By Ashleigh McMillan
Optometry Australia met with the Australian Dental Association (ADA) on 6 March to discuss the future of the workforce in both professions and private health insurance.
Acting CEO Kirsty Machon and national clinical policy adviser Simon Hanna met with ADA deputy CEO Eithne Irving and policy adviser Bryan Nguyen at the Optometry Australia national office.
Ms Machon said the discussion focused on how to lobby the government together on relevant issues such as workforce pressures.
‘Under the demand-driven funding model, there is a high demand for both optometry and dentistry courses, which puts pressure on the respective workforces.
‘We have previously suggested there should be the capacity to review and potentially cap optometry undergraduate places to ensure the workforce is sustainable and discussed this issue in common with the dental profession.
‘We will also be working together to ensure that better information is provided to consumers about their private health insurance policy,’ Ms Machon said.
Skilled Occupations List
Mr Hanna talked with representatives from the Department of Immigration at a Skilled Occupations List meeting on 10 February, at which several allied health professions lobbied for removal from the list. Submissions made at the meeting are under review.
‘We advocated that our current workforce supply is sufficient for the demands of the sector, and highlighted to the department that a new university in Canberra would be starting, which would add extra pressure internally, on top of any optometrists who came from overseas through the Skilled Occupations List,’ Mr Hanna said.
‘Within our submissions to government we have also campaigned to have optometry taken off the Skilled Occupations List, from which dentistry was removed after four years of submissions from the ADA.
‘Our collaboration will allow us to take a leaf out of the ADA’s book and discuss how they worked to have dentistry removed from the list,’ he said.