Correspondence from Minister Rattenbury & Discussion request

Date: Fri, 14 Aug 2020 10:49:48 +1000
From: Bob Buckley (SOfASD Chair) <>

Dear Minister Rattenbury

Thank you for your correspondence. However, I have to inform you that we regard this response from the ACT Government as seriously inadequate for the following reasons.

  1. Your letter says "CHS acknowledges the need for specific initiatives to support responsiveness of health services to people on the Autism Spectrum" then immediately goes on to talk about some commitment "to ensuring people with a disability will not be discriminated against when accessing health care". We raised concerns that the needs of autistic people (the term they prefer) were ignored in the context of "intellectual disability and autism" when the resulting "working group" ignored autism; there is a long and well established record in the ACT of ignoring the needs of autistic people in the wider "disability" context, and Australian law protects discrimination against autistic people in the context of disability services generally.
  2. We regard the ACT Government's plan for  a CHS Disability Action Plan as a clear intent to again ignore the needs of autistic Canberrans. The ACT needs a proper plan for autistic people, not a plan for people with disability generally with the well entrenched practice of ignoring autism-specific needs. More of the same will not deliver a different outcome.
  3. Be assured, a CHS Disability Action Plan is most likely to damage further (if that is possible) the trust of the ASD community in CHS and the ACT Government.
  4. We are not aware that there was any community engagement with the autistic community in the ACT over any ACT "justice strategy". We are very aware that federal law and Australia's legal system (Australia does not have a justice system) protects the state  from disability discrimination complaints.
  5. SOfASD and the ACT autism community have not been consulted about scoping for a Disability Needs Assessment which confirms what we said above.

SOfASD knows that a CHS Disability Action Plan will not deliver the services and supports that autistic Canberrans need. The ACT needs a plan specifically for it autistic citizens and their associates. Note that Victoria already has an Autism Plan. The Commonwealth Senate Select Committee on Autism is considering a National Autism Plan.

SOfASD is extremely disappointed that the voice of the ACT autistic community is not being heard and considered properly.

Please can we discuss these issues? My number is 04xx xxx xxx

Bob Buckley
Chair, Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD)

a voice for people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the ACT



On 6/07/2020 9:44 am, RATTENBURY wrote:

Dear Mr Buckley,


Please find attached correspondence from Shane Rattenbury MLA, Minister for Mental Health.


Kind regards,



Fiona Walls
Office of Shane Rattenbury MLA | ACT Greens Member for Kurrajong

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability; Minister for Corrections and Justice Health
Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety; Minister for Mental Health

t: (02) 620 50005 | e:

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Australian Capital Territory and across Australia, and pay respects to their Elders, past, present and future.



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