Bunbury resident Peter Needham, 53, has suffered with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) since his diagnosis in 1990.
Mr Needham was 27-years-old and an electrician working with Worsley Alumina in Tom Price when he started experiencing the symptoms. These include visual impairments, exhaustion and instability.
He was given a pay-out by the company and has since been unemployed.
Wheelchair bound at the age of 38, Mr Needham shared his struggle to find employment while suffering with MS at a Disability Awareness Week function hosted by the City of Bunbury on Thursday last week.
Disability Awareness Week spans from November 27 to December 3 and this year’s focus was on the employment of people with disability in the WA public sector.
Mr Needham said more support needed to be provided to people with a disability who wanted to work in Bunbury.
“After losing my job with Worsley, I completed a degree in Social Science but I didn’t do anything with it because I slowly got worse, I couldn’t walk and my arms were weak,” he said.
“I couldn’t find work with Forrest Personnel with my condition and I became a vegetable, I had no direction.
“The City of Bunbury has worked very hard to support and include people with a disability but I think more needs to be done to provide work and give people with disabilities a purpose in life.”
Deputy Mayor Brendan Kelly said raising disability awareness is a 24-hour, 365-days of the year process and the City of Bunbury’s mission to retrofit an old city to improve access and inclusion was a work in progress.
“Part of our access and inclusion aspirations are to make sure that people with disabilities have equal opportunities in terms of job seeking and job achievement,” Cr Kelly said.
“I acknowledge that this is a difficult space and we need to increase awareness and acceptance that people with disabilities have ability and they must be appreciated.
“The City of Bunbury has incorporated elements of access and inclusion into its businesses and other steps such as improved physical access to the Koombana Bay Foreshore and through playground equipment at the Swamp Park and we will keep working at it.”
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