New strategy and research centre to support Australians with eating disorders

For the first time, Australia has a 10-year strategy which will guide critical research and transform how we treat and care for nearly one million Australians who suffer from bulimia, anorexia and other eating disorders.
Today the Morrison Government is launching the Australian Eating Disorder Research and Translation Strategy 2021–2031. The Strategy, which has been developed under a $4 million federal grant by the InsideOut Institute, identifies the top 10 priority areas in greatest need of additional research.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said eating disorders were serious, complex and life-threatening mental illnesses and the Strategy provides a clear national approach to ensuring best-practice prevention, early intervention, and treatment now and in the future.
“At any given time, approximately one million Australians, or around four per cent of the population, are living with an eating disorder,” Minister Hunt said.
“Tragically, eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness, with anorexia being the deadliest of all mental health conditions.”
“Strengthening eating disorder research and translation in Australia will ensure that we find and deliver the latest and best possible support for those impacted and their families and carers. It will lead to significant improvements in the wellbeing of those with an eating disorder and, most importantly, will save lives.”
The 10 research priorities identified in the Strategy are prevention, risk and protective factors, early identification, equity of access, treatment outcomes, individualised medicine, family support, early intervention, positive and negative treatment impacts, stigma and health promotion.
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said eating disorders are extremely complex and we need to do a lot more to better understand them.
“The 2021-22 Budget also provided a further $26.9 million for eating disorder research and support, including $13 million to establish a National Eating Disorder Research Centre,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.
“This new dedicated centre of excellence will lead ground-breaking research to help advance our understanding of eating disorders and the most effective approaches to prevention, early intervention and treatment. It will also ensure that Australia remains at the forefront of the international efforts to combat these devastating illnesses.”
A grant opportunity will open on September 22 to identify an organisation, or a consortium of organisations, to lead the establishment of the research centre. Grant guidelines will be published on Grant Connect at
The Morrison Government has made mental health a national priority, and since 2018 has delivered unprecedented support for eating disorder research, support and treatment. This includes historic investments such as $110.7 million to provide up to 40 Medicare-subsidised psychological and 20 dietetic therapy sessions, $63 million for establishment of a national network of residential eating disorders treatment centres, $5 million for research through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), and $13.4 million for the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC).
Through the $2.3 billion National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan in the 2021-22 Budget, the Morrison Government continues to transform the mental health system to ensure that all Australians can access, high-quality, person-centred care when and where it is needed.
If you or anyone you know is concerned about eating disorder or body image issues, you can contact the Butterfly Foundation’s national eating disorders helpline, ED Hope, on 1800 33 4673 or through
Anyone experiencing distress can also seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (

Federal Government delivers mental health support in Mackay-Isaac region

Residents in the Mackay-Isaac region have better access to mental health care and support thanks to the Federal Coalition Government’s strong investment in regional mental health services.
During a virtual visit this week hosted by local MP George Christensen, Regional Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie said the Federal Government is providing millions of dollars in funding to boost mental health services in rural, regional and remote Queensland.
“Ensuring all Australians can access the mental health care they need is a priority for the Nationals in Government, and I know George Christensen has been a very strong advocate in expanding local support for mental health services,” Minister Gillespie said.
“Additional funding is being provided both for ongoing reform of mental health services and to address the mental health impacts of the pandemic.”
Mr Christensen said the Federal funding reflects both ongoing reform of mental health services and the extra mental health issues caused by the pandemic.
“Whatever the cause, there’s no shame in feeling stressed, anxious or depressed and it’s important to reach out and get advice and support,” Mr Christensen said.
“With strict border closures and on-and-off lockdowns, the past 18 months have been far from normal.”
The Federal Coalition is investing more than $93 million over four years to the North Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) for critical mental health and suicide prevention services.
The Federal funding committed by the PHN into local initiatives, includes:

