On Tuesday 30 September 2014, Vision 2020 Australia hosted a special Parliamentary Friends Group for Eye Health and Vision Care (PFG) dinner in celebration of World Sight Day, at Parliament House in Canberra.
The focus for this year’s event was the Eye Health Heroes whose stories were not only on display in a gallery-style setting but who were also able to tell their story directly to the parliamentarians. In the lead up to World Sight Day the Eye Health Heroes stories will feature in an online campaign via the Vision 2020 Australia blog, Facebook page and Twitter.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the audience via a World Sight Day video message and highlighted the valuable work of those at the coal face of the eye health and vision care sector.
One of the many highlights of the evening was the announcement of the Hon Dr Barry Jones AC to become Patron of Vision 2020 Australia. In a very moving speech, Vision 2020 Australia CEO Jennifer Gersbeck reflected on the amazing contributions of Dr Jones as Chair for the past 12 years and expressed her gratitude that he will remain associated with Vision 2020 Australia in the years to come.
The event was a resounding success with over 35 parliamentarians, advisers and government representatives, 40 sector representatives and 5 Eye Health Heroes attending. PFG co-chair, Andrew Laming MP, remarked that the Parliamentary Friends Group for Eye Health and Vision Care events are the highest attended PFG events and this one also has such clear support from all sides of the House.
The event took on a new, less formal format designed to encourage more informal discussion and networking. This proved popular with all attendees with feedback from parliamentarians, staffers, departmental representatives and members having all been extremely positive.