Convenor's Message: toward a National Autism Strategy
I apologise for being so long between A4 Updates. I have no excuse.
We've been busy since the federal election. The new government promised a National Autism Strategy (NAS) and A4 has been working hard, with others in the autism sector (especially the Australian Autism Alliance, ASfAR and Amaze), to help the government create the best National Autism Strategy that we can. So far, the Department of Health and Ageing has been the agency that is most interested in moving forward (see Brief & meeting with Health officials - a National Autism Strategy in health and an Autism Roadmap). Other key government departments and agencies seem to be waiting for "guidance" from the coming Budget.
A4's main role is systemic advocacy. That means we advise the government and others what is happening for autistic people, and how better policy and programs can improve the lives of autistic people. Our advocacy work is visible on our website: see https://a4.org.au/advocacy and is the list below.
A4 is keen to hear from its members on issue that the government wants us to comment on, so please send us your comments (or send your comments directly to the government). Current issues of interest to various government agencies include:
- the National Autism Strategy in relation to diagnosis, education, employment, health & well-being, Australia's injustice system, social security, etc.
- NDIS issues including:
- the Government's major review of the NDIS.
- home and living strategy and policy
- supported decision-making
- changes to the Disability Support Pension impairment tables (see https://engage.dss.gov.au/proposed-changes-to-the-disability-support-pension-dsp-impairment-tables/)
- Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031: Consultation to inform the Strategy Guides (see https://engage.dss.gov.au/ads-consultations-develop-guide-evaluation/)
- the Capacity and Culture of the NDIS (see https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/National_Disability_Insurance_Scheme/CapabilityandCulture). A4 made an initial submission.
- A4 is represented on the Insights Working Group for the new National Disability Data Asset (NDDA, see https://ndda.dss.gov.au/pilot-findings-now-available/)
Communication between A4 and the NDIA has improved since the previous newsletter. A4 now has a monthly Sector Engagement Meeting with the NDIA's Engagement Team to discuss autism and the NDIS. It's early days but we remain hopeful.
Please help A4
A4 needs your help. Good advocacy depends on people being involved and diverse views.
- we like to have more people in A4's Management Group. This is a chance to directly influence and contribute to our systemic advocacy for autism. If you are interested or have questions, then please contact us (email firstname.lastname@example.org). We are especially keen to include more autistic people in our leadership, but anyone living with autism is especially welcome.
- if you want to say something about an autism-related issue, including the issues above, please let us now. A4's advocacy is responsive to government but driven by its membership. Our job is to voice the varied views of our members and the autism community.
- we need some help maintaining our website and producing newsletters.
- please encourage your friends and contacts to sign up on A4's website - it's free - the main service is our occasional newsletter and to suggest you send us your views.
Please, please! If you feel you can help, then get in touch. If you are unsure, and would like to know how we keep the effort involved to a minimum, email to set up a chat.