By Kate Gifford
This month sees Optometry Australia gearing up for a delegation of members to visit Parliament House on 19 October, meeting with federal politicians regarding the need for fairer Medicare rebates to help maintain eye-care access for all Australians.
On the same day, our petition to stop the cuts and reinstate indexation will be tabled in the House of Representatives by Anna Burke, Member for Chisholm in Victoria and a former Speaker of the House.
Ms Burke will speak in parliament on the impact of the Medicare cuts on optometrists and their patients. We hope you have collected your patient signatures and sent them through to our Policy team to take your part in this significant event.
Optometry Australia has built a solid case to support this petition throughout this year’s advocacy campaign that includes the National Eye Health Heat Maps, tailored letters to federal MPs, and numerous submissions to stamp our mark on the Australian health-care system.
As I have written before, Optometry Australia’s work in Canberra is one of the most valuable activities you support through your membership, safeguarding our profession’s place in the country’s health landscape.
Last year the Australian Government invested nearly $400 million in the services we provide to our patients. With almost 5,000 registered optometrists in Australia at last count, this government expenditure amounts to nearly $90,000 per optometrist.
There’s no doubt that each one of us provides a much greater return on this government investment in providing acute and preventative eye care to our local communities.
Similarly, when you compare this number of zeros to the much smaller number of zeros on your membership invoice, it’s also a solid return on investment. Your membership provides the insurance you need to do your job now but also to keep doing your job in the future.