  • More than $10 million over four years for Safe Spaces, including the new crisis space at Mackay Base Hospital. These spaces provide alternatives to emergency departments for people in mental distress
  • More than $1 million over three years to allow people in NQPHN to be referred to the Way Back Support Service in Cairns. The service provides non-clinical, follow up care and practical support to people who have had a suicidal episode
  • Almost $400,000 in 2021-22 to establish and operate a new headspace service for the Whitsunday, expected to open in December. This new headspace service is part of the Government’s $111.3 million funding commitment to establish 30 new headspace services. The new service will be a satellite from the existing headspace Mackay, which will receive more than more than $896,000 in federal funding this financial year; and
  • $8 million over two years from 2021-22 to NQPHN to continue its psychosocial support program for people with severe mental illness who are not in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Dr Gillespie said the region was continuing to benefit from important initiatives aimed at reducing mental health toll of the COVID pandemic.
“Through our investment in telehealth, 38,000 Medicare-subsidised mental health services were delivered via telehealth in the region in 2020-21, building on our $100 million Better Access Initiative delivering further mental health support,” Dr Gillespie said.

Local Ex-Serviceman Ready to Fight for Townsville

Townsville born firefighter and ex-serviceman John Ring has been endorsed by the Labor Party to contest the seat of Herbert at the next Federal election.
John spent over 14 years in the RAAF and currently works at the Townsville Airport as an aviation firefighter.
The father of three, and Ignatius Park old boy, said today he felt privileged to have the opportunity to stand for election in his hometown.
“I know there is a lot of hard work ahead and I’m fully committed to doing my very best to highlight local issues and get a better deal for our region,” Mr. Ring said.
“We’re not getting the leadership we deserve from the Morrison Government, which is all about spin.
“The Government has failed on the vaccination roll-out, failed on aged care and veterans support, and failed to deliver adequate economic support for our communities.
“Our city and our residents deserve better than an MP who has failed to deliver for our community and stood by watching more government cuts, whilst he was preoccupied with playing politics.”
“I’m a local who loves my hometown and I believe with my 15 years of experience in the RAAF I have a strong understanding of the issues faced by our broader community and our service men and women.”
Mr. Ring said the Government’s attempt to cut aviation firefighting services in Australia, had inspired him to consider running as a candidate.
“Along with many of my firefighting colleagues we fought hard to stop the government from going ahead with the cutbacks that threatened to leave airports in regional QLD without a firefighting capacity stationed at the airport.
“That was a significant moment for me, and I wanted to do something about it for regional communities.”
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said that “Herbert is an electorate that needs an MP willing to fight for regional Queenslanders.”
“John will be a champion for better health services for his community and a strong advocate for good local jobs in the region.”
“Under a Labor Government we’ll always make sure Townsville gets its fair share and regional Queenslanders have a voice in Government.”

Books delivered direct to your door

Avid readers will be able to turn the pages of their favourite books once again following the launch of a new Newcastle Libraries service, Library 2U, which will see books, movies and music delivered to the homes of members.
The initiative ensures Newcastle Libraries members can continue to connect with library services during the current stay at home orders, following the temporary closure of all branches when lockdown began in early-August.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that Novocastrians love connecting with their libraries and the service will keep the community informed and entertained during a trying time.
“With more than 96,000 members, and loans reaching 1.3 million in the last year, it is clear that our community values the services and connection that the city’s libraries offer,” Cr Nelmes said.
“Everyone loves the feeling of being transported into the world of their favourite book or movie and although we can’t yet welcome people back inside branches, we’re pleased to be able to launch Library 2U.
“All it takes is a quick phone call or completing an online form and library staff will consider your preferences and hand-pick a selection of reading, watching or listening options, which will arrive at your door via contactless delivery the following business day.”
Library 2U is available now to all Newcastle Libraries members residing in the Newcastle Local Government Area. Up to five items will be selected for members based on their preferences and members can keep loans until return chutes reopen.
A click and collect service may also soon be available following recent changes to the Public Health Order allowing libraries to facilitate collections. The Newcastle Libraries click and collect service is expected to commence in early October.
Membership to Newcastle Libraries and the Library 2U service is free and can be arranged by phoning 4974 5300 or visiting
While library branches are closed members can access the eLibrary for a range of eBooks, eAudiobooks, music, movies, magazines and newspapers, by visiting or downloading the Newcastle Libraries app.
Newcastle Libraries membership and loan statistics:

