The Coalition announced plans to develop a national autism strategy if re-elected. In a joint statement on Saturday, Anne Ruston, minister for families and social services, and Hollies Hughes, senator NSW and chair of the Select committee on Autism, have pledged $1 million to develop a strategy within the next year.
Regardless of who wins the federal election, Australia is now set to develop a national autism strategy. Advocacy groups and autistic individuals have welcomed the announcement. The planned National Autism strategy is set to assist many Australians.
“One in every 30 school-aged Australian children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum, with many experiencing loneliness, isolation, exclusion and discrimination” Ruston said.
“This comes at an enormous personal, social and economic cost to these Australians and their families.”
The weekend announcement by the Minister Anne Ruston and Senator Hollie Hughes included six focus areas on what the national strategy would address.
- A roadmap to better integrate mainstream services for people with autism;
- A public education campaign about the diversity of the ASD spectrum;
- Action items for quality, evidence-based information about autism; measures to monitor and report on the social inclusion of autistic people;
- A suitable workforce to deliver services; and
- Identification of ways to prioritise the employment of autistic people that are compatible with the Disability Employment Strategy.
Along with the $1 million for the National autism strategy, a further $1.3 million was promised. With the money going towards the Autism Cooperative research centre.
Senator Hollie Hughes
Saturday’s announcement confirms the commitment of both major parties
The announcement comes after Labor also committed to the Strategy. Shadow Minister for the NDIS, Bill Shorten, emphasised that the proposed National Autism Strategy will be a whole-of-life strategy for all Autistic people, not just those eligible for the NDIS. The Strategy would be informed by the findings of the Disability Royal Commission and the Senate Select Committee Inquiry into Autism.