Advocacy Platform

Advocacy Platform

Rural Optometry

Optometry Australia's Rural Optometry Group (ROG) provides expert advice to the National Board on rural and regional matters with the aim of:

  • ensuring the continued presence of a sustainable optometry workforce in rural and regional Australian which meets the needs of the community
  • enabling rural and remote optometrists to deliver the highest possible standard of care.

The ROG is an active member of the National Rural Health Alliance (Alliance), an alliance representing health professionals, service providers, consumers, educators and researchers working in rural and regional Australia. The Alliance is a strong advocate for good health and wellbeing in rural and remote Australia, with the specific goal of equal health for all Australians by 2020.


The ROG is a nationally based expert group with representation from all States and the Northern Territory.  Its members are:

Dr Phil Anderton, Convenor, NSW           Mr Steven Davis, TAS                                              
Ms Lara Foster, NSW Mr Peter McClurg, WA
Mr Gary Page, QLD Ms Katherine Jorgy, WA
Mr Alex Norris, QLD Mr Mitch Hancock, SA
Ms Kellie Gibbon, VIC Ms Sally Quirke, SA
Mr Cameron Dyson, VIC Mr Bill Robertson, NT

Practising optometry in rural and remote Australia

Optometrists work in a variety of ways in rural and remote Australia, most commonly through an established optometry practice. Some optometrists providing sessional services at regional hospitals or other local health services, or visiting services through other community hubs. Visiting optometry services in rural and remote areas are often facilitated by Government schemes, including the Federal Government's Visiting Optometrists Scheme (VOS).

Support for Rural Optometry

A number of Government grants and scholarships are available to support rural optometrists, optometry students from rural areas and optometry students interested in rural practice. These include:

  • The Nursing & Allied Health Rural Locum Scheme (NAHRLS), a Government-funded scheme which supports nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to take leave.
  • The Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship Support Scheme (NAHSSS) which provides scholarships for rural practitioners for postgraduate study and continuing professional development as well as for undergraduate health students and to support rural clinical placements.
  • National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) is the peak body working to improve the health of Australians in rural and remote areas.  It comprises 28 Member bodies, representing health consumers, service providers, and other organisations in non-metropolitan areas.
  • Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) is a peak body representing rural and remote allied health professionals. SARRAH is a 'grassroots' organisation whose membership consists of individual allied health professionals across rural and remote Australia.