“Autistic people need a seat at the table in decisions that affect them. Since 2017, Victoria has been on a journey to implement co-design principles with autistic people. We still have a long way to go but what we have done is paving the way for co-design approaches nationally.”
– Autism Plan Advisory Group member
The refreshed plan has a strong and deliberate connection with Inclusive Victoria.
Inclusive Victoria sets out Victoria’s broader disability inclusion policy and reforms and provides a framework that supports the autism plan.
It sets out six systemic reforms to the way government works with and for people with disability. These reforms highlight the need to build capacity across government to operate accessibly and inclusively.
The Victorian autism plan: 2023 refresh reflects these six reform areas:
- Co-design with people with disability – we will continue to identify opportunities for autistic people to co-design government policies, programs and services. We will work with autistic people to develop guidance and tools for co-design, and to co-design and deliver the autism public education campaign.
- Aboriginal self-determination – we will work in partnership with Aboriginal communities to drive action and improve outcomes for autistic Aboriginal people, noting that Aboriginal people are under-represented in autism diagnosis and NDIS participation. This will be underpinned by principles of Aboriginal-led collective action, Aboriginal self-determination and systemic change. We will support Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to become NDIS providers and deliver culturally sensitive autism assessment and diagnosis for children and young people. We will also work with Aboriginal services and communities to support improvements in cultural competency across all organisations supporting autistic Aboriginal people, drawing on recommendations from the Yoorrook Justice Commission.
- Intersectional approaches – we will consider the diversity of the autistic community in our work. We will seek to address the intersection of ableism with other forms of structural discrimination and disadvantage across all our policies, programs and services. We will build the capacity of the health workforce to identify and address the compounding barriers to health care experienced by autistic people.
- Accessible communications and universal design – we will build capacity across government in effective communication with autistic people. We will work with autistic people to develop accessible communications strategies and guidance. We will work with autistic people to develop universal design practice guidance and we will apply universal design principles to school infrastructure projects and to sport and recreation initiatives for autistic young people.
- Disability confident and inclusive workforces – we will build the diversity and inclusion of the public sector workforce and its capacity to deliver effective services for autistic people. We will attract, retain and develop autistic people as public sector employees and leaders and, building on the autism workforce capability framework, we will develop good practice guidelines for health care professionals.
- Effective data and outcomes – we will improve the collection and use of data about autistic people to better inform evidence-based policy and programs and strengthened outcomes reporting. We will undertake data development to report on all indicators and measures under the state disability outcomes framework. This will support reporting against the Victorian autism plan.
Each of the systemic reforms will help drive action in the refreshed plan.
The next section sets out the specific actions we will undertake to make Victoria a better place for autistic people.