  • Total membership is 96,603
  • In the last year Newcastle Libraries have gained almost 9,000 new members.
  • There were over 11,000 library app downloads in the last year
  • In the last financial year the library has celebrated 1.3 million loans in total across its physical and eLibrary selection.
  • Fiction loans account for 55% of total loans
  • eLibrary loans account for just under 40% of all loans
  • Within the eLibrary, 40% are eBooks and eAudiobooks, 20% of loans are music, movies and TV, 20% are magazines and newspapers and remainder are online learning and research databases.

No. 1 Sportsground set to celebrate centenary with a makeover

Newcastle could host elite cricket and AFL matches as soon as 2022 with the redevelopment of Newcastle’s No. 1 Sportsground drawing closer to completion.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the redevelopment will solidify Newcastle’s position as a world-class events city, as well as benefit local sportspeople who play at National Park’s No. 1 Sportsground regularly.
“No. 1 Sportsground was designed and constructed in 1921, officially opening in 1922, and in that time the venue has hosted a variety of sporting and non-sporting events,” Cr Nelmes said.
“It has been over ten years since the last international match was held at No. 1 Sportsground, when our Australian women’s team defeated South Africa in the 2009 ICC Women’s World Cup.
“The redevelopment, which coincides with the venue’s centenary, will deliver regular users of the ground improved facilities, and provide our city with an economic boost through the attraction of major sporting events.
“Novocastrians love their sport and I’m really looking forward to No. 1 Sportsground hosting the Australian Deaf Games cricket fixtures in April 2022, as well as the possibility of hosting pre-season AFL fixtures and regional Big Bash League matches right here in Newcastle.”
Work on the new lighting is nearing completion and turf has been laid with the iconic Newcastle venue set to reopen in 2022 after the new turf has had a chance to establish. Preliminary design work is also underway for a future upgrade of the player amenities.
The makeover includes a rebuilt playing surface with increased playing field size to achieve the minimum standard required for first grade AFL and elite cricket matches, lighting upgrade to enable evening fixtures, a new sub-soil irrigation and drainage system, new player dug out benches, construction of seven new cricket wickets, new sight screens, new oval perimeter fencing and additional bleacher seating to almost double the seated capacity from 400 to 790.
No. 1 Sportsground is located on the corner of Parry and Union Streets in the iconic National Park, one of Newcastle’s largest and oldest sportsgrounds and open space reserves. It boasts facilities for a range of sports including netball, AFL, cricket, rugby, football, athletics and croquet, and caters for casual sport and play through basketball courts and parklands.
Other work currently underway within National Park includes the construction of an additional four basketball courts on the former tennis court site near the corner of National Park and Parry Streets, along with playing field upgrades at No. 5 and No. 6 Sportsgrounds which will improve the playing surface of both grounds and allow for effective management of the flood storage capacity of National Park.
For more information on the No. 1 Sportsground redevelopment please visit the project page by clicking here.

