ARONAH welcomes the CSHISC’s decision to withdraw support for the Advanced Diploma in naturopathy and Western herbal medicine

September 2014

ARONAH welcomes the decision of the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CSHISC) to withdraw support for Advanced Diploma education in the professions of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine. In fact, ARONAH had pre-empted this decision and from its inception has established a pathway to establish degree minimum standards for new graduates. Even now, ARONAH is still the only organisation accrediting naturopathic and Western herbal medicine practitioners that already has these arrangements in place. ARONAH believes that the establishment of degree-minimum training for the professions of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine brings these professions in line with the standards of training of other professions practising independently within the Australian health system. Since the outset ARONAH has been tirelessly promoting the implementation of degree as minimum standard for entry to the professions of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine.

ARONAH is disappointed that some professional associations have questioned the decision of the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CSHISC) to withdrawal the Advanced Diploma qualification for the professions of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine. Degree-level education in these professions has been readily available for over two decades in Australia, and has been recommended by Australian governments as the minimum requirement for nearly four decades.

Those organisations fighting against the changes to establish degree minimum training for future practitioners are making a deliberate stand to not support the highest standard of naturopathic or herbal medicine training available in Australia. If successful they will not only ensure patients do not have access to the most suitably trained practitioners possible, but will also make it difficult for the professions of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine to be considered appropriate professions for further integration into the broader Australian healthcare system.

In ARONAH’s opinion the development of the Advanced Diploma was erroneous from the outset, as it was developed after degrees in those professions had already been established in both the university and private college sectors. The subsequent availability of Advanced Diploma qualifications created sustainability difficulties for the tertiary education sector training in these professions – a poor outcome for students, the broader profession and for patients. The move to minimum degree-level training is a win for patients, a win for the profession and a win for the broader Australian health system. These minimum standards would be best combined with a system of independent statutory registration through inclusion of the professions of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

ARONAH welcomes the withdrawal of the Advanced Diploma for the professions of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine, and believe that this decision will now allow the profession to focus on ore more pressing needs for its future. ARONAH has been consistent and relentless in these submission processes. ARONAH submissions have been influential in consultations on this issue and others relating to the professions of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine. A copy of ARONAH’s submission to the CSHISC can be found here: ARONAH CSHISC Submission (PDF)