The local Autistic* and autism communities are being called up to help design South Australia’s first Autism Strategy and Charter.

A forum will be held at 6 pm on Monday 23rd January 2023 at the Gawler Riverside Centre, 17 Edith Street, Gawler East, to receive feedback from local Autistic and Autism Communities on a discussion paper released in December as part of the process for public consultation on the strategy.

The forum will be led by the Assistant Minister for Autism, the Hon Emily Bourke MLC and local Member of Parliament, Mr Tony Piccolo.

Mr Piccolo said the discussion paper has been informed by a roundtable event attended by 19 Autistic* adults. Local social profit disability organisation JFA Purple Orange was engaged to host the event.

“The Discussion Paper seeks feedback from members of the Autistic and autism communities on a range of topics including autonomy and diversity, safety, sense of belonging, government services, health and wellbeing, education and the workforce,” said Mr Piccolo.

“It is the voices, goals, and aspirations of South Australia’s Autistic and autism communities that will be the driving force behind the State’s first Autism Strategy. “

“More than 200,000 Australians are Autistic and one in four Australians has an Autistic family member.”

“Autism is also the largest primary disability group in the NDIS, and South Australia sits above the national average, with 39 per cent of our NDIS participants having autism.”

The State Government will use the feedback to develop a charter that all State Government agencies will be required to adopt.

People planning to attend the forum are requested their interest at by the close of business, Thursday 19th January 2023.  Alternatively, they can contact the Light Electorate Office on 85 222878 to register your interest to attend.

Autism focused stakeholders are welcome to host a stall at the forum by registering their interest at by the close of business on Monday 16th January 2023 to secure a space for your stall.  

Mr Piccolo said as the state’s largest employer, the State Government can lead by example by creating more inclusive workplaces for Autistic workers.

The Malinauskas Labor Government has already committed to:

• $28.79 million over four years to fund an Autism Inclusion Teacher in every public primary school from the beginning of Term 1, 2023

• An increase to the number of autism-qualified staff in preschools

• Access to support services in children’s centres

• $50 million to fund 100 additional speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists and counsellors in the public school system

• The nation’s first Assistant Minister for Autism

*Language disclaimer - We recognise there are people in the Autistic and autism communities who prefer person-first language, people who prefer identity-first language, and people who use the terms interchangeably.