In 16 April 2014, Federal Member for Newcastle, Ms Sharon Claydon MP, met with local constituents whose lives have been affected by macular degeneration as part of the Foundation’s campaign “Have a cup of tea with your new MP”. The morning tea was an opportunity for these representatives of the macular disease community to share information and to explain the impact that macular degeneration has on their daily lives and the lives of their loved ones. The group also highlighted the need for affordability and equity of access to low vision aids, technology and support services for those with low vision or blindness, as well as supporting funding for the national Macular Disease Helpline in the upcoming Federal Budget.
“I’ve lived with macular degeneration for 11 years and am now legally blind,” said Ray Brooks who attended the morning tea. “Every person living with this disease has a different story, but we share similar challenges such as the ongoing costs of treatment and the difficulties of living with vision loss."
Julie Heraghty, Chief Executive Officer of the Macular Disease Foundation Australia, said the Foundation is grateful that Joy, Nita, Noelle, Peggy, Ray, Terry and Victor took the time to share their stories with Ms Claydon. “With the ageing population and the predicted increase in macular disease over the next decade, we can’t ignore this important health condition."
“We continue to work to ensure that macular disease is firmly in the minds of politicians around the country and we are calling on the Federal Government to allocate $6 million over three years to support our national Helpline,” said Julie.
She said despite the prevalence of macular degeneration being four times that of dementia and more than half that of diabetes, the Foundation has received an average of only $163,000 per year (ex GST) in Commonwealth funding since 2005, to support the work of the Foundation.
Based on the Foundation’s mapping research it is estimated that 7,767 people in the federal electorate of Newcastle live with macular degeneration. It is expected that this figure will rise to 11,526 by 2030 with the absence of effective prevention and treatment measures.
Complete mapping results for federal, state and territory electorates are available at www.sightforseniors.com.au/mapping, or contact the Foundation on 1800 111 709 if you would like to know the estimated number of people with macular degeneration in your electorate.
16 April 2014