29 September 2023





Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann has encouraged members of the local Autistic community to have their say on a new National Autism Strategy to be developed over the coming months.

The Albanese Labor Government has opened public consultations on Australia’s inaugural national strategy dedicated to improving life outcomes for Autistic people.

Mr Neumann said a discussion paper and guided questionnaire was available online, and he called for people in Ipswich, the Somerset Region and Karana Downs area to make submissions, with forums, focus groups and workshops to be held across the country in the next few months.

“The National Autism Strategy is for all Autistic Australians, including in our local community, and will look at key areas including access to services, healthcare, education and employment,” he said.

“It’s estimated there are more than 1,300 people with Autism in my electorate of Blair, with many experiencing lower life expectancy than non-Autistic people, particularly for those with a co-occurring medical condition.” 

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said it was vital the strategy be informed by the experiences of Autistic people and their families and carers, as well as professionals in the Autism sector.

“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.”

The National Autism Strategy Oversight Council, comprising representatives of the Autistic community, the sector, researchers and Government officials, was announced in May 2023 to guide the development of the strategy.

Co-chair of the Oversight Council Clare Gibellini said she was pleased to see this phase of the National Autism Strategy development being rolled out.

“I want to assure every Autistic person that their contributions, no matter how small, are valued and respected by the Oversight Council, and will be considered as we continue to develop this historic first National Autism Strategy for Australia.”

Consultation on the development of the draft Strategy is open until 30 October 2023.

More information about the development of the strategy and how to participate in the consultations is available on the Department of Social Services website: https://engage.dss.gov.au/developing-the-national-autism-strategy/

Complementing this, the Albanese Government is supporting Australians with autism by extending funding for the Autism Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), totalling $4 million in 2023-24.

In operation since 2013, Autism CRC is an independent national source of evidence for best practice in relation to autism across the lifespan and the spectrum.

Mr Neumann said the Government was supporting the capacity and wellbeing of autistic Australians through evidence-based best practice guidelines.

“This new funding underscores the Government’s commitment to supporting evidence-based policy approaches, and will empower Autism CRC to continue and expand its valuable role.

“The Government will work with Autism CRC to make sure that engagement on the National Autism Strategy is inclusive and Autistic people’s lived experiences are considered alongside evidence-based understanding and best practice.”

Of the $4 million in funding, $1.35 million is being provided through the Support for People with Autism measure to enable Autism CRC to continue its work supporting the development of the strategy.

A further $2.65 million, funded under the Information, Linkages and Capacity (ILC) Mainstream Capacity Building Program, will be used to embed current evidence-based professional practice in service systems to assist individuals, families and carers of people with Autism to make informed choices, and increase the inclusive capacity of Australian clinicians, schools and workplaces.

More information about the ILC program is available on the Department of Social Services website: https://www.dss.gov.au/disability-and-carers-programs-services-for-people-with-disability-information-linkages-and-capacity-building-ilc/information-linkages-and-capacity-building-program-ilc-funded-projects