The Coalition government has confirmed it will proceed with market analysis of optometric services in Australia, a project initially announced under the previous government.
Optometrists Association had been waiting for the newly appointed Health Minister, Peter Dutton, to announce whether the Department of Health would continue with the analysis.
The association with member support launched a campaign in February this year, lobbying the Labor government to remove the cap on Medicare fees that optometrists can charge.
Following successful campaigning by the association and its members, the previous Minister for Health and Ageing Tanya Plibersek had told the association that the government would undertake market analysis to help evaluate the association’s request to remove the Medicare fee cap.
The review was announced when national president Andrew Harris and CEO Genevieve Quilty met with Ms Plibersek in Canberra on 5 June.
Ms Plibersek invited the association to participate in the review and association staff then met with the department to commence discussions.
At the time, Ms Quilty said that while discussions were still in the early stages, it was an indication that the government was taking seriously the association’s requests and the many appeals from members.
In the wake of the federal election in September, it had been unclear whether the proposed analysis would go ahead, to consider the impact of removing the cap on fees that optometrists can charge under Medicare.
The Department of Health has appointed an independent contractor to undertake this analysis, which is due for completion early next year.
National policy manager Skye Cappuccio said the full details of the analysis were not yet known.
‘We haven’t yet spoken with the contractor; however, we understand that they have been asked to consult with us in undertaking the analysis.
‘We see this as an important step in the government acknowledging the need to remove the cap on Medicare fees and will provide as much support as asked,’ she said.