letter: exclusion of autism from NDIS Independent Advisory Council

Submitted by bobb on Sun, 2/7/2017 - 09:47

The Hon Christian Porter MP
Minister for Social Services
Parliament House

cc: The Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services; Mr Alastair McEwin, Disability Discrimination Commissioner; Mr David Bowen, NDIA CEO; Dr Helen Nugent AO, Chair of the NDIA Board.


Dear The Hon. C. Porter MP

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, known as A4, notes that the NDIA Board and the Government announced new membership for the NDIS Independent Advisory Council (IAC).

A4 does not recognise anyone on the NDIS IAC, or among the IAC’s 5 additional “expert advisers”, with significant experience, expertise or a discernible interest in autistic people. Apparently, the NDIA’s Independent Advisory Council is independent of autism-related advice.

Is there some reason that the NDIA and the Government made the IAC exclusive of autistic people and representation?

According to NDIS data, autistic people made up over 30% of NDIS participants in the NDIS trial and over 25% of NDIS intake since the full NDIS roll-out started in July 2016.

When autistic people are at least 25% of NDIS participants, how is an exclusion of autistic people and autistic interests from the NDIS IAC appropriate?

A4 also notes that the NDIA claims "around 70 per cent of the participants in the NDIS have an intellectual disability" (see here, for example) so the NDIA has an Intellectual Disability Reference Group (IDRG). The NDIA needs to include autistic NDIS participants in its intellectual disability category for this to be true. Note that autistic people are a high proportion (close to 50%) of such a combined group. Also note that most reports show fewer than 50% of autistic people have comorbid intellectual disability, so the NDIA's category title is incorrect: apparently, the NDIA's "intellectual disability" category includes around 25% who do not have intellectual disability.

Again, A4 cannot see any recognised representation for the ASD community on the NDIA's IDRG. Nor does the NDIA have an autism reference group.

Why does the Government and the NDIA exclude autistic people from its disability stakeholder engagement? Why does the Government exclude autism/ASD from funded disability peak bodies?


Bob Buckley
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
website: http://a4.org.au/

A4 is the national grassroots organisation advocating for autistic people, their families, carers and associates. A4 is internet based so that Australians anywhere can participate.

“The first step in solving any problem is recognising there is one.” Jeff Daniels as Will McEvoy in The Newsroom.

The Government's response is available at http://a4.org.au/node/1691 

Subject: Auto-Reply
Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2017 23:41:20 +0000
From: Minister <Minister@dss.gov.au>
To: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) <convenor@a4.org.au>

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

Subject: RE: exclusion of autism from NDIS Independent Advisory Council
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2017 22:54:37 +0000
From: Prentice, Jane (MP) <Jane.Prentice.MP@aph.gov.au>
To: 'Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor)' <convenor@a4.org.au>


Thank you for taking the time to contact my office, please accept this as confirmation that your email has been received.

Due to the large number of emails received each day, it is not possible to reply immediately. 

However your email has been forwarded to the Department to provide a response as soon as possible. 

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Yours sincerely

OFFICE OF THE HON. JANE PRENTICE MP | Federal Member for Ryan | Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services

Suite R1-93, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600. Telephone: (02) 6277 4426