In consultation with the autism community, Amaze writes policy advice and submissions to state and federal governments to ensure the needs of Autistic people and their families are voiced and heard to influence positive systemic change.
Below are the most recent submissions by Amaze that are available for download.
Amaze made a submission to the Australian Government Department of Education’s review of the impact of Covid-19 on school students with disability.
The submission highlights the key impacts of Covid-19 on Autistic students with disability. It also encourages the government to learn from the well-known negative impacts of remote learning on many Autistic students and their families, as well as the positive impacts experienced by some students and their families. In the case of, and to prepare for any future public health emergencies, it encouraged the government to:
The Review report will be provided to the Federal Minister for Education during 2023.
While the Victorian Government has implemented several nation leading reforms since Victoria’s 2017 Parliamentary Inquiry into Services for Autistic people, much still needs to be done to create a Victoria where Autistic people are properly supported, included and heard.
In the lead up to the Victorian State election on 26 November 2022, Victorian autism sector organisations Amaze, Aspergers Victoria, Different Journeys, I CAN Network, Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre and Yellow Ladybugs have released a joint paper calling on candidates to stand with Autistic people and commit to Autistic leadership and inclusion.
United, Victorian autism organisations call on all Victorian election candidates to commit to:
Amaze made a submission to the Victorian Government’s Discussion Paper for the Victorian Eating Disorders Strategy.
Amaze attended a targeted consultation on neurodiversity and eating disorders on 7 November 2022 with Yellow Ladybugs and Different Journeys.
We emphasised the importance of the strategy being led by people with lived experience and Autistic people being recognised as a priority group under the Strategy.
Amaze made a submission to the Victorian Government’s Disability Inclusion Draft Exposure Bill. The Bill proposes a new Disability Inclusion Act to replace the current Disability Act. More information about the Bill is available on the Engage Victoria website.
Amaze’s submission encouraged the government to enshrine in the new Act:
Amaze, alongside Aspergers Victoria, Yellow Ladybugs, Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, Different Journeys, and I CAN Network, hosted the first ever Autism@VicParliament event in June 2022. The event coincided with the 5 year anniversary of the the landmark Victorian Parliament Inquiry into Autism report.
This paper was disseminated to all Members of Parliament to brief them on the next steps for Victorian autism policy. Read the paper below.
In 2021, Amaze and the Victorian Department of Health (Mental Health and Wellbeing Division) convened a historic Roundtable on Autism and Mental Health.
This communique is a record of the meeting and sets out several important activities that Amaze, our sector partners, and the Victorian Department of Health will be undertaking.
As a follow up to the Roundtable, Amaze looks forward to convening a Mental Health and Autism Advisory Group in mid-2022 to work with the Department on opportunities to ensure the Royal Commission reforms deliver improved mental health and wellbeing for Autistic people.
Amaze made a submission to inform redesign of employment services for people with disability, which is not working well for many autistic people. Amaze’s submission reflected rich input from our community and included tangible ideas for improvement including:
Amaze made a submission to the Disability Royal Commission to highlight the need for user led, autism specific and nationally consistent advocacy services.
Our recommendations included:
Amaze made a submission to the Disability Royal Commission highlighting the systemic changes needed to improve interactions between autistic people and the criminal justice system. The submission drew heavily on Amaze’s earlier submission to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Victoria’s criminal justice system.
Our submission recommended that the following key measures be developed and implemented in co-design with autistic people, their families and carers:
‘Towards a National Autism Strategy – International lessons for Australia’ is a synthesis of the many examples of international jurisdictions that have acted to introduce a national autism strategy.
The paper, authored by Amaze’s Nicole Rees and Tim Long, with valued advice and guidance from Monique Blakemore, offers a summary and analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of several autism strategies.
Amaze strongly supports the development of an Australian National Autism Strategy that sets ambitious goals and dedicated actions to improve the health, wellbeing and lived experience of autistic Australians.
Amaze is also pleased that some of these recommendations have been captured in Victoria’s new State Disability Plan (2022 – 2026). For example, the Plan commits to embedding disability awareness and responsiveness in the police and corrections workforces, and increasing awareness and the use of Independent Third Persons. We are also pleased that the Plan commits to improving access to therapeutic options for women and young people with cognitive disability involved in the criminal justice system.
Amaze made a submission calling for a bold and ambitious approach to Victoria’s next disability plan. The next iteration of the plan needs to drive inclusion for people with disability, actively tackle discrimination and include ambitious targets.
Amaze is calling for the Transition to Work program to be the default employment services option for young people with disability and enhanced to better enable young people with disability.
Amaze made a comprehensive submission to inform the development of the next National Disability Employment Strategy as part of our ongoing efforts to improve employment prospects for autistic people.
Our submission calls for significant changes to elevate the profile of autism within the next National Disability Employment Strategy, including a recommendation to establish an Autism Employment Taskforce.
Amaze has made a submission to the National Disability Insurance Agency’s consultation on proposed changes to capacity building supports for autistic children.
The changes proposed by the NDIA include:
In our submission, we call upon the NDIA to abandon its plan to place autistic children in discrete “funding levels”, to cap their funding and then reduce it at age seven.
We believe these changes are poorly designed and will have a negative impact on autistic children.
We provide productive and positive suggestions for how parents of younger autistic children can be supported to make informed decisions about which supports are right for them.
It is important that the NDIS works well for autistic children and reducing funding for essential early supports is not the way forward.
Read the submission here.
Amaze has made a submission to the House of Representatives Select Committee to inquire into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.
The Committee was set up to look into the findings of several recent strategic reviews of the current mental health system.
These reviews include the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report into Mental Health, the Report of the National Suicide Prevention Officer and the Victorian Royal Commission.