More rough sleepers into secure homes

More than 500 people who were previously sleeping rough now have a safe place to call home, one year on from the establishment of the NSW Government’s landmark Together Home program.
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Alister Henskens said the program was supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the community to access housing and specialist support to rebuild their lives.
“The past 12 months have been incredibly challenging, but the success of this program demonstrates that we can support people to break the cycle of homelessness,” Mr Henskens said.
“Together Home is not just about putting a roof over their head, but instead addressing the complex needs of individuals, to ensure they get the support they need to improve their health and wellbeing.”
Together Home is being delivered in partnership with community housing providers, specialist homelessness services and healthcare agencies.
It involves securing housing for rough sleepers from the private rental market and connecting them to tailored support services to address their individual needs.
The NSW Government has invested a total of $122.1 million in the program, which is expected to help 1,050 people off the street and into housing.
“Together Home has already had a profound impact for the hundreds of people housed and I would like to thank all of the organisations that are working collaboratively with us to change lives for the better,” Mr Henskens said.
Together Home is a key contributor towards achieving the Premier’s Priority of halving street sleeping across NSW by 2025.
Anyone who is homeless or is at risk of homelessness can call Link2home on 1800 152 152 for information and referrals to services, including temporary accommodation.

NSW Government retrains timber mill workers

Around 50 timber mill workers in Wagga Wagga who were set to lose their jobs with the relocation of the Big River timber mill have received free training and a personal skills matching service, thanks to the NSW Government’s JobTrainer program.
The workers, some of whom have been employed at the mill for more than 30 years, are ready to re-enter the Wagga Wagga workforce, following Big River’s consolidation of its operations in northern NSW.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said Big River Industries had received $10 million as part of the NSW Government’s Bushfire Industry Recovery Package in the aftermath of the 2019/20 bushfires.
“Following the devastating 2019/20 bushfires, these funds helped Big River relocate and expand its existing operations in Grafton,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Now, through the NSW Government’s JobTrainer program, we are retraining those who didn’t take part in the company’s move north, to support local industries in need of skilled workers.
“People in our regions have been severely impacted by not only the bushfires, but the pandemic that has followed, and the NSW Government is ensuring no worker is left behind.”
Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the work to prepare employees for the mill’s closure will help reduce the economic hit usually linked to a company closing its doors.
“Training Services NSW has worked with Big River to support each worker who did not relocate north with the company to identify ways that they can upskill and retrain to help find other work,” Mr Lee said.
“The bushfires impacted so many of our regional businesses and industries, and I am committed to ensuring workers have the support to upskill for a new job or better job.”
Maintenance Manager at Big River, Damien Periera, said it was a bittersweet time for workers.
“Ultimately the log supply was in danger and there was not enough to make the mill viable, but Training Services NSW has been invaluable in making sure our staff are matched to other jobs,” Mr Periera said.
“That is a big relief for any business going through a similar situation in these circumstances. It’s great to know there is NSW Government support available to help people land on their feet.”
For more information on free JobTrainer Courses and for full eligibility criteria, visit:

Friends bubble created for children to allow home visits in time for school holidays

Children and teenagers aged 18 years and under will be able to create a ‘friends bubble’ to allow home visits provided the adults in their homes are fully vaccinated, under an easing of restrictions for school holidays.
From 12 noon today, 21 September, people aged 18 years and under who live in stay-at-home areas and areas of concern across NSW will be able to create a bubble of three friends and visit each other’s homes for play and activity, subject to the following conditions:

  • Each child is allowed to have two designated friends come to their house. These two friends must always be the same, creating a three-person “friends bubble”;
  • All people older than 18 years in all the households must be fully vaccinated;
  • The friends must reside within 5km of each other or in the same LGA; and
  • If parents/carers are dropping children off, they must not stay to interact with other parents or carers.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said our strong vaccination rate has allowed us to make this change to support the wellbeing of young people.
“Parents and children have had a difficult few months, trying to balance both work, often from home, as well as home schooling,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“This change will hopefully make a big difference for families during the school holidays and allow young children and teenagers to catch up and reconnect with their friends.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said at all times, the government has tried to strike a balance between the best possible health outcomes, whilst easing the pressures on families and individuals living in lockdown.
“These latest changes are aimed at giving children more opportunities to be together and balances COVID safety with their mental health and wellbeing,” Mr Hazzard said.
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Sarah Mitchell said this change would also benefit older students, allowing them to create a study bubble ahead of the HSC.
“Year 12 students have had a stressful few months, and with the HSC approaching, a study bubble is a great idea to help students maintain motivation, receive support from a classmate and continue their preparation for the upcoming exams,” Ms Mitchell said.
If you have not booked in for a COVID-19 vaccine please book in as soon as possible.
For the latest information or to book a vaccination appointment visit

