Victorians on the autism spectrum have been reassured that a comprehensive Autism State Plan will be established with $22 million being pledged by the State Government.
The multi-million dollar investment comes after key findings were presented in a Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry.
Amaze, the peak body for autistic people and their families in Victoria welcomes the Government’s response in aiming to address the disadvantage, stigma and discrimination that autistic community face everyday.
Chief Executive Officer Fiona Sharkie believes the autism community’s voice has been heard.
“The Victorian autism community can be confident that the Government has listened to their stories and experiences shared over the past two years – the time for action for autism is now,” she says.
Recent polling commissioned by Amaze shows that nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of people acknowledge that autism and associated behaviours are still very misunderstood by the broader community.
It also revealed that 72 percent of Australians believe schools, workplaces and the wider community need to have a better understanding on how to support people on the autism spectrum.
Alongside the State Plan, a public education strategy to build broader community understanding of autism, a dedicated education strategy for autistic students and much needed action in health and mental health services will also be introduced.
“We could not have achieved this commitment from the Government without the autism community coming together and calling on the Government to take action via the 101 campaign to which 5000 Victorians petitioned the Premier (Daniel Andrews),” Mrs Sharkie says.
Amaze looks forward to working with their peer organisations and the Government to engage people on the spectrum and their families in the implementation of these initial actions and the development of a new Autism State Plan.