Advocacy Activities

MS Australia is the national peak body for multiple sclerosis (MS) research and advocacy. Although MS impacts people differently, there are common, fundamental issues for people affected by the disease. Our key focus is to provide the best outcomes for people living with MS, and to oversee our research program to better treat, prevent and ultimately find a cure for MS.

Through advocacy, MS Australia aims to influence government and other key decision-makers to enact sustained and systemic policy change, particularly related to research funding, health, disability and aged care.

MS Australia advocates to government agencies and other regulatory bodies, on behalf of our four state/territory MS member organisations, to represent the over 25,600 people in Australia diagnosed with the disease, their carers and the broader MS community.

More than

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people living with MS represented

MS Australia’s overall aim is to supercharge the MS research agenda and seek vital funding for our research activities, to better treat, prevent and find a cure for MS.

We advocate for an increased focus on research and better treatments for people living with MS. Thanks to our advocacy work, there are now 15 disease-modifying treatments for MS available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, allowing affordable access to medications.

MS Australia’s national research coordination, education and advocacy work includes funding grants and calls for specific programs, research into progressive MS, collaborations and submissions to government. We work with government, our funding and corporate partners, and the national and international research community, to initiate and explore opportunities for major collaborative research platforms and investigator-led research projects. We aim to empower MS researchers and strive to ensure that research findings and evidence are translated into better outcomes for people with MS.

The advances made in MS research over the past decades have enabled the opportunity to slow disease progression and accelerated the possibility of a cure.

MS Australia’s national advocacy work is also proudly tied to social justice, equity, fairness and wellbeing for people with MS. We seek to empower people, carers, friends and families affected by MS to live as well as possible. We strive for equitable access to support programs, to combat discrimination against people living with disability because of their MS and to ensure people ageing with MS receive equitable support.

Other aims include:

  • Stopping young people with MS (under 65) from entering and living in nursing homes
  • More affordable and accessible medications
  • Ensuring National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) issues are fully addressed
  • Accessible products, packaging and built environment
  • Better access to MS Nurses
  • More recognition and support for family members, friends and carers
  • Equitable and affordable access to assistive technology, to help people better manage home, work and daily life, especially for those unable to access the NDIS

MS Australia seeks to bring about sustained, systemic change that will lead to more effective management of MS and ultimately a cure; and to enable people with MS to better manage their symptoms, enhancing quality of life, health and wellbeing.  

MS Australia makes submissions (view our submissions here) to relevant public consultations and inquiries from a range of sources including:

  • Government departments– to change legislation about healthcare, access to treatments and services, and support for medical research (for example House of Representatives Standing Committees, the Commonwealth and/or State Departments of Health).
  • Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) – decides whether medications can be prescribed in Australia and the associated conditions.
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) – recommends whether medications should be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and therefore eligible for subsidy by the Australian Government. Final decision rests with the Minister for Health and/or Federal Cabinet.

MS Australia liaises with government and many state-based funding bodies, to advocate for an increased focus on research and better treatments for people with MS, including:

  • National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) – national funding body for health and medical research in Australia.
  • Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) – provides grants to support health and medical research and innovation from 2017 onwards. These grants aim to translate research findings into clinical practice, with the objective of improving the health and wellbeing of all Australians.
  • Commonwealth Government Department of Health – an important and long-term national funding partner organisation of MS Australia.
  • State Government Health and Medical Research Departments

MS Australia also works closely with the Parliamentary Friends of MS Group and collaborates with various global strategic alliances, memberships and/or endorsements, on research advocacy including:

  • Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF)
  • International Progressive MS Alliance
  • MS Brain Health: Time Matters in MS – Global Health Initiative

Read about MS Australia Alliances here.

The MS Australia National Advocates Program links to the work of the state/territory MS member organisations, special interest groups and individuals through a network of volunteer Advocates, who lobby and advocate for the MS community, helping to raise awareness of MS and its impact. The National Advocates support the work of MS Australia including adding to the lobbying of Federal Government through regular meetings with local members of Parliament.

Our National Advocates team encompass a combined total of over 300 years’ experience of living with MS (total years since diagnosis), with an enormous breadth, depth and variety in their personal circumstances and life with MS, which we draw upon in advancing the advocacy work of MS Australia.

Meet our National Advocates.

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Advocacy Activities