Latest news | 29 May 2019

Leadership is key to the successful delivery of reform for eating disorders


29 May 2019 – The Butterfly Foundation has extended its congratulations to Minister Greg Hunt on his reappointment as Minister for Health and looks forward to the continued recognition of, and investment in, the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians by the Federal Government.

Butterfly Foundation CEO, Kevin Barrow, said Minister Hunt’s continued leadership of Australia’s health and mental health portfolio is vital to the reported one million Australians with an eating disorder.

“We welcome Minister Hunt’s continued leadership of the Government’s national commitment and future investment in eating disorders. Together we will maintain this momentum,” said Mr Barrow.

“Over the past two years we have worked closely to identify priority areas for investment to significantly shift the health system to recognise and prioritise the gaps in treatment and support for eating disorders.”

The Butterfly Foundation is focused on the immediate and long-term needs of people with a lived experience of an eating disorder in Australia.

Ongoing reforms for eating disorders must include:

  • The prioritisation of a national eating disorders strategy
  • Commitments to primary prevention, and;
  • Ensuring that the national, state and territory health systems are connected with strong referral pathways and no gaps

“Having a national strategy for eating disorders that is able to track current and future investment by governments and non-government organisations will ensure that investment is well-informed, addresses gaps and referral pathways,” Mr Barrow said.

“Our immediate timeframe includes the design and delivery of the six new Government-funded residential programs using innovative partnership models between Commonwealth, State and Territory public health systems and other health sector partners. We will also ensure there is necessary support for Australians and the sector as the new Medicare item number for eating disorders is rolled out in early November.

“Butterfly will work to identify how Australians will access effective treatment delivered in these residential programs using Medicare and other funded treatment programs, together with key state and territory treatment services to ensure we have continuum of care in a step-up and step-down model.

“These commitments send a strong message to the community around new and enhanced public health services, and many people and sector leaders have already indicated their support and commitment to these reforms.”

The Government’s investment in the delivery and improvement of services for eating disorders includes:

  • Delivery of the new multi-disciplinary eating disorders MBS item from November 2019
  • Butterfly’s leadership in the design and implementation of six new in-community residential treatment programs across the country, announced in the 2019-20 Budget commitment of $63 million
  • Investment in The Butterfly Foundation for the ongoing coordination of the NEDC
  • Support of the trial of coordinated care on the Sunshine Coast PHN, together with the commitment to the establishment of EndED Butterfly House in the Mooloolah Valley, Australia’s first best-practice multi-disciplinary residential treatment centre, and;
  • The ongoing investment in the national Butterfly support line 1800 ED HOPE.

Butterfly will continue to ensure that the one million Australians living with an eating disorders and the two million carers who support them inform the future reforms for treatment and support needed.


Media Contact: Elaine Banoub

Mob: 0412 237 673