National Autism Strategy Oversight Council
The National Autism Strategy Oversight Council will guide the development of the Strategy. The Oversight Council includes an autistic co-chair and a majority of members from the autistic community, sector representatives, researchers with some members from relevant Australian Government departments.
The Oversight Council will oversee the co-design work of the four Working groups to develop and implement the National Autism Strategy.
- Social inclusion
- Economic inclusion
- Diagnosis, supports and services
- Mental health (National Roadmap to Improve the Health and Mental Health of Autistic People).
Membership for the Oversight Council was announced in May 2023. Members are:
- Autistic Co-Chair of the Council, Mrs Clare Gibellini
- Associate Professor Josephine Barbaro (Research and professional and Autistic community sector member)
- Renay Barker-Mulholland (Autistic community and sector member)
- Mrs Victoria Gottliebsen (Research and professional sector member and Autistic community sector member)
- Ms Jenny Karavolos (Autism community and sector member)
- Mr Sebastian Langdon-Macmillan (Autistic community and sector member)
- Ms Heidi La Paglia Reid (Autistic community and sector member)
- Mr Andrew Pfeiffer (Autistic community and sector member)
- Andrew Shim (Autistic community and sector member)
- Along with 6 Australian Government representatives including:
- Co-chair, Mr Luke Mansfield – Department of Social Services
- Dr Sam Bennett – National Disability Insurance Agency
- Mr Simon Cotterell – Department of Health and Aged Care
- Ms Dannie Edmonds – Department of Education
- Ms Genevieve Quilty – Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
- Ms Erin Rule – Department of Employment and Workplace Relations
Council members were selected through an open expression of interest (EOI) process, which closed in March 2023. The Hon Amanda Rishworth, MP made the final selection from a shortlist. The EOI was conducted by Disability Representative Organisations and Autism CRC who sought nominations from the autistic community and sector, and research and professional sector.
The Oversight Council will meet at intervals of between 6 weeks and 3 months. Short meeting updates will be provided on this page within 3 weeks of each meeting.
Meeting update – 17 May 2023
All Oversight Council members met in person in Canberra (Ngunnawal/Ngambri country) and online. Key items covered in the meeting included:
- The Oversight Council discussed the Terms of Reference. The Terms of Reference outline the scope, and priorities and limitations of what the Oversight Council will consider. These were agreed by members subject to some minor adjustments. The finalised Terms of Reference will be published on this web page in the coming weeks.
- Autism CRC presented its preliminary insights and co-design approach for the national consultation. Autism CRC has been supporting the Department of Social Services with early research and engagement to inform the engagement approach for the National Autism Strategy that is currently being planned.
- Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth MP visited and thanked members for their commitment to make positive changes for autistic people. There was the opportunity for some discussion on how the Strategy will work across government.
- Three graduates from the Autism CRC Sylvia Rodger Academy shared their autistic experience including key considerations for engaging with autistic people.
- Next steps to progress the roles and membership of the 3 Working Groups (social inclusion, economic inclusion and diagnosis supports and services) was discussed.
Meeting update – 3 July 2023
The third meeting of the Oversight Council was held online. Key items covered in the meeting included:
- The Oversight Council agreed to finalise the Terms of Reference as a priority and discussed actions and outcomes from the 17 May 2023 meeting. Once finalised, the Terms of Reference will be published on this web page.
- The Department of Social Services gave an update on the approach to market for a supplier to deliver the national consultations. National consultations are due to start in September 2023. Information on how to be involved in the consultations will be available on the National Autism Stratgey page.
- The Oversight Council discussed the process for finalising roles and representation of the following three Working Groups - social inclusion, economic inclusion and diagnosis supports and services. This was an opportunity for members to discuss key themes that have emerged under the outcome areas. Working groups are expected to be finalised and operational by September 2023. Membership of the Health Roadmap Working Group has already been determined by the Department of Health and Aged Care.
- The next meeting is planned to be face-to-face in Canberra, the third week of August 2023.
Meeting update – 16 August 2023
All Oversight Council members met in person in Canberra (Ngunnawal/ Ngambri country) and online. Key items covered in the meeting included:
- The Oversight Council endorsed:
- 3 July 2023 meeting minutes (with minor edits) and acknowledge receipt of the ratified Terms of Reference on 27 July 2023
- The Oversight Council discussed and advised on:
- membership of the three Working Groups: social inclusion; economic inclusion; and diagnosis, supports and services, including Co-Chair profiles and to increase numbers and representation of minority groups including autistic culturally and linguistic diverse people and older people among others. Working Groups membership was finalised by the Department of Social Services and Working Groups are expected to be operational by September 2023. It is expected that expertise will be invited in to Working Group meetings on an as needs basis.
- the National Autism Strategy development timeline, the 2023 Oversight Council meeting schedule, and the Work Program that government provided including the implications, risks, opportunities and potential strategies.
- research papers prepared to inform development of the Strategy and the national consultation and engagement process. These reports include:
- Community insights and unheard perspectives: Recommendations for inclusive community engagement in the National Autism Strategy; and
- Research evidence, policy and landscape mapping to inform the National Autism Strategy
- research papers developed by select Disability Representative Organisation to inform development of the Strategy and the national consultation and engagement process. These papers focus on the unique experiences and challenges faced by:
- Autistic First Nations people;
- Autistic women and girls;
- Autistic people who also have an intellectual disability and;
- Lessons learnt for a National Autism Strategy.
- A senior official from Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People, New Zealand Government, presented on the development of the New Zealand Autism Spectrum Disorder Guideline. This session discussed insights and learnings from developing the guideline and the potential opportunities in developing the National Autism Strategy.
- A workshop is to be held to discuss potential options for the structure of the National Autism Strategy on 31 August. Ideas from this workshop will be further developed over coming months and be informed by the autistic community through national engagement and consultations.
- The next meeting will be held online on 26 September 2023.
Keep up to date
Stay informed and involved in the National Autism Strategy by subscribing to updates at AutismPolicy@dss.gov.au.