Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Queensland Schools Program to Prevent Spinal Injury

The Australian Government is providing $61,000 to the Spinal Education Awareness Team program for up to 80,000 Queensland school students to learn how prevent spinal cord injury.

This funding is in addition to the over $500,000 already provided to the Association by the Australian Government through the Disability Employment Network.

Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, announced the funding when she visited the program at the Spinal Injury Association in Woolloongabba, Brisbane.

“This important program can stop people suffering from often devastating spinal cord injuries,” Ms Macklin said.

“Spinal cord injury can result in permanent disability and can happen to anyone, at any age and at any time.

“Young people are at high risk. One in four spinal injuries – or 25 per cent of cases – are between 15 and 24 years.”

Ms Macklin said that the most common cause of spinal injury is motor vehicle accidents.

“It is a sad fact that cars and youth can be a lethal combination.”

Ms Macklin said that nationally there is an estimated 9000 people living with spinal cord injury and this increases by 300-400 each year.

The Australian Government funding will be used to purchase laptops, projectors, audio equipment and a specially adapted hand-control car, and to produce information and promotional material.

The Spinal Education Awareness Team is an injury prevention information program, which the Spinal Injuries Association has delivered for 21 years with the help of its dedicated volunteers – who all have paraplegia or quadriplegia.

“This great program helps prevent spinal cord injuries, as well as raises awareness of the needs of those living with spinal cord injuries,” Ms Macklin said.

In addition to delivering the spinal injury prevention message to Queensland school students, the Spinal Education Awareness Team program gives volunteer presenters training and development opportunities.

“The Spinal Injuries Association is one of only two specialist providers across Australia that provides Disability Employment Network program for people with disability.

The Spinal Injuries Association is a not for profit community organisation which provides information services and support for people living with spinal cord injury, including equal access to accommodation services, transport, education, employment and recreational activities.