State’s First Autism Strategy Launched Today

SA Gov

The Malinauskas Labor Government today launched South Australia’s first State Autism Strategy which sets out a five-year roadmap for government to help improve the lives of Autistic people of all ages and their families.

The SA Autism Strategy 2024-2029 was launched by Premier Peter Malinauskas at Adelaide Zoo this morning and signals another significant milestone in the State Government’s journey to becoming a world leader in autism inclusion.

The launch fulfills an election commitment by the Malinauskas Labor Government to develop the State’s first Autism Strategy – a Strategy where the voices, goals and aspirations of South Australia’s Autistic and autism communities have been the driving force in its development.

The Strategy features seven focus areas:

  • Pathways to diagnosis
  • Positive educational experiences
  • Thriving in the workplace
  • Access to supports and services
  • Participation in the community
  • Access to health and mental health services
  • Interactions with the justice system.

Following today’s launch, the Department of Human Services (DHS) will commence further consultation to develop seven action plans aligned to these focus areas.

There will be wide consultation on these action plans to ensure they are dynamic documents which respond to the needs and aspirations of the Autistic and autism communities.

The new SA Autism Strategy 2024-2029 is available online at https://autismstrategy.sa.gov.au/

As put by Peter Malinauskas

One in four Australians has an Autistic family member and this government made a commitment to help make South Australia the autism inclusive state.

The Autistic and autism communities have long been fighting for change. We have listened and we’re taking action.

The launch of this strategy is another step forward as we continue to realise our goal of becoming a truly accessible and inclusive South Australia.

We have already begun to enact nation-leading change, investing $28.75 million over four years to fund access to an Autism Inclusion Teacher in every public primary school, and introducing an autism diagnostic service for vulnerable clients of the Department of Human Services.

As put by Nat Cook

My department has led this new SA Autism Strategy and I’m really proud of the fact this strategy has been informed by the voices of lived experience at all stages of the development process.

It is one of the most co-designed strategies produced by government in recent times and this reflects our commitment to ongoing collaboration, consultation and engagement with the Autistic and autism communities.

Today’s launch follows one of the largest public consultations processes held in South Australia on disability-related matters. During 2023, the Autistic and autism communities shared their experiences to inform the direction of the Strategy, with over 1,350 submissions received throughout the consultation process.

I wish to thank SA’s Autistic and autism communities for sharing their voices, their personal stories and their feedback, and we should all feel proud of this tremendous outcome.

As put by Emily Bourke

Building knowledge, understanding and belonging – these are the core principles that underpin the State’s first Autism Strategy.

While we have already begun to make significant progress to improve outcomes for our Autistic and autism communities, we know this is only the beginning.

Importantly, we have not waited to make change.

From establishing and investing over $4 million in the Autistic led Office for Autism, creating an Autism Inclusion Charter which is being rolled out across government, creating the ‘AUTISM WORKS’ employment campaign, to bringing autism assessments onto school sites, we are not only leading the nation when it comes to autism inclusion, but have some fantastic initiatives that are already underway that respond to the Strategy’s commitments.

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