Australia’s first Autism Minister

South Australia has led the way for disability advocacy by appointing Emily Bourke as Australia’s first Autism Minister.  

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said he had heard from many constituents that it was time for a dedicated effort from the government to make autism a priority. 

"We have made major commitments with the aim of implementing a whole-of-government autism inclusion strategy, starting with our schools,” he said. 

Along with the appointment of Ms Bourke, the state aims to work with providers on early intervention services, invest funds for additional Allied Health professionals, and increase the number of autism-qualified teachers in preschools and public primary schools. 

In her new role, Ms Bourke, who is also the Assistant Minister to the Premier, will establish the Autism Education Advisory Group, involving people with autism, parents with lived experience, experts, community stakeholders and unions to ensure policies are supported by consultation. 

Text above 20 icons of people reads "1 in 20 Australians are affected by Austism". The 20 icons of people are all coloured gray except for one that is coloured purple, showing what 1 in 20 looks like.

“I am a mother of three, so I know that every parent and caregiver want their child to reach their individual potential,” she said. 

“But I do not have lived experience with Autism. That’s why I will establish the Autism Education Advisory Group. We will work with the Autism community to consult, to reform, and to make change. Together, we can get it done.”  


It is estimated that 1 in 20 Australians are affected by Autism.

“Autism is a developmental disorder with symptoms that appear within the first three years of life. Its formal diagnostic name is autism spectrum disorder. The word “spectrum” indicates that autism appears in different forms with varying levels of severity. That means that each individual with autism experiences their own unique strengths, symptoms, and challenges"

– Autism Research Institute.

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Published by the CPL Team
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