This speech is to indicate Liberal Party support for Optometry Practice Bill, which is another review of the Health Practitioners Act arising from competition principles.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I rise to indicate Liberal Party support for this bill, which is yet another review of the Health Practitioners Act arising from competition principles.
This bill has identical provisions as the previous health professional bills in relation to registration and protections for consumers in the areas such as illegal holding out as a registered person, disciplinary actions, inspections, the composition of the board, and so forth. The features that are unique to this piece of legislation, and issues that have arisen about which the Liberal Party has been contacted, include the deregulation of optical dispensers in South Australia. We have received correspondence from them, and part of that was read into the record by my colleague Vickie Chapman in another place. The Liberal Party is sympathetic to the issues but, given that in the other health professional acts these provisions mostly apply to those professions where there is some form of degree course qualification or higher, we are not inclined to amend the legislation at this stage.
There is also the issue of plano lenses, the cosmetic form of contact lens. As an occasional contact lens wearer myself, I am not sure why anyone would choose to wear lenses if they did not have to. That aside, lenses can cause significant damage to eyes if they are not monitored correctly, and therefore we support the measure that they should be brought under the legislation. There is also the issue of optometrists being able to prescribe therapeutic medications, for want of a better word, which we also support because they are appropriately qualified to undertake those measures. With these brief words, I indicate support for the bill.