Senate Inquiry into issues related to speech pathology

Friday, 7 February 2014

Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) has successfully lobbied the Senate Community Affairs References Committee to enquire into the prevalence of different types of speech, language and communication disorders and speech pathology services in Australia. Submissions are due by 21 February 2014.

SPA says the Inquiry "is an incredibly important opportunity to consolidate what is already known about speech pathology services in Australia and how access and lack of access affects people's lives. It is also an opportunity to identify gaps in information and services, as we aim that the Committee will make recommendations to Parliament about these concerns. Finally, it is, particularly during the International Communication Project year, a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties and their long-term impact."

Tell your story. Describe your practice, clients/clients and services, or the research that you do. Tell the Committee how what you do influences people's lives. Describe how clients get to you (ie GP referral, via a hospital or school etc.), how long they wait to see you, gaps or inconsistencies in access to services and how services are paid for.

The Inquiry will:

  • gather data on the impact of communication disorders and swallowing difficulties on the community and the economy;
  • identify the gaps in prevalence, as well as social and economic impact, data;
  • showcase the evidence that supports speech pathology intervention effectiveness
  • identify the gaps or inconsistencies in speech pathology services around the country, including difficulty with accessibility to and adequacy of service; and
  • raise awareness about the disadvantage faced by Australians living with communication disorders.

The Senate Committee particularly wants to hear how communication and swallowing difficulties affect the lives of individuals and the challenges that they face.

The Terms of Reference are to investigate:

  1. the prevalence of different types of speech, language and communication disorders and swallowing difficulties in Australia;
  2. the incidence of these disorders by demographic group (paediatric, Aboriginal and Torres Islander people, people with disabilities and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities);
  3. the availability and adequacy of speech pathology services provided by the Commonwealth, state and local governments across health, aged care, education, disability and correctional services;
  4. the provision and adequacy of private speech pathology services in Australia;
  5. evidence of the social and economic cost of failing to treat communication and swallowing disorders; and
  6. the projected demand for speech pathology services in Australia.

For more information about the Senate Inquiry, including the Inquiry's Terms of Reference and how to make a submission please refer to the
Community Affairs References Committee webpage.

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