The Committee will also take into account the 2019 bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and the capacity of the mental health workforce.
Our submission highlights that autism is essential for the mental health sector.
Our recommendations include:
Read the submission here.
The Australian Autism Alliance has made a submission to the NDIA’s consultation on the proposed introduction of “independent” (or functional) assessments which will be used to determine access to the NDIS and the amount of individual plan budgets.
In the submission, we argue against the introduction of these assessments, call for the NDIA’s tender process to be stopped and for any future changes to be co-designed with NDIS participants and their families.
We are very concerned that these assessments, which will have a significant impact on support and budgets for participants, will be conducted in just a few hours by an unknown assessor and will cause unnecessary stress and hardship for autistic people. It is very likely these assessments won’t be accurate, and they are not able to be reviewed under the current proposal.
Amaze wants to make sure your voice is heard by the Australian Parliament, who are separately looking into the NDIA’s plan to use mandatory functional assessments to determine NDIS access and individual plan budgets.
Tell us your story by sending an email to [email protected] if you have been involved in the pilot program of proposed assessments or are a current NDIS participant or parent of a participant and want to share how you feel about these proposed changes.
The Australian Autism Alliance has made a submission to the NDIA’s consultation on a redesigned Early Childhood Early Intervention approach.
There are major changes planned for the NDIS’s early intervention supports, which are currently available to children aged up to six years. In the submission, we support some of the proposed changes and call for the NDIA to pause other parts of the reform.
We think a future Early Childhood Approach should:
Amaze wants to make sure your voice is heard.
Tell us your story by sending an email to [email protected] if you are a current NDIS participant or parent of a participant and want to share how you feel about these proposed changes.
Amaze has made a submission to the Inquiry into access to TAFE for learners with disability.
In developing this submission, Amaze together with Yellow Ladybugs, the I CAN Network, Different Journeys and Aspergers Victoria, conducted a detailed survey of autistic people to develop a unique perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of the Victorian TAFE sector, as it relates to autistic learners.
Our research provides insights into where and how TAFEs can improve their accessibility, responsiveness and relevance to autistic learners.
The Australian Autism Alliance provided input to the development of a new National Disability Strategy. The current National Disability Strategy is not delivering for autistic people and remains substantially worse than for most other disability and vulnerable population groups.
A National Autism Strategy would create an intentional and coherent approach to shifting the dial on outcomes for autistic people. It would provide an overarching and bi-partisan framework to drive coordinated and mutually reinforcing policy, research, service, and program responses across different domains and jurisdictions. It would cover autistic people across the life course – including through key life transitions – and across the spectrum.
Amaze, through the Australian Autism Alliance co-wrote a submission to the Department of Treasury on the eligibility of people receiving the disability support pension to qualify for the Federal Government’s JobMaker initiative.
In this submission we argue that the eligibility criteria for JobMaker should be expanded to include people who receive the disability support pension, both on grounds of equity and fairness.
The Australian Autism Alliance has released a statement on the Australian Government’s proposal to introduce mandatory NDIA-commissioned assessments in the NDIS.
In its statement, the Alliance has stated they do not support the proposal to introduce NDIA-commissioned assessments.
The Alliance believes that the Australian Government’s proposal will diminish participant choice and control, and disadvantage current and future autistic participants.
Amaze has made a formal submission to the National Disability Insurance Agency and its consultation on reforming the Support Coordination function.
In our submission, we call for a fundamental reset of Support Coordination, as we believe the current system is not delivering on its vision and promise, and as a result does not serve NDIS participants as well as it could.
Amaze’s vision for support coordination would see much greater clarity about the role of a support coordinator, more training for support coordinators, greater access to information about local NDIS supports, and importantly, a greater focus on conflicts of interest.
We thank our community members who provided insight into their experiences and supported the development of this submission.
Amaze, through the Australian Autism Alliance, co-wrote a submission to the Disability Royal Commission on improving education and employment for Autistic people. The submission provided an overview of how autistic people fare in the education system and in employment in Australia. It also made a number of considered structural reform recommendations, including:
Amaze has led the consultation and development of the Australian Autism Alliance’s submission to the Inquiry into the services, support and life outcomes for autistic people in Australia.
In the submission, we call for major changes to how the Commonwealth Government funds, organises and supports services for autistic people, with our primary recommendation being for the establishment of a National Autism Strategy.
The submission is titled The Autism Dividend Unleashing the skills, talent and opportunity of Australia’s autistic community, and you can download it here.
The submission would not have been possible without the input of the thousands of members of the autism community who contributed their personal experiences to the most comprehensive survey and report into autistic Australians and their families undertaken outside of the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The voices of 3,884 respondents are reflected in the submission, and we thank each participant for their contribution.
Amaze and the Australian Autism Alliance will continue to push for real and meaningful change at the Federal level.
Amaze responded to the Disability Worker Registration Board of Victoria’s Disability Worker Regulation Scheme proposed registration standards.
It is well documented through recent studies, inquiries and reports that the safety and quality of disability services in Australia and globally is being compromised by poor service coordination and inadequate staff training and resourcing. Disability worker skills and knowledge are fundamental to the provision of high-quality support for autistic people.
In the submission, Amaze details aspects within three recommendations
The Productivity Commission has a track record in assisting government, the private sector and the community sector to navigate seemingly intractable systemic and structural issues. This Inquiry has the potential to make a significant practical contribution to the long-term reform agenda for mental health.
There are many strengths in the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report. However, we are concerned that the draft report does not specifically examine the high level of co-occurring mental health conditions in autistic people, or the impacts this co-occurrence has for access to appropriate mental health diagnosis, services and supports.