By Skye Cappuccio
National policy manager
Optometry Australia has made a submission to the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training’s consultation regarding the Skilled Occupations List, which identifies occupations that ‘would benefit from independent skilled migration for the purpose of meeting the medium to long-term skills needs of the Australian economy.’
We have drawn on recent workforce and projections studies undertaken, respectively, by Health Workforce Australia and on our behalf Monash University, to emphasise that there are no indications of workforce shortages in optometry in the medium to longer term, and strong indications that workforce supply will exceed demand. Given this, we have argued that optometry should be removed from the SOL.
Optometry Australia has made a submission to the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand’s (OCANZ) consultation regarding a draft guide detailing evidence that schools of optometry would need to provide in demonstrating they meet OCANZ’s accreditation standards, when seeking accreditation for their entry-level courses.
Our focus has been on ensuring that evidence requirements are clear for all stakeholders, support consistency in assessment of courses for accreditation and adequately demonstrate that standards have been met.
Optometry Australia is developing a comprehensive submission to a public consultation underway by the Medicare Benefits Review Taskforce.
Our submission, to be made in early November, will emphasise the valuable and cost-effective contribution of optometry consultations supported by Medicare, and highlight opportunities for optometry consultation items to be amended to better reflect contemporary practice and patient needs.
We will also stress the necessity for rebates to better match the cost of providing clinical care, if ready patient access to eye care is to be maintained.
Vision 2020 Australia
Optometry Australia has joined other members of Vision 2020 Australia in welcoming increased government investment in Indigenous eye care. This followed a joint proposal from the sector on priority areas for funding, and provides an example of the power of collaborative planning and joint advocacy.
Funding has been allocated to support further trachoma prevention health promotion activities, jurisdictional eye-care co-ordination and national data collation to help provide a picture of progress in improving eye health and vision outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We have joined Vision 2020 peers in round-table discussions with the Department of Health to advise on how funding to support improved Indigenous eye health care co-ordination at a jurisdictional and systems level is best targeted, and emphasised the necessity for further future investment to support on-the-ground service co-ordination.
Optometry Australia has continued to support Vision 2020’s and Diabetes Australia’s collaborative advocacy for a more systematic approach to ensuring regular eye examinations for people with diabetes.
Maureen O’Keefe (L), CEO of the Australian College of Optometry, hands to Genevieve Quilty more than 1,100 signatures for the petition calling for fairer Medicare rebates