$4 million for more green spaces in Sydney

A new urban forest, the upgrading of a significant indigenous site and a waterside boardwalk are part of a $4 million program for new and improved public space projects coming to Greater Sydney.
Minister for Planning and Public Space Rob Stokes today announced the latest recipients of the NSW Government’s Metropolitan Greenspace Program (MGP).
“These are 13 brilliant projects across 12 local government areas which will create and improve sustainable and accessible green spaces for the community to enjoy,” Mr Stokes said.
“This program  recognises the value of our city’s parks and public spaces while giving councils the autonomy to create outdoor venues and attractions that suit the unique communities that use them every day.”
The successful councils are Blacktown City, City of Canada Bay, City of Canterbury Bankstown, Georges River, The Hills Shire, Hornsby Shire, Inner West, Lane Cove, Liverpool City, Northern Beaches, Strathfield and Woollahra.
Mr Stokes said the projects align with the Greater Sydney Green Grid initiative, a network of walking tracks throughout the city’s green spaces.
“Throughout COVID-19 lockdowns, we’ve seen just how important community greenspaces are to our mental health and well-being,” he said.
“The Metro Greenspace Program is the longest running open space grants program in NSW. It started  in 1983 and more than $45 million in funding has  delivered aprroximately  600 green spaces.”
Projects funded under the 2021 MGP  include:

  • A new 1.8 hectare parkland with an urban forest at Strathfield;
  • Development of a masterplan to protect and recognise a significant indigenous site at Liverpool;
  • Construction of a waterside boardwalk along the Canada Bay mangroves;
  • Upgraded pedestrian and bush paths at Pennant Hills Park and Lane Cove National Park;
  • New accessible pathways between Charlie Bali Reserve and Blacktown International Sports Park;
  • Installation of wayfinding signage along the Lane Cove Loop;
  • Final stage of the Gannons Park upgrade in Peaklhurst; and
  • Upgrades to North Harbour Reserve, a key stopping point on the Manly to Spit Bridge Walk.

The successful councils are required to plant at least one tree for every $2,500 received and match the grant funding dollar-for-dollar.
The MGP is aligned with the Premier’s Priority – Greening our City – to have  one million trees planted across Greater Sydney by mid-2022. So far, more than 600,000 have been planted.
A full list of successful MGP applicants is available at:

Mayors and council staff unite to max the vax

Mayors and council workers are united in one voice to urge the state’s local government workforce to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said mayors are taking part in a social media video while council workers are featuring in case studies to encourage other local government workers to get the jab.
“There are more than 48,000 people employed by our state’s 128 local councils and they are vital to keeping our local communities ticking, particularly during challenging times,” Mrs Hancock said.
“These council workers are at the frontline of our communities keeping our streets clean, bins emptied and parks maintained, and we are urging them to get vaccinated so everyone can be and feels safe.
“I am delighted that mayors and council workers are united in their call for the NSW’s local government workforce to roll up their sleeve and protect their colleagues, communities and families from COVID-19.
“Mayors from Greater Hume, Hay, Hornsby, Parramatta and Tamworth feature in a video to spread the message to other mayors, councillors and staff to get vaccinated.
“Council staff from Ballina, Bayside and Gilgandra councils are profiled in case studies to spread the word to other local government workers.”
The promotional materials form part of a campaign launched by the NSW Government last month to encourage the state’s local government workforce to get the jab.
To book a COVID-19 vaccination, visit