With strong participation to date from members, the campaign calls for all sides of Government to support Optometry Australia’s 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.
“The findings from our Optometry 2040 project have identified what we need to do over the next 20 years to continue to transform optometry – but we can’t do this without Government support,” Darrell said.
“We are now asking for help from our members – we need you to join our campaign by broadcasting our messages to federal Members of Parliament and Senators Australia-wide”.
To date, more than 1,500 pieces of correspondence have been delivered nationally – but more are needed to create the necessary groundswell to support change.
Involvement is simple through Optometry Australia’s new political lobbying tool which will, with a few simple clicks, deliver a message straight to the inbox of member’s local MPs and Senators.
Darrell stressed that “by working together to ignite our collective voice, we can ensure key influencers and decision makers receive thousands of pieces of correspondence all supporting the same key messages.
“Your support will go a long way in assisting us achieve a positive response to our election priorities, which are designed to shape a positive future for our profession and our communities’ eye health so get involved now”.
Optometry Australia’s election platform
To achieve our aim, we are calling on the next Government – and those who will be in opposition – to:
- Ensure the relevant recommendations of the Medicare Benefits Schedule 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.