Have your say on Australia’s National Autism Strategy from September through to October!
- Families caring for someone with an autism spectrum disorder have been asked to share their thoughts from September 4 to October 16 as a part of the National Autism Strategy
- Although the public submissions portal had newly opened, 15 in-person events will give people the chance to have their say throughout September and October
- Public feedback is hoped to influence future policy
The general public has been asked to contribute to the National Autism Strategy online or in person following a newly released discussion paper. The discussion paper was released to give people with autism spectrum disorders and the people in their lives a greater understanding of how the Strategy will be developed.
Notably, the Government is looking to address key findings from the Select Committee on Autism, delivered in 2022, such as:
- Life outcomes for Australians with autism
- Drivers of poor outcomes for people with autism
- How people understand autism
- Identification of autism
- Service and support environments
- Existing gaps in strategy for autism support and social planning
In May of 2023, the Minister for Social Services announced the establishment of the Oversight Council which included eight autistic community and sector members, two research and professional sector members and six Australian Government members.
Co-chair of the Oversight Council Clare Gibellini said she was pleased to see this phase of the National Autism Strategy development launched today.
“It is vital that we capture the voice of as many autistic Australians as we can so that we can ensure that the Strategy represents autistic people regardless of where they live, their intersectionality or their experiences,” Ms Gibellini said.
“I want to invite and encourage everyone to take part in the consultation process as events and opportunities roll out across the country, to share their thoughts in a format that best works for them.
“I want to assure every autistic person that their contributions, no matter how small, are valued and respected by the Council, and will be considered as we continue to develop this historic first National Autism Strategy for Australia.”
Key priorities for the development of the National Autism Strategy which were identified included:
- Building an understanding of autism within key professions and the wider community
- Improving access to early diagnosis and supports
- Improving service integration and coordination
- Improving education, employment and health services for Autistic people
- Supporting parents and carers
- Establishing a national autism research agenda
The new discussion paper, published online, included a range of discussion questions ahead of future policy, with the public encouraged to respond and give their thoughts through an online survey.
Written, video or audio recording submissions, along with the survey results — which can be completed anonymously — must be sent through prior to the October 16 midnight deadline. Alternatively, an online ‘ideas wall’ has been created for people to share pictures along with text about four key areas: social inclusion, economic inclusion, diagnosis, services and supports, health and mental health.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said that the National Autism Strategy must be informed by the lived experience of those who live with, care for or work in the autism sector.
“I strongly encourage everyone in the autistic community across the nation to have their say on the National Autism Strategy over the coming months,” Minister Rishworth said.
“There will be a range of options to participate in the consultations to suit diverse preferences and needs, including submissions in writing, by phone or video, online workshops and in-person forums that will be held in every State and Territory.
“This is a Strategy for all autistic Australians, wherever they are in their journey. We want to encourage as many people as possible to have their say so we can capture the full diversity of their experiences and what autistic people want and need from the Strategy.”
The 15 different in-person and online webinars can be accessed through the Community Events page online, with dedicated forums specifically for people with autism to contribute independently of the broader community.
The Government committed an additional $3.7 million dollars in the 2023 – ‘24 Budget to undertake consultation and research for the Strategy.
What would you like to see included in the National Autism Strategy and enshrined in policy? Let the Government know and if you feel comfortable, feel free to share your thoughts and get in touch with the team at Talking Disability! Inspire change and inspire an article — your voice matters.