Tasmania has the highest rate of people living with autism in Australia.
New Australian Bureau of Statistics data for 2015, released on Wednesday, showed an estimated 1 per cent of the population in both Tasmania and South Australia had autism, the country’s highest rate.
The lowest was 0.5 per cent in Western Australia.
There were 164,000 Australians with autism in 2015, up 42.1 per cent from 115,400 in 2012. Alterations to clinical diagnostic criteria applied in 2013 and differences in questions identifying those with disabilities in the 2015 survey could have contributed to the increase.
Four out of five people with autism were male.
Nationally, the labour force participation rate was 40.8 per cent of the 75,200 people of working age, or aged between 15 and 64 years, who lived with autism spectrum disorders in 2015.
A state government spokesman said the government was investing $1 million “in creating a long-term strategy for improved care, and have established an Autism Advisory Panel to undertake this work”.
“This work will help to put Tasmania at the forefront of autism support nationally,” the spokesman said.
“We have introduced Rethink Autism, a web-based program that provides individually tailored support programs, and we have established a research partnership with the Cooperative Research Centre for living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism CRC), which will help identify children at high likelihood of having autism, leading to earlier intervention and support,” he said.