EATING DISORDER TREATMENT SERVICES

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: In my work as the Premier's Advocate for Suicide Prevention, I have seen firsthand some of the tragic effects of mental illness, often going unsupported or unrecognised because of the stigma still unfortunately attached to it in some quarters. Will the minister update the council on efforts to assist those suffering from eating disorders?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:02): I thank the honourable member for his question. The honourable member is right to draw attention to the damage done to individuals, their families and those who care for them, through the impact of eating disorders. It's estimated that there are one million Australians living with an eating disorder; however, only one in four of those are actually diagnosed as having an eating disorder. This is particularly of concern because of the complex nature of eating disorders and the elevated mortality rate associated with them.

This danger is not recognised widely enough, but it bears emphasising. Anorexia nervosa, for example, is the deadliest mental health condition in Australia. The Marshall Liberal government takes that very seriously. Before the 2018 election, we committed $1 million in recurrent funding to a specialised paediatric eating disorder service. This will provide the equivalent of nine full-time medical and allied health clinicians and administrative support positions.

Knowing the importance of this issue, I warmly welcome the Morrison Liberal government's commitment in the 2019-20 commonwealth budget of $70 million to support Australians living with eating disorders: $63 million of this allocation will be for residential eating disorder treatment centres nationwide. Two of these centres have already been announced in Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. I am delighted that the federal budget included a commitment by the Morrison Liberal government to $5 million funding for a dedicated eating disorder treatment service centre in South Australia. The Marshall Liberal government has foreshadowed the potential for a statewide eating disorder service to be located at the reactivated Repat site, and options have been flagged in the consultation process and in the recently released master plan.

I want to acknowledge the work of the member for Boothby in the federal parliament, Nicolle Flint, for her tireless advocacy on eating disorders, which predominantly affect young women although not only young women, and for her advocacy in the areas of endometriosis and the provision of health services generally at the reactivated Repat site. Her voice helped to win $35 million in commonwealth funding.

As part of the commonwealth government investment in eating disorder services, $3.6 million will go to the Butterfly Foundation to support the establishment of the residential centres I previously referred to. Another $3.6 million will go to the National Eating Disorders Collaboration to provide the necessary resources to support people living with eating disorders, as well as their families and loved ones. As my federal counterpart, the Hon. Greg Hunt, said:

This is about saving lives and protecting lives...it will be open to everybody, and it's about giving them real help, real hope, and real support.

The Morrison and Marshall Liberal governments have a strong track record of collaboration to deliver improved health outcomes to South Australia. I look forward to continuing to engage with my federal counterpart to maximise the benefits for South Australia from this investment. In particular, I want to ensure that it is delivered in tandem with the Marshall Liberal government's own significant programs so that we can have the best possible services available for South Australians.