Australian Associated Press
"We need to know the extent of autism in Australia so we can properly support people with ASD." Bill Shorten
A national register will be created to track the rising incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Australia, the federal government has announced.
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services Bill Shorten told a regional autism conference in Sydney that a register would help improve government support services.
"The autism community has been advocating for a comprehensive approach to national data collection for many years," Mr Shorten said on Thursday at the Asia Pacific Autism Conference 2009.
"We need to know the extent of autism in Australia so we can properly support people with ASD."
Establishing a register was a key recommendation of a 2007 report commissioned by The Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders (AABASD).
The AABASD, a WA-based register and other stakeholders will lodge a report detailing a proposed model for the register with Mr Shorten's department by September 30.
"The government will consider the range of options in the report, before making progress to develop the register," Mr Shorten said.
The government last year announced a $190 million Helping Children with Autism Package.
The brain development disorder affects one in 160 Australians. The rate of diagnosis is increasing, partly due to increased understanding.