The Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists has been established to provide minimum standards of education and practice for naturopathy and Western herbal medicine. The Board has developed this independent register which mirrors government requirements for the regulation of health practitioners.  Specifically, ARONAH mirrors the statutorily regulated Boards administered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. Naturopathy and Western herbal medicine are not regulated professions in Australia and do not currently fall under this scheme.
The ARONAH register opened in July 2013.

Why do we need Registration/Regulation of the Naturopathic profession in Australia?

The Naturopathic profession is not current recognised as a registered profession under AHPRA. There are currently 16 health professions regulated under AHPRA’s National Scheme, each having core registration standards relevant to the practice of each profession. These standards are an important part of regulation for each profession and inform decision-making when concerns are raised about practitioner’s conduct, health, or performance. It is important that when a patient sees a health practitioner in Australia that they have a minimum level of education behind them, and that they follow ethical guidelines as set out by their profession. For example, when seeing a doctor in Australia, it is assumed that they have a medical degree. The same can not be said for naturopaths. In fact anyone can call themselves a naturopath with no training at all. In 2005 the Victorian state government commissioned a report to investigate whether naturopaths and herbalists should be registered. The report, entitled The Practice and Regulatory Requirements for Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine found that registration of naturopaths and WHM practitioners should be a requirement of the professions. This report has been tabled at the Council of Australian Governments since 2008 and is still still not included in the registration scheme.

In Australia, in lieu of statutory regulations, an independent self-regulatory body has been established which mirrors the standards upheld by currently registered professions – the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH). ARONAH was created to prepare the professions of Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine (WHM) for statutory registration and is active in petitioning the federal and state governments of Australia to include naturopathy and WHM as an AHPRA-registered profession. The standards of practice by which ARONAH membership is determined are outlined on the ARONAH documents page https://www.aronah.org/aronah-documents/

Global Naturopathic Regulation

Naturopathy is practiced in every world region, spanning over eighty countries. Statutory registration of the naturopathic profession currently exists in jurisdictions in North America, India, Europe and Latin America. The profession is represented globally by the World Naturopathic Federation (WNF) which aims to promote the highest quality in standards of education and practice of the naturopathic profession through supporting regulation and accreditation of the profession, promoting conferences and research activities, and maintaining a record of Naturopathic organisations who are working to further naturopathy in their respective countries. WNF works with professional naturopathic associations which support and are working toward regulation in their specific countries. Recognised associations and other groups (such as ARONAH) who are members of the WNF must also support educational accreditation and advancement of educational standards.

The statutory regulation of naturopathy, like all other health professionals, is strongly correlated with educational standards and is influenced by the political landscape in each country and the regulation of other traditional and complementary systems of medicine in the region. Statutory regulation of the naturopathic profession currently exists in jurisdictions in North America, India, Europe and Latin America.  For those countries / regions that do not yet have regulation, the WNF encourages that professional naturopathic associations engage in self-governance activities that protect the public as they work towards regulation. (http://worldnaturopathicfederation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Global-Naturopathic-Regulation_finalb.pdf)

Highest educational standards recognised in Australia

Following the WNF model of promoting accreditation and the highest educational standards for the global naturopathic profession, ARONAH requires practitioner membership to hold the highest current qualification, being the Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy). The Community Services and Health Industries Skills Council removed the Advanced Diploma of naturopath and Western herbal medicine from health training package in July 2014, allowing this qualification to be taught until December 21, 2018. However ARONAH recognises those practitioners who completed the Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy prior to December, 2018. And joining ARONAH for naturopaths and western herbalists with an advanced diploma or diploma has been extended to December 2023 https://www.aronah.org/grandfathering-date-is-changed-to-2023-for-advanced-diplomas/

No-one needs to upgrade their qualifications to a bachelor degree as these diplomas and advanced are recognised under the grandfathering requirements, however any practitioners wishing to upgrade their qualifications are advised to seek further study or recognition of prior studies from training organisations which offer the Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy or Western herbal medicine). https://www.aronah.org/qualifying-as-a-naturopath-or-western-herbalist-in-australia/

History of ARONAH

A Steering Committee was set up in mid-2009 to establish a Board and Register. The steering committee was made up of a group of individuals with naturopathic and/or Western herbal medicine training who were committed to:
  • helping the naturopathic and Western herbal medicine professions achieve and maintain a level of excellence and also promoting public health
  • initiating and developing the process of registration for these professions to safeguard the public

Details of the Steering Committee can be found here: Steering Committee Details

The Steering Committee called for applications for Board positions, in line with the procedures set out by the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, which were advertised in The Australian, via media release and online. All major organisational stakeholders were also given written notification of this call.

An independent Selection Committee – a tribunal of eminent Australians with experience in corporate governance and no link to the health professions – selected the Board members from these applications in the Board Selection Criteria based on that outlined in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

Selection Committee details can be found here: Selection Committee details