Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Brain Injury Awareness Week

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Today marks the start of Brain Injury Awareness Week (15 – 21 August), recognising and empowering the more than 500,000 Australians living with a brain injury.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, said this week was an opportunity to promote a more inclusive community for people with disability including people living with a brain injury.

“This week is an opportunity to enhance our community’s understanding of acquired brain injuries and promote greater acceptance of people living with an injury within our communities,” Minister Macklin said.

“Acquiring a brain injury often means the rebuilding of lives, including re-learning tasks like walking, talking and reading,” Senator McLucas said

“This week acknowledges the incredible ongoing support that is provided by families and friends to support their loved ones.”

Acquired brain injury refers to any damage to the brain that occurs after birth. That damage can be caused by an accident or trauma, by a stroke, a brain infection, by alcohol or other drugs or by diseases of the brain such as Parkinson’s disease.

According to Brain Injury Australia, more than 500,000 Australians have an acquired brain injury. Three out every four of them are aged under 65.

Brain Injury Awareness Week follows the release of the Productivity Commission’s final report into disability care and support.

“While our government has delivered notable improvements, the current disability support system is not delivering the kind of care and support Australians expect for people with a disability,” Minister Macklin said.

“That is why the Government put disability reform on the agenda and asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a landmark inquiry into disability care and support.”

The Government is starting work immediately with states and territories on measures that will build the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme by:

  • Delivering an immediate, additional $10 million, consistent with the Productivity Commission recommendations, to support this technical policy work;
  • Moving to establish a COAG Select Council of Ministers from the Commonwealth, States and Territories to lead reform in this area at COAG this week;
  • Take steps to establish an Advisory Group to the Select Council, led by Dr Jeff Harmer AO, to provide expert advice on delivering the foundations for reform and preparation for launch.

The Australian Government supports the Productivity Commission’s vision for a system that provides individuals with the support they need over the course of their lifetime, and wants reform of disability services that is financially sustainable.