Funding to support National Autism Strategy development

16 May 2022

Autism CRC welcomes today’s funding commitment by the ALP of $2M to enable Autism CRC to support the development of a National Autism Strategy, underpinned by a national research agenda and evidence-based practice.

This follows the earlier commitment by the Coalition of $1.3M for a similar purpose.

We are pleased that both the ALP and the Coalition have committed to developing a National Autism Strategy, each committing $1M to its development.

In supporting the development of a national strategy, both campaigns have committed to its foundation in research and evidence. This is essential to the delivery of the Strategy’s objectives and quality outcomes for the community.

We look forward to working with government and all stakeholders in developing a national strategy, and continuing to play a leading role in the national coordination of research and its application in evidence-based best practice.

Over the past decade, Autism CRC has become Australia’s independent national source of evidence for best practice in relation to autism across the lifespan. Through our Cooperative Research Centres Program, Autism CRC has delivered national practice standards and guidance, supports and capacity-building resources for individuals, professionals and communities – all informed by evidence. These include:

  • Australia’s first national guideline for the assessment and diagnosis of autism, approved by the NHMRC. Developed for use by clinicians and consumers, over 27,000 individuals have accessed the guideline with its associated practice resources. A national guideline for the evidence-based provision of supports for children on the autism spectrum and their families is similarly being developed.
  • The inclusionED platform, which provides inclusive education practices and professional development resources. Almost 40,000 teachers, allied health professionals and parents have engaged with the online platform to date.
  • The myWAY Employability career planning web application for prospective employees and The Integrated Employment Success Tool for employers, supporting successful transition to employment and inclusive workplaces and practices. Over 20,000 have accessed these resources to date.
  • Autism HealthPathways online practice resources and professional development resources – both for primary healthcare providers – supporting improved health service delivery and wellbeing. Approximately 10,000 GPs have accessed these resources.

Essential to delivery, Autism CRC has committed to a national collaborative model, working with all stakeholders – individuals on the autism spectrum, families, professionals, services providers and government – addressing agreed needs and co-producing outcomes with those stakeholders.
Despite gains over recent years, there remains much to do.
For a growing number of Australians on the autism spectrum and their families, life outcomes in education, vocation, physical and mental health, social connection and family functioning continue to be far from optimal. Throughout our work, we have identified many areas of need yet to be addressed with evidence-based understanding and practice – consistently across states, territories and service systems – including for the most marginalised in our community, such as those in regional and remote communities and those with complex needs and their families. The recent report by the Senate Select Committee on Autism has shed further light on these areas of significant need.
We again welcome the commitments made to develop a National Autism Strategy and to Autism CRC, and look forward to working with government and all stakeholders in the Strategy’s development and implementation.