top of page


ABC Four Corners - Careless: How the NDIS fails to protect our most vulnerable (Aired 25/9/2023)

September 27, 2023

As a group of community-driven autism associations and leading researchers from across Australia which collectively represents autistic people and their families across all life stages, the Australian Advisory Board on Autism (AABA) joins Australians in expressing our anger and sadness in seeing the deplorable services being delivered to vulnerable families and funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. 

The AABA seeks to drive evidence-based improvements to policy, programs, and practices so that autistic people can access high quality, safe, respectful, inclusive and effective services and supports, wherever they are and whatever their circumstances. 

We draw particular attention to the so-called ABA-based therapy profiled in the program. This therapy was neither ABA nor evidence-based and is not aligned with any contemporary theories of behaviour and behaviour change. The methods the show exposed are nothing short of abuse. 

We highlight our significant concern at the loose regulation of service providers which has resulted in a lack of accountability, and the limited recourse available to NDIS participants through the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, especially as the most vulnerable NDIS participants have neither the communication skills nor family support to lodge a complaint.   

Currently, the NDIS funds services that do not have a clear evidence base, may be unsafe and of poor or questionable value. The lack of registration for many providers, and the quality of the registration system for those who undertake it at their own cost, is grossly inadequate, and does not lead to improved quality of services or positive outcomes which was clearly demonstrated in the report. 

Unscrupulous providers who employ unverified or ineffective methods, or disguise what they do as evidence-based support, not only have detrimental consequences for clients, they undermine trust in the NDIS and all registered providers.

This highlights the need for a collective effort within professions to promote and uphold evidence-based practices, foster ethical standards, and address the challenges posed by unscrupulous providers to ensure the highest quality of care and service are provided. 

While the NDIS has resulted in many positive outcomes, in its current form it has created a market in which unscrupulous providers and unregulated practices can exploit vulnerable people.  

The AABA cares deeply about the supports that are provided to autistic people and their families, and hopes our recommendations will be used to inform the next iteration of the NDIS and create a safer, higher quality, and more equitable system for Australians with disability.  

Pam Macrossan, Chair  

Media contact: Adrienne Costin, 0448 139137

News: News



March 30, 2023

World Autism Day is a day to appreciate the enormous contribution of autistic and autism communities.

An important milestone to recognise on World Autism Day in 2023 is Australia’s  commitment to develop a National Autism Strategy[i].

We congratulate the Australian Government and Minister Rishworth[ii] for commencing this critical work in response to the unacceptable gaps identified in the report by the Select Senate Committee on Autism. This report stated that “life outcomes for Autistic Australians are unacceptably poor… and that enormous personal, social and economic costs are unfairly carried by the Autistic person, their families and carers “ [iii]

The Australian Advisory Board on Autism (AABA) is the peak body for the not-for-profit sector serving the autistic and autism community.

“Let us all celebrate World Autism Day with the aspiration that by 2024 Australia has a National Autism Strategy that will deliver for us all” said Pam Macrossan, AABA Chair.

“We are eager to see this work build on the two decades of work by the AABA as the national peak body serving the autistic and autism community, and in particular our goals for active collaboration with autistic people, their families and community to increase our collective impact”.

“Our expectation is that this work will bring together, recognise, embrace, and critically give voice to all members of the autistic and autism community, through adopting a culture of full inclusion and by truly valuing lived experiences. The AABA’s cultural qualities should be adopted by the National Strategy committee working groups.

[i] National Autism Strategy -

[ii] Minister Rishworth -

[iii]  Select Senate Committee report on services, support and life outcomes for autistic Australians.

News: News




May 13 , 2022

The Australian Autism Alliance (Alliance) welcomes the commitment from the Coalition, Labor and the Greens to introduce a new National Autism Strategy in the next term of Parliament.

The Alliance believe this will be critical in shaping the future policy agenda and help improve the life outcomes of hundreds of thousands of Autistic Australians.

The National Autism Strategy is a major step forward from the current disjointed approach that autistic people and their families face in getting the support they need and will make a considerable difference whether they are NDIS participants or accessing other support services. However, the Alliance highlights that more action is required.

Read the media release.

For more information and links to policies and/or other sources visit the The Alliance website.

News: News



April 2, 2022

Brisbane, Queensland – The Australian Advisory Board on Autism (AABA) is calling for World Autism Awareness Day to be recognized as an opportunity for the world to move beyond awareness towards a greater appreciation of Autism and the opportunities and challenges for people on the autism spectrum.

Research conducted by the Australian Catholic University suggests that over 85% of the Australian population have a family or other direct connection to a person on the spectrum. The AABA believe this statistic proves that while autism awareness has grown significantly, a greater understanding and appreciation of autism in the general population is needed.

AABA Chair Pam Macrossan, said “While the suggested awareness level of autism across Australian communities is to be welcomed, the complexity and variation is still not well understood. This gap in understanding can contribute to the exacerbation of the challenges facing our community and a reduction in opportunities for greater participation in all walks of life.”

“This lack of understanding is the most significant contributing factor in the preservation of many of the “myths” that surround autism.

“We hope World Autism Awareness Day can create a platform from which a more refined conversation can take place. A conversation that promotes and develops understanding, increases connection and engagement, and creates pathways to improved social and economic participation for all people on the spectrum.

“These discussions can build the foundations for inclusive and cohesive communities within which people on the autism spectrum, their families and supporters can live their best lives.”

The Australian Advisory Board on Autism is the national peak body of not for profit, evidence informed service providers for people on the autism spectrum, their families, carers and helpers.

News: News
bottom of page