The Coalition pledged its support to the eye health and vision care sector during the Vision 2020 Australia Vision Summit which was held in Brisbane last week.
More than 40 CEOs from leading eye health and vision care organisations across Australia attended the Summit to ask questions of the Coalition in the lead up to the Federal Election.
In attendance was the Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, who said eye health and vision care featured in the Coalition’s health plans for the future.
Also in attendance was Shadow Minister for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector, Senator Mitch Fifield, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, the Hon Teresa Gambaro MP, and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health Services and Indigenous Health, Mr Andrew Laming MP.
Among the sector’s key policy and funding proposal asks in the lead up to the federal election was a recommendation to fund an eye health survey.
Mr Dutton told the Summit there was a need for an eye health survey and the Coalition was keen to fund this recommendation if elected.
Also included in the policy and funding proposals was a request by the sector for $53.63 million to close the gap for eye health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Mr Dutton said there was no lack of desire in addressing Indigenous health issues and the Coalition would make improvements by reducing red tape, utilising expertise and working with local communities.
Mr Dutton also recognised the need to continue investing in the elimination of trachoma in Indigenous communities.
Senator Fifield said the DisabilityCare Australia oversight committee’s terms of reference would be expanded under a Coalition Government to include people aged over 65.
Teresa Gambaro contributed from a global point of view and spoke about eye health in terms of foreign aid and highlighted that disability should be a feature of any aid program.
Vision 2020 Australia CEO Jennifer Gersbeck said the Vision Summit was a great opportunity for the Coalition to demonstrate its commitment to eye health in the lead up to the federal election.
“The responses from the Members of Parliament at the Vision Summit were positive and addressed the sector’s concerns and requirements.”
“We are hopeful that these positive discussions with key Members of Parliament will result in some fruitful relationships with the eye health sector in the future,” she said.
Vision 2020 Australia looks forward to hearing what the Government members have to say at our next Vision Summit later in the month.
Louise Rudzki, Vision 2020 Australia, (03) 9656 2020, firstname.lastname@example.org