While genomics has been used as a tool for research for many years, globally there is increasing momentum to deploy microbial genomics for routine public health microbiology. This technology has potential broad application in the diagnosis, surveillance, characterisation, and source-tracking for public health pathogens. Genomics also has the potential to replace many microbial typing techniques, and allow real-time, higher resolution national and international characterisation of microbial pathogens. Early successes have been reported in some jurisdictions, including the early recognition of putative foodborne disease outbreaks that have reduced the number of human infections associated with certain contaminated food. Improved tracking of antibiotic resistant microbes through genomics also has the potential to prevent further spread of these pathogens. Significant work is still required to determine how best to transition public health microbiology to a genomics based specialty, including issues of data quality, bioinformatics pipelines, and reporting of results to end-users.