The Public Health Amendment Act 1908 also known by its full title 'An Act to amend "The Public Health Act, 1903"' (Act no. 8 Edw. VII no.16) makes significant changes to The Public Health Act 1903 (Act no. 3 Edw VII. No.37). This amending act was repealed in 1935 by The Public Health Act 1935 (Act no. 26 Geo V. no.43).
The Public Health Amendment Act 1908 (Act no. 8 Edw. VII no.16) made a number of significant additions and changes to The Public Health Act 1903 (Act no. 3 Edw VII. No.37). These included empowering the Governor, with recommendation from the Chief Health Officer, to remove or partially revoke the classification of some diseases as infectious diseases. Defining a condition as an infectious disease meant the Public Health Act 1903 was applied to people with the disease or who had contact with those suffering the disease.
The Public Health Amendment Act 1908 also added extensive regulation regarding children and schools. Under The Public Health Amendment Act 1908 children who had contracted an infectious disease, or lived in a house where any other resident had contracted an infectious disease were not allowed to attend school unless a medical practitioner had certified them as un-infected. Once a certain period time had passed children could return to school without a medical practitioner's certificate. Penalties were in place for teachers and parents or guardians who knowingly allowed a child who had an infectious disease or was exposed to an infectious disease to attend school.
Another clause in The Public Health Amendment Act 1908 inserted regulations regarding the disposal of objects that could be 'infected' through contact with a sick person in ashpits or ashtubs. (Ashpits were the containers at the bottom of fireplaces or cooking facilities such as barbeques to collect ash and debris from fires.)
Regulations relating to domestic and farming animals such as pigs and dogs were also detailed in the act. This was followed by the further amendments to the method with which fines and expenses as a result of The Public Health Act 1903 were to be collected.
The final key amendment made by The Public Health Act 1908 is to empower Boards of Health to demolish homes that had been deemed unsafe for human habitation if the owners had not rectified issues within six months, the owners would then be charged for the cost of demolition. Boards of Health had similar powers over septic tanks or cesspits which could be ordered to be cleaned, and if not done by their owner, carried out by the Board of Health with the costs being charged to the owner.
This legislation was repealed in 1935 by The Public Health Act 1935 (Act no. 26 Geo V. No.43).
Sources used to compile this entry: Law Research Service, Melbourne Law School, Law Library, The University of Melbourne. 'Find and Connect Project - Tasmanian Legislation', 20 January 2014, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.
Prepared by: Elizabeth Daniels
Created: 12 February 2015, Last modified: 22 April 2016