group. This fact sheet will support mental health services to inform carers about their rights and available support services.

The Strategic Mental Health Quality Improvement Committee endorsed the proposal to establish a working group comprised by carer champions from each LHN as well as consumer and carer representatives to develop a strategy for the implementation of the Mental Health Carer Experience Survey (CES Survey) across mental health services. The implementation of the CES survey will support services to identify carers of people accessing public mental health services and use their experience to inform quality improvement processes.

Carer information is displayed in all health sites covering topics such as: knowing your rights, medication safety, clinical communication, recognising and responding to clinical deterioration, pressure injury, falls, hand hygiene and infection control.

National Carers Week is celebrated annually in October to raise awareness of the challenges faced by family carers. In 2018, to celebrate and recognise the invaluable contribution of unpaid carers, Facebook posts and Twitter tweets were posted throughout the week, highlighting stories of carers.

Staff education and training was undertaken in May 2019. LHN carer champions and a local carer representative were nominated to present and assist in the implementation of the Strategic Action Plan and key priorities.