Terms of Reference

On 27 November 2019, the Senate resolved to establish a Select Committee on Autism to inquire into and report on the services, support and life outcomes for autistic people in Australia and the associated need for a National Autism Strategy, with particular reference to:

  1. current approaches and barriers to consistent, timely and best practice autism diagnosis;
  2. the prevalence of autism in Australia;     
  3. misdiagnosis and under representation of females in autism data, and gender bias in autism assessment and support services;
  4. international best practice with regards to diagnosis, support services and education, effectiveness, cost and required intensity;
  5. the demand for and adequacy of Commonwealth, state and local government services to meet the needs of autistic people at all life stages;
  6. the interaction between services provided by the Commonwealth, state and local governments, including:
    1. health and mental health,
    2. education,
    3. employment,
    4. justice, and
    5. housing;
  7. the social and economic cost of failing to provide adequate and appropriate services, including to support key life stage transitions of autistic people;
  8. the adequacy and efficacy of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for autistic people, including:
    1. autism understanding within the NDIS,
    2. the utility of the Early Childhood Early Intervention Pathway for autistic children,
    3. the ability of the NDIS to support autistic people with complex needs, including those transitioning from prison settings, and
    4. the adequacy and appropriateness of supports to empower autistic people to participate in the NDIS planning process, and exercise self-determination through choice and control over their support services;
  9. the development of a National Autism Strategy and its interaction with the next phase of the National Disability Strategy;
  10. the adequacy of funding for research into autism;
  11. the social inclusion and participation of autistic people within the economy and community;
  12. the capacity and sustainability of advocacy, self-advocacy and self-determination supports for autistic people, including mechanisms to self-represent to government as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  13. any bill that relates to matters within the scope of this inquiry that is referred to this committee; and
  14. any other related matters.

The committee is to present its final report on or before the first sitting day of October 2021.

Following a resolution of the committee on 2 February 2021, and in accordance with the motion agreed by the Senate on 23 March 2020, the reporting date for the inquiry has been extended to the last sitting day of March 2022.

The resolution establishing the committee is available in the Journals of the Senate No. 30 - Wednesday, 27 November 2019.

On Wednesday, 24 February 2021 the Senate amended the committee's resolution of establishment. The amendment to the resolution is available in the Journals of the Senate No. 91.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Department of the Senate
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 3555
Fax: 02 6277 3899