Senator Nick Xenophon with Optometry Australia CEO Genevieve Quilty (L) and president Kate Gifford, Parliament House, 22 February
By Rhiannon Riches
Optometry Australia is meeting with key federal MPs and health sector leaders this week to promote the role of optometry in the health landscape.
The organisation is presenting its 2016-2017 Federal Budget submission, which highlights the need for affordable optometry services for all Australians.
President Kate Gifford and CEO Genevieve Quilty met with South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon on 22 February.
Ms Gifford posted on Facebook: ‘We had a very positive meeting with Senator Nick Xenophon (SA), who has asked Optometry Australia to provide additional detail on modelling the impact of the Medicare cuts to the frequency of eye exams in the 40-64 year population, especially with respect to undiagnosed eye disease and future costs, which he is keen to put to Senate Estimates.’
Northern Territory Senator Nova Peris made a late cancellation of a meeting with Ms Gifford and Ms Quilty that had been scheduled to take place the same day.
That evening, Vision 2020 Australia hosted its annual Parliamentary Friends Group dinner at Parliament House. Ms Gifford, Ms Quilty, national policy manager Skye Cappuccio, and national policy and advocacy advisor Tin Nguyen attended.
A further series of meetings took place the following day.
Ms Quilty and Ms Gifford met with James McAdams, senior adviser to Minister for Health Sussan Ley. Ms Gifford said they had extensive discussion about the government’s MBS review, Private Health Insurance review, and appropriate remuneration for optometrists participating in future care plan structures in chronic disease.
Ms Quilty and Ms Gifford held separate meetings with Shadow Health Minister Catherine King; and with Dr Rachel David, CEO of Private Healthcare Australia.
They also met with Professor Hugh Taylor to discuss an issue relating to the MBS item 10910; and with the Australian Medical Association’s director medical practice, Alex White.
‘This advocacy work is utterly essential to protect our profession in a tight fiscal environment with increasing regulation. There’s lots of follow up work to do after today’s meetings, but with the diligence and expertise of our CEO Genevieve and her fantastic staff, our profession continues to punch above its weight in the health care landscape,’ Ms Gifford said.