On 29 November 2012 the report; FASD: The hidden harm, Inquiry into the prevention, diagnosis and management of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders was tabled in Parliament.
Endorsing the House of Representatives Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee report, FARE said that in recommending strict timeframes for the introduction of mandatory alcohol warning labels and efforts to increase Australia’s diagnostic capacity, the Committee has recognised the urgent need to address this devastating disability now.
Mr Thorn said the Commonwealth Government needs a comprehensive plan going forward but can act on some of the recommendations now.
“The Legislative and Governance forum on Food Regulation (FoFR) will meet in Brisbane on 7 December. As recommended in the Report, FoFR must task Food Standards Australia New Zealand to start the process for the introduction of government-mandated alcohol pregnancy warning labels at
that meeting if the deadline is to be met,” Mr Thorn said.
FARE has also called on the Government to fund and commence trialing an $852,000 FASD diagnostic tool which has been awaiting government approval for over a year, and to commit funding for a comprehensive national plan in the 2013-14 Budget.
On 12 September 2012 the country’s leading Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) experts gathered at Parliament House to launch a national plan to reduce the incidence of the most common preventable cause of developmental disability in Australia.
The plan was unveiled ahead of a day of expert briefings, with fourteen of Australia’s leading experts in FASD, including Professor Elizabeth Elliott, Ms Sue Miers, Associate Professor Jane Latimer and Ms June Oscar providing over 50 one-on-one briefings throughout the day to Federal politicians.
Until recently, FASD has been largely overlooked, with little or no support in its prevention, diagnosis, early intervention or management. In recent years the Commonwealth Government has invested in FASD research and projects that have contributed to the momentum for change, and established the current House of Representatives Inquiry into FASD.
The Australian FASD Action Plan 2013-16 is a roadmap for action to address the extensive gaps in prevention, intervention and management of FASD in Australia. Significant gains can be made to prevent FASD and support those affected through only a modest investment. This should begin with the 2013-14 Commonwealth Budget, where the Government should continue its work to introduce mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcohol products, finalise and evaluate the Australian FASD diagnostic instrument, and ensure that people with FASD are recognised in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
We’re now asking the Government to endorse the Australian FASD Action Plan 2013-2016.
1. Write to the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Hon Mark Butler, asking him to endorse the Australian Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Action Plan 2013-2016.
We’ve prepared a template letter that you can use, or you can write your own message and email or post it to Minister Butler at:
The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
2. Make a donation to support FARE’s research, policy, program and campaign work on FASD
FARE is an independent, charitable organisation that relies on financial support from individuals and like-minded organisations to support our work. We need your help to continue to support FASD research, policy development, programs and campaigns, to ensure that people with FASD and their families are adequately supported.
All donations to FARE over $2 are tax deductible, make your online donation now.
We’ve prepared an overview of the launch of the Australian Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Action Plan 2013-2016 and subsequent action being taken on FASD around the country. We will continue to update this as events unfold.