By bobb |

Minister's media release

An Autism Advisory Group has been established to provide advice and feedback to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

The establishment of the advisory group reflects the NDIA’s commitment to working with key stakeholders and experts who support people with autism.

The Co-operative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), Amaze, Autistic Self-Advocacy Network - Australia and New Zealand (ASAN), Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorder (AABASD) and the Australian Autism Alliance will be part of the Autism Advisory Group.

The establishment of the advisory group is consistent with the Government’s commitment to a fact-based collaborative approach to issues related to autism and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the NDIA’s unequivocal commitment to delivering quality outcomes for all people with autism, both children and adults.

Among the issues the Advisory Group will be asked to discuss are:

  • The increased prevalence of autism within the Australian population, as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics;
  • The work, funded by the NDIA, but undertaken independently by the Autism CRC to develop a set of best-practice diagnostic guidelines. This work has been submitted to the National Health and Medical Research Council for review;
  • The relevance of the new PEDI-CAT (ASD) as a functional assessment tool in the Australian context;
  • The NDIA’s proposal, as part of its Participant Pathway work, for an independent third party to undertake a pilot to assess which functional assessment tools are most appropriate to assist making eligibility assessments for the NDIS. There will be no cost to individual’s seeking access to the Scheme from the proposed pilot;
  • Whether functional assessment tools can assist with defining the necessary supports for participants to have a better life;
  • The best approach to delivering autism services for eligible NDIS participants and children who receive ECEI services, within the context of broader mainstream autism services.

The NDIA is committed to ensuring the NDIS is equitable, outcomes focussed and, in the interests of all participants, financially sustainable.


While A4 feels that one or more advisory groups on ASD are needed, the Government did not discuss the purpose or the composition of this Autism Advisory Group with A4.

A4 is concerned that the composition of this advisory group excludes important sections of the ASD community, notably parents/families who provide most of the support for autistic people (who are mostly children at this stage, as well as many autistic adults who still live at home with substantial support from their 'informal carers'), and autistic people who are not aligned with ASAN-AUNZ.

Key issues like appropriate early intervention options, behaviour supports and intervention/therapy for people diagnosed after age 6 years are omitted from the initial agenda.

The Government lists A4 as national disability representative organisation but omits A4 from its latest advisory group.

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