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E-bulletin 1 (October 2020)

This is the first in a series of information bulletins about the Naturopaths Registration Research Project (the NRR Project).

The NRR Project is a joint initiative of member organisations of the Australian Naturopathic Council (ANC).

The ANC has initiated this project to research the risks, the benefits and the regulatory requirements for the naturopathy profession. The research will inform the preparation of a submission from ANC member organisations to State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments to seek national registration of naturopaths under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for the health professions (NRAS).

The NRR Project has been financed by members of the naturopathy profession following a successful crowd funding campaign. A matched grant of $20,000 generously has been provided by Dr Marcus Blackmore AM. Substantial volunteer resources are being provided by ANC member organisations and naturopathic academics.   

A bit of history

Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine (WHM) professional associations have sought government statutory registration from time to time. The last formal submission to government for statutory registration of naturopaths was made by the NHAA back in 2005, following publication of a research report commissioned by the Victorian Government (the Lin Report 2005). The Lin Report documented substantial risks associated with the practice of naturopathy and recommended statutory registration for naturopaths and WHM practitioners. To read this report go to:

In 2005, all State, Territory and Commonwealth governments considered the NHAA submission, but decided to defer a decision until after the establishment of the NRAS.

In 2010, the NRAS commenced operation with 10 nationally regulated health professions. In 2012, following a long campaign that started in earnest in Victoria in the mid-1990s, the Chinese medicine profession was successful in securing national registration under the NRAS.

There are now 16 health professions regulated under the NRAS, including chiropractic, osteopathy and most recently, paramedicine. Each profession is regulated by its own National Board, with administrative support provided by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). For more information on the NRAS and AHPRA, go to:

Why now?

The ANC considers it timely for governments to reconsider the need for national registration for the naturopathy profession.

Although the NRAS started operation in 2010, it was not until the end of 2018 that the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (the heads of all State, Territory and Commonwealth Health Departments) published long awaited guidelines for professional associations about how to apply for inclusion of a profession in the NRAS. To read these AHMAC regulatory assessment guidelines go to:

Scope, research team and timing

The NRR Project builds upon and updates the 2005 Lin Report. Amongst other things, it will encompass a thorough and systematic examination of theAustralian naturopathy/WHM workforce, the consumers who use naturopathic services, as well as the education landscape, the associations and groups that represent the profession, and a risk analysis of the practice of naturopathy.

The scope of the research is to encompass naturopathic practice including WHM practice and practitioners.

Dr Anne-Louise Carlton, a consultant with extensive experience in health workforce regulation, has been commissioned to assist with the research and preparation of the government submission.

A research team has been formed, comprising:

  • Dr Anne-Louise Carlton – RMIT University
  • Dr Amie Steel – University of Technology Sydney
  • Professor Jon Wardle – Southern Cross University

Some of the researchers who contributed to the original Lin Report have also been invited to assist with the project.

It is expected that the research will be completed by mid to late 2021.