Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New Report Highlights the Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers

A new report into the economic impact of multiple sclerosis reveals the substantial costs associated with the condition, and highlights the need for fundamental reform of disability care and support in Australia.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Senator Jan McLucas launched Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia’s Economic impact of multiple sclerosis in 2010 report in Canberra today.

“Multiple sclerosis can place serious pressures on families,” Ms Macklin said.

“This report underscores the significant impact of multiple sclerosis on quality of life, and the substantial economic and social burden it can place on people with the condition, as well as on the community.

“The report shows that the prevalence of multiple sclerosis has risen steadily over time to the current estimate of more than 21,000 Australians living with the condition.

“It also shows that the substantial costs associated with multiple sclerosis rise with severity for various reasons, including an increased need for care and for alterations to cars and houses, as well as loss of income.

“These are just some of the reasons the Australian Government has taken the lead on fundamental reform of disability services to help people with disability fulfil their potential.

“Last month the Australian Government and all state and territory governments agreed to lay the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme by mid-2013-a year ahead of the timetable set out by the Productivity Commission.

“The Productivity Commission identifies early intervention to maximise economic and social opportunities for people with disability, their families and carers as a key element of a National Disability Insurance Scheme,” Ms Macklin said.

Senator McLucas said the Australian Government was also working to improve the lives of people with disability through the National Disability Strategy, which was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments earlier this year.

“This strategy provides a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation including employment participation, bring about change in mainstream services and community infrastructure, and create a more inclusive society,” Senator McLucas said.

“The research in today’s report will help governments as we work to identify overcome the obstacles to people with multiple sclerosis and their carers accessing the best possible support and participating as fully as possible in economic and community life.”