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Orthoptics Australia restructures for the future

Following a successful national conference in Sydney, Orthoptics Australia’s (OA) new president will oversee measures designed to bring the organisation in line with modern corporate governance standards.

Orthoptics Australia’s president Jane Schuller

At the recent 76th Orthoptics Australia Annual Conference delegates welcomed Jane Schuller as the organisation’s newly elected president.

Schuller comes to the role with 25 years’ experience in eye health care delivery. She is a qualified orthoptist in both Australia and the US, past OA Victorian branch chair and a longstanding member of the organisation.

She replaces Marion Rivers, who is stepping down after two years in the role.

Her first major priority will be to work with the new board to strengthen the governance processes and provide OA with a more robust system for the future, as the association continues to evolve.

“The members voted in favour of a number of special resolutions at the annual general meeting to amend our existing legal structure from an association incorporated in NSW, to an association incorporated under the commonwealth Corporations Act and adopt a new constitution to comply with that,” Schuller told Insight.

“OA is currently an association under the New South Wales law, which is intended for NSW based associations. For an association with members from and activities across Australia and a desire to expand further, it makes sense to amend the legal structure. It’s fantastic and will be an exciting time ahead for OA.”

Schuller said that the biggest change will be a streamlined organisational structure. OA is currently governed by a board made up of representatives from each state proportionate to member numbers. Under the new structure it will be led by a smaller, skills-based board.

“There’s a trend in associations to shift away from geographic representative boards to a generally elected board, and this is in line with good corporate governance principles,” Schuller said.

OA is going through due process with NSW authorities and application to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is now underway, which is expected to be completed by the end of February.

Around 400 delegate attended OA’s Annual Conference, the largest ever in the its history after a significant period of growth. The changes come ahead of an exciting period of time for orthoptics in Australia; in June it was announced that OA and Brisbane had won the rights to host the International Orthoptics Association’s meeting in 2024.