Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

17 March 2021

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (16:43): I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that on 16 March 2021 the Community Affairs References Committee will present its report, Effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis and support for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD);

(b) further notes:

(i) FASD is a preventable condition caused by in-utero exposure to alcohol, leading to brain and organ damage in the developing baby, and

(ii) children born with FASD suffer a lifelong range of cognitive, behavioural, health and learning difficulties that affect memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation and social skills;

(c) understands FASD affects at least 2% of the population, yet the condition is poorly understood and often either misdiagnosed or undiagnosed (and FASD children - who 'can't, not won't' - are labelled as naughty or their parents deemed ineffective);

(d) commends the parents who shared their stories and hardships with the committee to aid its understanding of the lifetime impacts of FASD, and the experts who are driven to prevent FASD, and to improve access to diagnosis and supports;

(e) welcomes the funding the Federal Government has committed to FASD diagnosis and support since 2014; and

(f) urges the Federal Government to treat FASD as a national health priority and respond decisively to better manage, and ideally prevent, FASD in Australia.

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