Optometry Victoria South Australia completes historic amalgamation

Following a landslide vote backing the partnership last year, Optometry Victoria (OV) and Optometry South Australia (OSA) have officially combined into a single organisation, effective 1 July.Ms Elise Pocknee-Cl, a former president of OSA, has been appointed as OVSA’s inaugural president, while former OV CEO Mr Pete Haydon has become CEO of the new entity.The board, comprising of three South Australian (SA) and five Victorian mbers, also features vice-president Ms Anne Weymouth, national director Mr Murray Smith and treasurer Mr Timothy Lo. Other directors include Ms Allison McKendrick, Mr Kurt Larsen, Mr Rowan Prendergast and Ms Cassie Haines, while Mr Jason Tan has been appointed as an associate director.More than 95% of voting mbers across both states supported the historic decision last Novber after OSA, the smaller of the associations, first mooted amalgamation in 2014.{{quote-A:R-W:400-I:2-Q:“We are no longer running two offices and two boards, so we have passed on some of those savings to mbers across every mbership category in both SA and Victoria” -who:Pete Haydon, OVSA}}Haydon told Insight OVSA had begun by reducing mbership fees, and is planning to increase the availability of continuing professional development (CPD) points and events, particularly for SA mbers.“We are no longer running two offices and two boards, so we have passed on some of those savings to mbers across every mbership category in both SA and Victoria. So they will see both an expansion of services and a contraction of fees,” he said.“Victoria’s successful rural and regional CPD program and Early Career Optometrists program is going to be spread out across both jurisdictions, so the number of CPD points available for SA mbers will increase, the location of those points will increase and it will come into line with what we are offering in Victoria.”Haydon said mbership renewals to OVSA had already been performing well across both states, which was indicative of the support for the amalgamation.He also confirmed OVSA’s plans for the future operation of the Melbourne-based O=MEGA show and Adelaide’s Blue Sky Congress.Beginning with O=MEGA19 later this month, O=MEGA will be held biennially in ‘odd years’, and complented by the Blue Sky Congress to be held in the alternate year. The next Blue Sky conference will take place in Novber 2020.“We have been hearing for years there are too many conferences in the market place. It’s made it very difficult, particularly for sponsors and exhibitors, to get a good return on investment,” he said.Additionally, for the corresponding year a state does not host O=MEGA or Blue Sky, OVSA will trial smaller, single-day conferences in that state to ensure mbers have continued access to CPD events. Haydon said this had been a successful model applied to other allied health professions such as dentistry and physiotherapy.“We are going to trial that over the next few years. The number of CPD points on the calendar in either Victoria and South Australia will increase each year, but also the convenience to mbers or consumers will increase too.”OVSA will be headquartered in Melbourne, and supported by a satellite office in SA.Former OSA CEO Ms Libby Boschen has been appointed as a special advisor of mber services and policy in SA for at least the next two years. Haydon said this was an important appointment due to the subtle political and professional differences between the states. More reading:Landslide vote sees Optometry VIC and SA amalgamate