It’s great to be back blogging again after a week or two off. Honestly it feels like lately I’ve been running here there and everywhere trying to follow up on some of the momentum we’ve created at MSA and making sure we continue to make inroads in our communications and advocacy efforts.
It was whilst racing around though that I thought about a few other races on at the moment and the impact they will have on people with MS.
The first is the ‘big one’ the election race with both parties well into their campaign push. It’s an interesting scenario this time around with Kevin Rudd returning to the Labor leadership and Tony Abbott finally trying to achieve what he has long set out to do in opposition. It definitely promises to be a close race and there are already some key issues emerging that will determine the outcome of the election including immigration and the economy. DisabilityCare Australia continues to be a big selling point for the incumbent Government but given that it is a policy that has received bi-partisan support I would be surprised if we saw a great deal on this from the Opposition.
The key issue for people with MS in this race however is how DisabilityCare will continue to be rolled-out under the next Government. If Labor are returned to power I am confident that this will continue ‘business as usual’ and we will continue to work at a national level lobbying for the needs of people with MS and neurological conditions to be met. We are also heavily involved at a state level with MSA ACT/NSW/VIC a service provider for both the Barwon (VIC) and Hunter (NSW) trial sites. Both of these sites have only been operating for a few months but in time they will provide some insight into the amount of support people with MS receive, the quality of current providers in the marketplace and the level of awareness of MS and how it impacts an individual within the assessment system.
If the Coallition are successful this election it is unclear as to whether or not any of this will change. I am confident that they will not alter any of the trial sites but in time I think they will pay close attention to how each site is working (as they should) and re-assess the parameters of a full DisabilityCare rollout. Our role in this process will be to ensure the needs of people with MS remain forefront in a full rollout. I can assure all of you this has been, and will continue to be, our number one advocacy and communication priority as an organisation.
To a race of a very different kind and last Sunday saw a beautiful Sydney day for the running of the world’s largest running event the Sun-Herald City 2 Surf. I have heard from those who took part that is was a fantastic experience, with residents and well-wishers giving all runners a true Olympic-style reception. MS ACT/NSW/VIC and F5M+, the community fundraising arm of MS Research Australia were both registered charities for the event. F5M+ in particular had a great turnout of staff and supporters taking part in the great race including new CEO Matthew Miles. It was a fantastic effort and all up they raised more than $32,000 for MS Research which is a brilliant achievement.
Finally I’d like to take a second to wish MS Ambassador and inspiration Carol Cooke all the best as she sets off to compete in the Cycling World Cup with the Australian Paralympic Cycling Team. Carol recently blogged about the upcoming challenge. On behalf of the MS Community Carol, best of luck. We have no doubt you will do us all proud.