The Commonwealth Government launched its latest Strategic Action Plan and announced a commitment of $7.2 million in funding to tackle FASD in Australia at the 2nd Australasian FASD Conference on Wednesday. Minister Greg Hunt made the announcement in a video address followed by a speech by Department of Health Assistant Secretary David Laffan, who spoke on behalf of the Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt AM.

Mr Laffan described FASD as a key project of the Ministers and outlined the three key aims of the Strategic Action Plan:

  • Reduce the prevalence of FASD
  • Reduce the associated impact of FASD
  • Improve the quality of life for people living with FASD

The strategic action plan seeks to deliver on these aims by taking action across four national priorities:

  • Prevention
  • Screening and diagnosis
  • Support and management
  • Priority groups and populations at increased risk

Minister Ken Wyatt said the Government’s approach to FASD is to invest in activities which have been shown to be effective. The new funding of $7.2 million will be available from July 1st 2019, and has been broadly allocated to the following areas:

  • $1.47 million for prevention-related activities, including new consumer resources and general awareness activities, and support for National FASD Awareness Day, translation and promotion of alcohol consumption guidelines and point of sale promotion activities.
  • $1.2 million for new screening and diagnosis activities, which will include reviewing existing tools and guides and developing new tools and referral pathways to assist professionals in non-health settings.
  • $1.2 million for management and support activities including tailored resources for people working in educational, justice and policing sectors.
  • $1.27 million for priority group activities including cultural adaptation of best practice resources that meet local needs.
  • $1.55 million to continue some of the existing activities which have been demonstrated as effective.

The Strategic Action Plan also establishes a National FASD Advisory Group who will report on the progress being made against the aims of the Action Plan and identify emerging issues and gaps to ensure the strategic action plan remains current and effective.

Associate Professor Elizabeth Elliott said that Australia is “unique among other countries in that we now have a national register, a national clinical group, a national hub for research, and a national advocacy group in NOFASD”.

The National FASD Strategic Action Plan 2018–2028 can be viewed here.

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