Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Support for school students with Autism

Joint Media Release with:

  • Julia Gillard, Minister for Education Employment and Workplace Relations

The Australian Government will fund support for teachers, parents and carers of school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through the education component of the $190 million Helping Children with Autism package.

The Helping Children with Autism package strongly reflects the Government’s commitment to inclusive education and to improving the education opportunities for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Almost 100 workshops will be held around the country for parents and carers of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and teachers and school staff.

These workshops aim is to build strong and effective partnerships between parents and carers of children with autism and their schools so that each student’s school years are as productive and supportive as possible.

This is the start of providing better support and early intervention programs for an area that was sadly neglected by the previous Liberal government.

The education component includes:

  • $16.3 million for professional development for teachers and other school staff who are working with students with ASD to increase their understanding, skills and expertise in working with these students; and
  • $7 million for workshops and information sessions for parents and carers of school aged children with ASD to assist them to develop productive partnerships with their child’s school teachers and school leaders.

By the end of 2009, around 900 teachers and other school staff and 2900 parents and carers across Australia will have had access to nationally-consistent, evidence-based information and training, delivered at workshops across Australia and online through the AAETC website  (

The first workshop for parents was in Brisbane on 10 and 11 of February. The first workshop for teachers was held in Cairns on 17 and 18 of February.

The Australian Autism Education and Training Consortium (AAETC) has been contracted by the Government to run the national professional development program for teachers and other school staff who work with children with ASD, and workshops and information sessions for parents of school-aged children with ASD.

The AAETC has named this initiative, Positive Partnerships: supporting school-aged students on the autism spectrum.

The initiative is part of the Rudd Government’s $190 million Helping Children with Autism package being delivered by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Department of Health and Ageing and the Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations.

State/Territory Workshops for Teachers & School Staff Workshops for Parents & Carers
Queensland 6 workshops(270 participants) 8 workshops(480 participants)
Australian Capital Territory 1 workshop(45 participants) 2 workshops(120 participants
Tasmania 3 workshops(135 participants) 3 workshops(180 participants)
New South Wales 9 workshops(405 participants) 17 workshops(1020 participants)
Victoria 6 workshops(270 participants) 12 workshops(720 participants)
Western Australia 3 workshops(135 participants) 7 workshops(420 participants)
Northern Territory 1 workshop(45 participants) 4 workshops(240 participants)
South Australia 4 workshops(180 participants) 7 workshops(420 participants)
Australia 33 workshops(900 participants) 60 workshops(2900 participants)

Further information is available at: Helping Children with Autism (