Four new directors including two non-optometrists have been appointed to Optometry Australia (OA)’s national board with incumbent president Mr Darrell Baker granted a third year.
Investment and innovation analyst Mr Neil Wesley, barrister and solicitor Ms Sarah Byrne, and optometrists Dr Rob Howie and Ms Sarah Coudrey became the newest board members after the organisation’s annual general meeting on Friday 27 November 2020.
They replace Mr Gavin O’Callaghan, Ms Kylie Harris and Mr John Palassis – whose terms under OA’s constitution expired this year – as well as Mr David Bradley who resigned from the board in November.
Mr Murray Smith has been re-appointed deputy president for a second year and Ms Tori Halsey has been appointed treasurer.
Baker thanked the departing board members for their combined 18 years’ service. O’Callaghan was the longest serving director (12 years) who joined in 2008 and has been the organisation’s Treasurer since 2011. Harris spent four years on the board and Palassis two years.
Baker said the departing directors had each been instrumental in making sound governance decisions.
“Importantly, they have overseen the delivery of our current strategic plan which has enabled a wide range of initiatives to be introduced to the benefit of our members, the sector and community eye health,” he said.
“And they this year, along with all national directors, worked tirelessly to support members through the COVID-19 pandemic including participation on the national Crisis Leadership Group and the development and implementation of the member fee offer that reduced fees by 50%.”
Baker said OA has been prudent in its financial management and investment decisions under O’Callaghan’s “watchful eye”.
“This has enabled the organisation to fund a range of activities, such as the Good vision for life campaign which has been instrumental in raising awareness of eye health amongst the Australian community and delivering several million optometry appointments.”
He added that the organisation’s strong financial position enabled it – along with its state divisions – to offer all members a 50% discount off their FY2020/21 membership fees, equating to six months free membership.