With a Federal election imminent, Optometry Australia has launched its election campaign by calling for all sides of government to support its vision for a sustainable and effective eye care system accessible to all Australians.
President Darrell Baker said that it was imperative that all political parties recognise the contribution of optometry and support optometrists’ mission to meet the changing needs of our population by embracing a rapidly advancing clinical, technological and communications landscape.
“Optometry Australia has identified what the sector needs to do over the next 20 years to continue to transform optometry to meet the demands of a modern and progressive Australia – but we can’t do this without government support.
We must work together to ignite our collective voice if we want key influencers and decision makers to… respond positively by working with us to create the change we need
“To help spread this message, we are asking our members to join our campaign by sending an electronic communication directly to the inbox of their local federal Member of Parliament and Senator.
“We are hoping to generate thousands of pieces of correspondence – all repeating our key messages – that politicians Australia-wide will receive,” Mr Baker said.
Optometry Australia has provided a digital lobbying tool to support its 2019 election campaign that enables members to send tailored, but consistent correspondence, to their local federal politicians, with a few clicks of a mouse.
While not the first time that the peak professional body for optometrists has engaged with members in a grassroots campaign, this is the first time that it has used this digital lobbying tool.
“We must work together to ignite our collective voice if we want key influencers and decision makers to not only hear our messages but respond positively by working with us to create the change we need to meet a fast-evolving scope of practice”, Mr Baker said.
Platform Revolves Around Four Principles
Optometry Australia’s 2019 election platform revolves around four key principles:
- Optometry Australia’s 2019 election platform revolves around four key principles:
- Ensure the relevant recommendations of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review are implemented, including the reinstatement of two-yearly rebates for initial comprehensive examinations for middle-aged Australians as a high priority.
- Reassess scheduled fees for MBS optometry items so primary eye care services are sustainable and accessible. The combination of a lengthy freeze on indexation combined with an unprecedented 5% reduction to all optometry rebates in 2015, means that patient rebates for optometry items on the MBS are 5% less today than in 2012 – yet the cost of providing quality primary eye care has continued to rise.
- Increase awareness of the importance of comprehensive eye examinations for all in early childhood, in acknowledgement of the need for early identification of primarily correctable or manageable eye health problems.
- Support ongoing advancement in primary eye care, through investment in applied research directed at shaping new models of care that make maximal benefit of the skills of optometrists and further integrate optometry across the health system.