This manual is designed as a field reference for Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) engaging with and working in remote Indigenous communities.

Health authorities recognise that many diseases experienced by Indigenous people are directly linked to poor environmental health conditions in their communities. If the overall health levels of Indigenous people are to improve, the environmental health and general living conditions that currently exist in many communities must be raised to a satisfactory standard.

It is only by keeping people, homes and communities clean, hygienic and safe that the health of community members will be significantly improved. It is considered that this manual will assist EHPs in their community environmental health work.

In this manual, EHPs are encouraged to make full use of local and regional environmental health technical expertise and specific information sources relating to community education and program management. This network includes Environmental Health Officers (EHOs), Environmental Health Supervisors, other Environmental Health Workers and Indigenous Environmental Health Practitioner training and education staff.

A DVD has been developed by enHealth entitled “Introduction to Engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities: An Environmental Health Resource”. EHPs are encouraged to view this DVD as it showcases many of the issues that need to be considered when planning environmental health activities and meeting with community members. You should be able to get a copy of this DVD from your state or territory environmental health head office.

Editorial note

There are some positions in environmental health that are referred to in this manual. They, along with their definition, are provided below.

Environmental Health Officer (EHO): an Environmental Health Practitioner with an appropriate tertiary degree level qualification recognised by the relevant state or territory authority

Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP): a person employed to work in environmental health with some level of accredited training. This term encompasses ‘Indigenous Environmental Health Worker (IEHW)’ and replaces ‘Aboriginal Environmental Health Worker (AEHW)’. It can also be used to collectively refer to any person with or without environmental health qualifications working in this area, such as an Environmental Health Officer, Environmental Health Coordinator, Environmental Health Supervisor, Healthy Housing Workers and Animal Welfare Workers.

Environmental Health Supervisor (EHS): a person employed to coordinate and/or provide mentoring and support to Environmental Health Practitioners. This term includes ‘Environmental Health Coordinator’.