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Last year, the boards of Optometry Victoria South Australia (OV/SA) and Optometry Tasmania (OTas) announced that they had commenced discussions about a possible merger with Optometry Australia.

After continued discussions, rather than a total merge of the three organisations, OV/SA and OTas are now working towards operational integration with OA. The model under development will see each state board remaining as the respective representatives for Victorian, South Australian and Tasmanian members, with all services delivered by OA and monitored by the respective state board for its jurisdiction. Members of OV/SA and OTas will be asked to vote on the model in July and August respectively.

The new model will see OA continuing to provide members nationally with access to its full range of member services. The new, integrated structure will also deliver local member engagement, face-to-face CPD, advocacy and stakeholder engagement in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. No major assets of any organisation will be transferred initially, and services will be integrated and evolved over time to continue to maximise value for members. OA will have the resources and staff of both divisions in order to be able to deliver on the local services.

The Presidents of each organisation, Elise Pocknee-Clem (OV/SA), John Kingshott (OTas) and Margaret Lam (OA), recently issued a joint statement to members in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, outlining the intended benefits of the proposed integration, including:

  • A strong and aligned strategic focus, more efficiently positioned to identify and prioritise critical issues affecting our sector.
  • A more cohesive and effective advocacy approach through a single voice.
  • Strengthening and strategically positioning the voice of optometrists.
  • Simplified governance, organisational and operational structure, enabling us to streamline our decision-making processes, reduce duplication and create greater efficiencies.
  • Greater long-term financial stability and resources to fund future strategies and projects.
  • Reducing confusion for our other stakeholders, such as heads of ophthalmology and patient advocacy groups, enhancing our influence.
  • Maximising member engagement through connecting with members in meaningful ways, continuing to create opportunities for networking, professional development and collaboration at the local and national level.

Currently OV/SA and OTas teams are consulting with their members and seeking feedback on the proposal.  Meanwhile, legal and financial due diligence is currently underway, as is the drafting of service and asset agreements.

The final decision on whether the integration occurs will rest with members of both OV/SA and OTas who will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed change. The member votes will take place in July and August. Should members vote yes, implementation is due to be completed by 1 November 2023.


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Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Optometry Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.