Members of Optometry Victoria (O VIC) and Optometry South Australia (O SA) have voted overwhelmingly to support the merger of their Associations in what is expected to result in more member services at less cost.
At the divisions’ annual general meetings on 29 October 2018, 30 per cent of Victorian members cast their votes across five separate resolutions, with an average ‘yes’ vote of 95.61 per cent. In South Australia, there was an even stronger result, with 51 per cent of members participating in the vote and 97 per cent voting ‘yes’.
it’s our aim to deliver more services and lower costs for our members
Speaking of the results, Murray Smith, President of O VIC said, “The vote was a resounding show of support for our shared vision with our South Australian colleagues. For us, the substantive work must continue – we’ve been given a very strong mandate from our members and it’s up to us to live up to that.
“Alongside living up to that mandate we need to continue to show leadership within the Federation and demonstrate that collaboration and collegiality is the way forward for the profession and the Association alike.”
Kurt Larsen, President of O SA said, “As O VIC/SA, we have a sensational opportunity to pool our expertise and resources, and to take the best from both states as we build our future together. O SA is very appreciative of O Vic’s willingness to put parochialism aside and to so enthusiastically share our goal of a stronger, more effective and collaborative future.”
STRONG MEMBERSHIP ENGAGEMENT
Speaking after the vote had been counted, Libby Boschen, CEO of O SA, said she was “on a high on the elation of a yes vote” and Pete Haydon, CEO of O VIC, said he was “absolutely delighted” with the number of members who took the opportunity to vote on their Associations’ future.
“It’s the largest vote for anything in the history of O Vic and a clear mandate to move forward,” he said.
While O SA members were required to vote on just one resolution – whether or not to amalgamate, in Victoria a total of five resolutions required 75 per cent of participating voters to say ‘yes’.
The additional resolutions were to:
- Change the Association’s name to Optometry Victoria South Australia
- Relinquish the old Constitution
- Adopt a new (previously published) Constitution
- Become a company limited by guarantee, as opposed to being an Incorporated Association.
Going forward, an inaugural board and office bearers will be appointed, drawing from what Mr. Haydon described as an “enormous talent on both sides of the border”.
Ms. Boschen said “an expanded pool of expertise and critical eyes” would provide a unique opportunity to “strategically review what works well, what could work better and to cherry-pick and evolve the best ideas and the most beneficial member initiatives”.
In the immediate future, and with membership renewals looming in May 2019, Mr. Haydon said a focus will be on bringing down member costs. “Even though it will take two years for economies of scale to fully fall into place, it’s our aim to deliver more services and lower costs for our members,” he said.