System Reform in Australia

While acknowledging funding provided in this year’s Federal Budget, members of
the Eating Disorder Alliance of Australia (EDAA) have called on the Federal
Government to involve EDAA members in the system reform process.

In February, Minister for Health, the Hon Mark Butler MP, called out eating disorders as “a national crisis”
on the ABC 4 Corners program. While the recently announced Federal Budget does go some way to
address the crisis, EDAA, representing the voice of lived experience and health professionals within the
eating disorder sector in Australia, says more is needed.

Members of the Eating Disorder Alliance of Australia (EDAA) include Butterfly Foundation (Butterfly), Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA), Eating Disorders Victoria (EDV), Eating Disorders Queensland
(EDQ), and the Australia & New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED). EDAA is pleased to
acknowledge the following 12-month funding commitments:

– $1.25m for Wandi Nerida, Australia’s only residential treatment centre for eating disorders,
managed by Butterfly
– $800k for the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC), to develop clinical resources,
support workforce development, and continue work on the National Eating Disorders Strategy,
administered by Butterfly
– $150k for Eating Disorders Families Australia, supporting their National Support and Education
programs for families and carers of those with eating disorders
– $450k for ANZAED, to continue to expand connected, ANZAEDs Eating Disorder Credential, ,to
include GPs
– $100k contribution towards Butterfly Body Bright (BBB) – a whole of school Primary School program
promoting positive body image. BBB is already being accessed by more than 400 Australian
primary schools across Australia, and includes tools and resources to build and maintain positive
body image, prevent body dissatisfaction, and reduce appearance pressures – known risk factors
for developing eating disorders. Butterfly’s 17 years working in prevention and early intervention
also includes Body Kind Schools, Body Kind Families, Body Kind Clubs, and more, supporting
educators, communities and parents to foster positive body image in young people.

More broadly, EDAA welcomes the focus on primary health care, including incentivising GPs to bulk bill, the inclusion of case conferencing as part of the Eating Disorder Management Plan under Medicare and
investment in the mental health workforce, including additional postgraduate psychology places. We also welcome cost-of-living support to reduce financial distress, noting the association between food insecurity and eating disorder pathology.

We acknowledge that this budget around Mental Health and suicide prevention is laying the ground work
for system reform. EDAA is supportive of the government’s considered approach to meaningful change to
the system of care. In line with The Productivity Report ‘s recommendations, EDAA can play a role in
consultation and advocacy drawing on the voice of lived experience and informed by the unique role
community organisations play in eating disorder treatment and supports.

Some of the key reform actions, we see as a priority would be:
– Eating Disorders Prevention Initiatives With more than a million people -impacted by eating
disorders in Australia in any given year, and only one quarter of these getting treatment or support,
much more needs to be done to address this national crisis.
– Eating Disorders Lived Experience Workforce developmental resources.
– Ensuring that consumers and cares impacted by eating disorders also have access to a whole
range of psychosocial supports.
With a sector-wide National Eating Disorders Strategy 2023-2033 due for release later in 2023, EDAA looks forward to a future funding package commensurate with the goals of the strategy and with timely
implementation, in line with community need. EDAA member organisations will continue to collaborate to
maximise our impact in preventing, identifying, supporting and providing treatment options to those with a lived or living experience of an eating disorder or body image issue and their carers, families and supports.

Anna Cullinane, Interim CEO, Butterfly
Belinda Caldwell, CEO, Eating Disorders Victoria
Belinda Chelius, CEO, Eating Disorders Queensland
Jane Rowan, Executive Director, Eating Disorders Families Australia
Jade Gooding, CEO, Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders