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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14716

Mr WALLACE (Fisher) (10:28): Mark and Gayle Forbes are an inspiration to anyone who is fortunate enough to know them. Rather than let their family's experience with eating disorders dictate their futures, Mark and his family took it upon themselves to help other families living with the same challenges. They had a vision: to build Australia's first residential specialist treatment facility for eating disorders, a comfortable homelike environment set on a beautiful rural property where sufferers could recover and grow. Unwilling to wait for the project's funding to come together, Mark bought the block of land that endED Butterfly House will occupy with a generous donation from Roy and Nola Thompson. Since then he has gathered pledges of support from 36 local businesses, who have promised to donate or provide free goods and services for the build.

But for all their hard work and dedication, Mark and Gayle cannot do this alone. That's why I was proud and overjoyed to be able to tell Mark yesterday morning that the Liberal-National government is providing endED Butterfly House with $4.5 million in the 2019-20 federal budget. This is in addition to the $1.5 million I announced to support the house's construction last year and the $180,000 I announced weeks ago to support their passionate recovery coaches, Millie Thomas and Laura Chamberlain. A small portion of this funding will make up the remaining shortfall needed for the house's construction. The bulk, however, will go towards Commonwealth support for specialist residential care for public patients at the facility over the next four years. It will ensure that best practice in-patient treatment is available on the Sunshine Coast for the most vulnerable people who could not otherwise afford it.

This funding is part of the Liberal-National government's $70.2 million program to establish six residential eating disorder centres across Australia, no doubt inspired by Mark's example and the national leadership that endED and the Butterfly Foundation are providing. The Minister for Health has shown great dedication to helping people living with an eating disorder and helping their families, and, in particular, he's done a huge amount to support endED. The minister should be congratulated for his focus on the deadly conditions. I'm grateful to him for being so available to Mark and I, and so receptive to our advocacy for endED Butterfly House. As we celebrate this lifesaving funding, we should remember that it is only through a strong economy that we're able to deliver it. The Liberal-National government can afford to make this difference for people who are suffering because we are securing a strong economy which can pay for the services that we need.