Members inspire new name and direction

May 7 2014

Dear Colleague,
Following an extensive review of our membership services, and based on feedback received from members and in alignment with sector and demographic shifts, the National and State Boards of Optometrists Association Australia (OAA) have taken the positive initiative to refocus the Association’s direction.

We are also intending for OAA to change its name to ‘Optometry Australia’ at the national level, and for the six State Divisions to change their names accordingly - i.e. Optometry Victoria, Optometry New South Wales/ACT, Optometry Queensland/Northern Territory, Optometry Western Australia, Optometry South Australia and Optometry Tasmania.

As indicated by the change in name, we will begin to concentrate the Association’s resources on strengthening and protecting the profession.  This means we will play a much more high-profile and visible role in areas such as government lobbying and advocacy, highlighting eye-health issues and promoting optometry to consumers and the health-care sector. Our goal is to put eye health front and centre of Australian health care and to significantly raise the standing of optometrists as eye-health experts.

As you are acutely aware, the optometry sector is changing rapidly as a result of economic, technological and demographic shifts. Optometrists require a strong leadership body that understands and where feasible, can positively influence these shifts to advance a stronger and more robust profession and optometrists’ individual aspirations.
All Boards have unanimously agreed and collaborated on the new strategic direction.

We believe that this is an appropriate and positive step forward for a peak membership body that is dedicated to advancing the optometry profession.

Members will always remain our first priority and we are committed to providing the highest standard of service including professional indemnity insurance, continuing professional education and other core membership benefits. Our membership structures will remain the same.

Our research tells us that this is what you require from us. You need a professional body that will innovate and support you throughout your career and that will help protect, enhance and promote the optometry sector and the professional standing of optometrists as eye-health experts.  The Association is assured that by leading, engaging and promoting the profession, we can ensure a more rewarding and secure future for all of us.

The changes that we are making signal that we have listened to you, that we are aware of market forces, and that we are responsive and willing to change in order to meet future challenges.
This announcement is perhaps the single largest change that we have made in the Association’s recent history. It is one that we are excited about and committed to, and one that will deliver long-term benefits to you and the sector. It will take time to fully embed this change within all aspects of the Association, although we will be introducing our new logo to you at the end of May.

Your Association has been shaping and representing the optometry sector for over 100 years.  These proposed changes represent a new and progressive chapter in our rich and proud history, which we believe will benefit our profession, you and all of our members.

Signed by the Presidents of National and State Boards

Andrew Harris
National President

Kylie Harris
President, Victoria Division

Christine Craigie
President, NSW/ACT Division

David Foresto
President, Qld/NT Division
Darrell Baker
President, Western Australia Division

Elise Pocknee-Clem
President, South Australia Division

Brett Jenkinson
President, Tasmania Division
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