Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3629 ..
wraparound support for families who are going through the process of a diagnosis and can assist families to access support services.
The entire team at the Child Development Service is committed to working with children and their families to better understand their needs and to get them started on finding supports that will work for them. Going through that process of diagnosis, whether it is for autism or for something else, can be very challenging for families, which is why it is our priority to provide this autism assessment service for children up to 12 years of age and to ensure that early diagnosis is available wherever possible and early identification of need through a range of services is available wherever possible.
We have not even talked about the fabulous Child and Family Centre network that we have and the programs that sit within that, including the incredible Prep for Pre Program which Ms Berry is now responsible for as well.
In closing, I also want to thank the disability advocates in this space, as Ms Davidson also did. There are a number of autism groups in the ACT who advocate very strongly for children with autism, for adults with autism and for the families and carers who care for loved ones with autism. And they are loud and effective voices for the community. I thank them very much for their advocacy and again thank Mrs Kikkert for bringing this motion to the Assembly. I commend Ms Davidson’s amendment.
MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (4.00): I move:
“(e) extend access for public autism assessments to young people under the age of 18.”.
How disappointed I am about the results of this great motion that would have been fantastic to support low income families in Canberra. The government amendment has completely missed the point. The entire purpose of the motion is to spur movement or change or improvement. There is no real change in the minister’s amendment. There is not even any movement towards a possible future improvement.
What they currently remind me of is ministers who are, at the moment, quokka watchers. Quokka watchers are people, especially politicians, who seek instructions from a third party rather than actually seeking instructions from their constituents. We have 50 families who actually went to a stakeholder asking for assistance to support them, in their case, with autism assessments for teenagers.
We are currently calling on the government to support those families. They are not listening to their constituents. I wonder what you will say to your constituents after today’s mess that you have created. Importantly, those opposite who support these amendments have publicly and formally acknowledged that we have a real problem here in the ACT.
An important statement in my motion, as originally drafted, calls on this body to note that, according to stakeholders, there has been a large increase in low income families