What a week it has been … again! I seem to make that statement quite regularly. But really, WOW, what a week it has been.
NDIS is law. How incredible to observe such an amazing piece of history unfolding this week. It is difficult to express the excitement around the funding legislation. Being in Canberra this week was such a buzz, truly exhilarating to be so close to the action. More on that later!
I began the week in Melbourne, where I helped farewell Megan Healey on her trip from Melbourne to Sydney to raise money and awareness for Kiss Goodbye to MS for Megan’s MS Mowdown. Megan and her family are truly dedicated to cause of raising awareness, not only of MS but also of the important role of young carers. It was great to see Megan’s three children – Sydney, Leilani and Finlay, on the panel of SBS’s Insight on Tuesday night speaking about the roles of young carers. You can watch the episode online.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Ken Baker, the Chief Executive of National Disability Services (NDS) this week. MS Australia is proud of the relationship we have with NDS through the advocacy work done to date. It was fabulous to hear their positive feedback about the MS community.
As you know, the Federal Budget was announced on Tuesday night. I attended Parliament house for the announcement. I was also invited to the post-budget health breakfast in the Great Hall and heard both Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek and Federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler speak.
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have a Health Care Committee that I am a member of and the quarterly meeting was held on Tuesday. As part of this meeting I reviewed some very interesting documentation regarding stem cell therapy. I will let you know when this will be released. This was highly topical in light of the research announcements this week. There was also some interesting discussion surrounding complementary medicines and practices.
My trip to Canberra gave me the opportunity to reconnect with some former contacts and meet with bureaucrats.
In a week full of meeting new people, I also met with Dr Yvonne Luxford, the CEO of Palliative Care Australia (PCA). PCA have just launched their new campaign and National Palliative Care Week commences on 19 May.
The final event I would like to share with you is the Carers Australia 20th anniversary celebration dinner and launch of their Reconciliation Action Plan. Aunty Agnes Dean welcomed us to her country and delivered a fantastic speech. There were performances by the Wiradjuri Echoes Dance Group as well as uplifting and inspiring speeches from Dr Jackie Higgins AM, The Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Then was an interview with the inaugural member of Carers Australia Mrs Joy Ambrose who spoke about her history of advocacy and lobbying for carers. A truly inspirational woman.
Dr Tim Moore, President of Carers Australia, delivered a poignant speech about his own family situation and caring for his sister. The final speech was delivered by Senator Mitch Fifield, Shadow Minister for Disability, Carers and the Voluntary Sector. I was so pleased to have been invited and able to attend while I was in Canberra.
This week is also National Volunteer Week! I want to take this opportunity to thank all the fantastic, supportive people who volunteer for MS societies and programs all over the country. Your dedication, enthusiasm and friendly faces are invaluable.
All in all a busy but most satisfying week as I continue to spread the word of our fantastic and evolving organisation and our MS community with the fantastic support of the state MS societies and MSRA.
So, like I said, it has been quite a week! How was yours?