Latest news | 25 Jan 2022

Butterfly Foundation acknowledges tremendous support from Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt as he retires from politics


As Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announces his retirement from politics at the next Federal election, Butterfly expresses gratitude for his tireless support.

Since being appointed to his role as Federal Minister for Health in January 2017, Mr Hunt has been instrumental in driving support and systemic change to the national landscape of eating disorders. These complex and enduing mental illnesses have one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric condition, and affect around one million Australians at any one time.

Highlights include:

  • Ongoing investment in the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC);
  • Ongoing investment to support the Butterfly National Helpline for people with an eating disorder or body image issues and those who care from them, as well as health care professionals in the sector;
  • September 2017 – $1.7m additional funding to expand the operating hours and services of Butterfly National Helpline 1800 ED HOPE;
  • June 2018 – $3.2m to fund an innovative trial to improve access and affordability of treatment for eating disorders in primary health, run by Butterfly and Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN – the Sunshine Coast Eating Disorders Access Trial (SCEDAT);
  • July 2018 – $6m funding to support the building and establishment of Australia’s first residential treatment centre for eating disorders, Wandi Nerida;
  • April 2019 – $70.2m commitment to establishing six in-community residential treatment centres for eating disorders across Australia,
  • June 2019 – $5m in funding to eating disorders research as part of the Million Minds Mission;
  • November 2019 – introduction of Medicare Item numbers for eating disorders (announced in December 2018) – the only mental illnesses with their own item numbers, provided through an Eating Disorder Management Plan;
  • Sept 2020 – an additional $450k from the Federal Government to support the Butterfly National Helpline during Covid;
  • May 2021 – $26.9m of support for people with eating disorders and their families, including funding the development of a10-year strategy to support those living with an eating disorder and their carers, and a commitment of $13m to establish a National Eating Disorder Research Centre to guide critical research and transform treatment and services in Australia;
  • June 2021 – $900k funding to build capacity for the Butterfly National Helpline to meet unprecedented demand due to COVID-19;
  • July 2021 – additional $300k funding during Covid lockdowns in NSW, including the development of the COVID Help Hub and the publicly accessible Butterfly Referral database of healthcare practitioners with experience in eating disorders.

“The eating disorder sector, including Butterfly, has benefited greatly from Mr Hunt’s leadership as Federal Minister for Health,” said Butterfly CEO, Kevin Barrow. “In August 2017 he led a collective commitment by all of Australia’s health ministers to prioritise eating disorders under the ratified Fifth Mental Health Plan, at a COAG Health Minister’s meeting.

“At the time, Mr Hunt said, ‘It should’ve happened earlier; but it’s happening on our watch now’, and he has held fast to that commitment,” said Mr Barrow.

Butterfly will continue to build on this legacy on in our service provision and ongoing advocacy for people affected by eating disorders or body image issues and their loved ones.


Media Contacts

Melissa Wilton

Head of Communications & Engagement

Ph: 0402 259 652






Editor and producers note: Please include the following support line details in all media coverage of this story and refer to the Mindframe Media guidelines for safe reporting on eating disorders. Please include the following helpline message.

Help and Support

Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact:

  • Butterfly National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE) or
  • Eating Disorders Victoria Helpline on 1300 550 23
  • For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14