Autism Queensland will be funded for the first time as one of nine of the state’s peak disability bodies to share in $4.2 million to support persons with disabilities in Queensland.
Disability Services Minister Craig Crawford said half of all young children in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) have a diagnosis of autism.
“We want to support the one in every five Queenslanders living with disability including young people and adults with autism,’’ Mr Crawford said.
“The Queensland Disability Peak and Representative Bodies – Inclusion Program, is an example of policy in action.
“It will deliver accessible and disability-specific information and referral services to people with disability, their families and carers, and promote community awareness.
“Funded organisations also provide expert advice and feedback to government on a range of matters impacting people with disability, including ways to increase their employment.”
Autism Queensland chief executive Pam Macrossan said they were grateful for the funding to help provide a help line and support autistic people to be part of mainstream society and live their best lives.
“When disability funding went from the state to the NDIS, some advocacy programs fell through the cracks,’’ she said.
“It is great to have the recognition and wonderful for the state government to be filling the gap.”
Latest figures show there are more than 250,000 Australians with autism – with a prevalence rate of one in 70 – while autism is much more prevalent in children than adults.
Xavier Children’s Support Network CEO Richard Littler said his organisation is delighted to be able to expand their work to help more Queensland children and families.
“From our experience, we know how difficult it can be for families to gather reliable information and resources, and importantly to find services to meet their needs, especially in regional parts of Queensland,” he said.
“All too often there are roadblocks which make access to services difficult, where even the smallest steps like getting the right information and facilitating connections can make a big difference.
“This welcome and timely Queensland Government Program will enable Xavier to support families of children diagnosed with development delay and global development, to quickly access a range of resources and information online and via phone support.
“We will also assist families to connect with services to meet their child’s needs”.
Minister Crawford said the Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring that all Queenslanders with disability, no matter where they live, have access to the support they need to fully participate in opportunities to help them thrive socially and economically.
Mr Crawford said the $4.2m over three years peak body funding program is another example of how the Queensland Government is building an inclusive state, where all Queenslanders can access better services, good jobs, and a great lifestyle.
“We are focused on a Queensland where every person, including the one in five Queenslanders with disability, can reach their full potential.”
For more information on the Queensland Disability Peak and Representative Bodies Inclusion Program visit: https://www.qld.gov.au/disability/adults/peak-body-support.