autism excluded from crucial NDIA stakeholder engagement

Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2016
From: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) <>
Organization: Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
To: The Hon C Porter MP <>,, The Hon A Tudge MP <>, The Hon Jane Prentice MP <>
CC: GLANVILLE, Louise <>

Dear Mr Bowen, The Hon. C. Porter MP, The Hon. Mr A. Tudge MP and The Hon. J. Prentice MP,

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, known as A4, is the national grassroots organisation advocating for autistic people, their families, carers and associates. We suggest that A4 can contributions positively to the design of the NDIS in relation to how the NDIS could work for autistic participants. Now over 2.5 years into the NDIS trial and with full roll-out imminent, A4 is disappointed that the NDIA documented its intent to engage stakeholders and develop the NDIS using co-design (see, but we see very little engagement of autism stakeholders in the NDIA's development processes for the NDIS. Engagement about autism is limited so far to reporting on autism in the quarterly reports and the as yet incomplete secret consultation on early intervention.

A4 is disappointed with the cutting, without discernible stakeholder consultation, of essential programs from the previous Helping Children with Autism package: proigrams like the Autism Advisors and Early Days following the introduction of the NDIS, especially in South Australia and the ACT. There is no discussion of the problems that autistic NDIS participants have using allocated funding to pay for appropriate services ... autistic NDIS participants spend less than 60% of allocated funds according to the NDIA's 10th Quarterly Report to COAG Disability Reform Council, 31/12/2015.

A4 notes the NDIA does not involve A4 (or any autism-specific representation we know of) in its regular disability sector CEO meetings/forums (such as the meeting on Fri 19/2). This series of meetings appears to be part of the NDIA's co-design process.

A4 is committed to ensuring the NDIS is the best it can be for autistic participants. We have many constructive suggestions about how the NDIS can better support autistic participants and benefit the nation as a whole.

Please tell us why, given that autism has emerged as the biggest primary disability for NDIS participants, the NDIA omits/excludes autism representation from its NDIS co-design processes and its broader stakeholder engagement activities.

Bob Buckley
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)

Subject: Auto-Reply
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2016 01:48:34 +0000
From: Minister <>
To: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) <>

Thank you for your email to the Hon Christian Porter MP, Minister for Social Services. This is an automatically generated response.

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The Hon. Christian Porter MP
Minister for Social Services

A4's Convenor received a response (29/2/2016) from an NDIA official (the one cc'd into the original letter). It says the NDIA "is currently reviewing [its] stakeholder engagement mechanisms". The letter can be downloaded using the link below.

A4's Convenor also received a letter (28/4/2016) that passes the issue to the NDIA from Minister The Hon. Alan Tudge MP (link below).