The peak membership body for more than 90 per cent of Australian optometrists is proposing to change its name and refocus its direction in response to a major review completed last month.
Optometrists Association Australia (OAA) is intending to change its name to 'Optometry Australia' at the national level, and the six State Divisions intend 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.
In line with the proposed name change, the Association's National and State Boards are committed to refocusing their resources to strengthen and protect the profession.
To support these changes, the Association will play a much more visible and high profile role than it previously has in areas such as government lobbying and advocacy, highlighting eye health issues and promoting optometry to consumers and the health care sector. OAA National Board President/Chairman Andrew Harris said: “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”.
Mr Harris said the intended changes were in response to a comprehensive sector and membership review undertaken by the Association.
“To help us shape our future, we asked our members how we can better support them. They told us exactly what they needed from us and we are responding accordingly,” Mr Harris said.
“They want us–their peak membership body–to support them throughout their careers and help protect, enhance and promote the optometry sector and their professional standing as eye health experts.
“We firmly believe that the interests of individual optometrists are best served by a strong and progressive profession, with a representative body that actively leads, engages and promotes on behalf of all members. A stronger profession means a more rewarding and secure future for all of us,” he added.
Mr Harris said that all Boards had unanimously agreed on the new name and collaborated on the new strategic direction.
“The Association has made some very positive changes in the past six months in line with our goal to become more efficient and effective,” Mr Harris said.
“This latest announcement is perhaps the single largest change that we have made in the Association's recent history and it will take several months to fully embed it”, he added.
“The Association has been shaping the optometry sector for over 100 years and this change in direction is a natural, evolutionary and positive step for a peak membership-based organisation such as ours.
“We believe we are now putting the foundation in place to not only better service current members, but to remain relevant to the next generation of optometrists.”
The Association's new logo will be announced at the end of May.
Kerry I'Anson, National Brand Manager, +61 419 004 920