Connections and collaborations…

Wow, I have to begin with an apology. It has been quite some time between posts but its good to be back blogging as I’m very pleased to provide an update on some key milestones achieved by MS Australia in recent weeks.

Meeting Senator Fifield

With so many charities operating in the disability sector there is intense competition at times to arrange meetings with key decision makers.

As such it was extremely fortunate that MS Australia recently had an opportunity to meet with Senator Mitch Fifield, the Minister Assisting the Minister for Social Services and importantly the minister responsible for the NDIS, to discuss MS Australia and our advocacy agenda.

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It was a great meeting and I was singularly impressed by the Senator.

He was very encouraging of MS Australia and had a sound understanding of the organisation, our structure and the relationship with the state societies. He also indicated he knew the National  Advocacy Program as he met and presented Robert Pask with his National Disability Award at a gala event last year.

The conversation covered a variety of things including the value of social and applied research, the NDIS and the value of more trial sites and the advocacy plans of MS Australia in 2014.

It was extremely encouraging to hear the Minister’s willingness to work and listen to a variety of perspectives from the disability sector and we look forward to an ongoing dialogue with his office about key issues for people affected by MS.

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Each year World MS Day, the international day to recognise people affected by MS continues to grow.

This year World MS Day will be on Wednesday, May 28.

MS Australia is proud to be a member of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, the global body responsible for World MS Day and will be holding a number of various events around the country raising funds and awareness about living with MS.

MS Australia will mark the occasion with a morning tea at Parliament House with the Parliamentary Friends of MS.

The theme for World MS Day this year is Access and the team at MSIF is hoping to raise awarness about four very important key messages:

  • There is no known cause or cure for MS.
  • MS is usually diagnosed between the ages of 25-31 and lasts a lifetime.
  • People with MS have varying symptoms.
  • Treatments and services are improving for people with MS, but not for everyone, everywhere.

MSIF have recently commenced blogging about the global World MS Day effort and released a Youtube video, you can view all this material at the MSIF World MS Day blog.

National Position Statements

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Finally, I am extremely pleased that MS Australia can now share some vital information for our supporters and key stakeholders. This includes nine National Position Statements  which reflect key issues of importance to the MS community. They are wide ranging and varied and cover topics such as energy costs, research investment, universal housing design and home and community services.

The positions outlined in each document are carefully considered and have been based on evidence, primarily obtained from MS Research Australia’s 2012 study the Needs Analysis for people with MS.

I would like to thank our state member organisations and the MS Australia board for their vital thoughts on these statements. They will provide a great resource for us to share with Government and key decision makers throughout 2014 and beyond.

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