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ADOA merger continues to progress

Recent changes to bylaws and constitutions are slowly bringing together Australia’s two dispensing organisations, following a 2019 commitment by the representative bodies to merge.

The Australian Dispensing Opticians Association (ADOA), the NSW-based national body, has altered its bylaws to allow anyone within the ophthalmic sector, including both independent and non-independent dispensers, to join.

Speaking to Insight Ms Amelia Roberts, ADOA President, said the new constitution now allows “non-independent dispensers, wholesalers, optometrists and reception staff,” as well as anyone else in the industry who does not hold a Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing, to join the group.

“We will shortly be changing the fee structure to make it more tiered for individuals through to company/corporate organisations,” Roberts said.

The formal merging of ADOA with ADOA Victoria, the state body, is also advancing. Roberts said a meeting with Ms Dina Anastas, ADOA Victoria president, last November has re-established the two groups’ shared goal after the departure of former ADOA VIC President Mr Cameron McLeod stalled progress.

“As that was a change post O=MEGA a lot of ground needed to be rehashed as past-president Cameron had not conveyed our discussions before he departed,” Roberts said

Earlier in November ADOA Victoria held an open meeting, attended by Insight, to discuss what has been achieved since O=MEGA19 Optical Dispensing Forum.

In particular, the meeting focussed on what has been done to establish a united voice for dispensing in Australia – a clear desire of the country’s dispensers according to the results of the Optical Dispensing Forum Survey presented at O=MEGA. ADOA Victoria’s board indicated the organisation is still enthusiastic to either merger or, if necessary, assist in the establishment of a new national body.

ADOA Victoria’s strategic vision is: “To work towards a National Industry Association representing all optical dispensers, dispensing opticians, dispensing assistants and suppliers/manufacturers of associated products”

In June ADOA and ADOA Victoria, which have previously struggled to cooperate due to historic rifts, revealed to Insight that both groups were coming together to form a national body capable of representing all of Australia’s dispensers.

In July both groups presented the results of Optical Dispensing Forum Survey to O=MEGA attendees. Key findings from the survey were that Australia’s dispensers were frustrated at the profession’s lack of leadership but were willing to support an organisation that provided representation, recognition, support and education.

Mr Ron Baroni, former Australian country manager for Optometry Giving Sight, offered to assist in the reestablishment of a representative body, initially on a volunteer basis. Roberts confirmed to Insight that Baroni has been “instrumental” in helping with the merger.