like to start by welcoming everybody to the association’s
2nd Annual General Meeting. Tonight I will give a brief
rundown on the Association’s activities in 2001-02 and our
plans for the future.
our last AGM, I outlined the real progress made by the association
in its first year and our hopes and ambitions for coming 12 months.
As often happens in organizations such as ours, the unpredictable
is generally the only predictable outcome. And so it was for us
over the past year.
meant that some things I foreshadowed last year have not been achieved.
However we have made significant progress in other areas that hopefully
will secure the association’s long-term future.
doubt, the most significant unforeseen event was the problem we
encountered in November 2001 with the Tax Office regarding our application
for Deductible Gift recipient status. DGR status enables all donations
to the association of $2 and over to be tax deductible. It
also has implications for obtaining funding.
discussions with the ATO, we decided to review our structure and
rules in order to meet with the requirements for DGR status. With
the kind assistance of the law firm Freehills, we rewrote the association’s
articles, clarified our membership policy and had the members approve
the changes at a Special General Meeting held in March 2002.
May 2002, the ATO granted us DGR status. This is a wonderful achievement
that will greatly assist the association in securing funding and
grants in the future, in particular from the larger charitable foundations.
DGR status was finalized, the ATO requested that all donated funds
be frozen . This meant that for six months, the association was
unable to access internal funding and significantly limited our
ability to advance many projects as anticipated.. These included
a keratoconus information brochure, a mailout of the member survey,
plans for an online newsletter and revamped website, and a booklet
committee of management decided that it would direct its attention
to other issues while awaiting the outcome of the DGR application.
Much was done to establish and integrate structures and procedures
within the association. This ranged from formalising committee
meetings to devising appropriate methods of information storage.
Efforts were also made to improve the public profile of the association
and create links with eye-carers. Attention was given to providing
referrals and support for people with keratoconus and many contacts
were made through this effort.
established links with Vision Australia and the Royal Victorian
Institute for the Blind (which are in the process of merging). Matt’s
inquiry into health rebates for keratoconus patients stemmed from
the mounting frustration expressed by members with the paltry rebates
paid in particular on contact lenses.
going into the detail of these activities, I would like to highlight
some of the work done in the past year by the committee:
change to the membership policy now clearly states that only people
with keratoconus can be voting members of the association (or
parents and guardians in the case of minors). While we welcome
support from everyone, people without keratoconus will be registered
as supporters. We believe it is imperative to keep control of
the association in the hands of those most affected by keratoconus.
draft information brochure was completed and is now being reviewed
by the committee
to the association’s website now make it easier to find
in search engines. This has resulted in a sharp jump in “hits”.
to the Keratoconus Australia website have been included on websites
operated by a number of related organizations including the Royal
Australian College of Ophthalmology, Vicnet health pages and Vision
visibility on the internet has led to increased membership and
requests for support – especially from people in country
areas with limited access to eye-carers experienced in treating
Keratoconus Australia with Pro Bono Australia for inclusion in
their charity directory and online listing service.
of support to members has resulted in contacts with eye-carers
in all states. This has raised the profile of the association
in professional circles.
members gave a presentation to the Contact Lens Society of Victoria
on keratoconus and the association’s activities in December
members survey questionnaire has been completed and with funding
now available should be sent out in the near future.
Demystifying Keratoconus information seminars have been popular
and the seminar on support addressed by Judith Glazner in June
was a major success.
seminar on eye banking and corneal donations has been organised
to meet our stated objective of supporting efforts to increase
organ donations and reduce corneal transplant waiting times.
of the seminars are being sold to many people around the country
who are interested in the topics but are unable to attend the
have become known to the Optometry Association Of Australia which
has provided coverage about keratoconus and the Association in
their regular newsletter “Australian Optometry”.
Articles have been published in the February, April and August
2002 editions. This newsletter goes to all optometrists Australia
wide, and we have received substantial feedback from eye carers
as a result.
will be pleased to know that drought-breaking rain that fell on
our end-of year BBQ held in Melbourne last December failed to
dampen the spirits of the brave few who attended. Or our determination
to try again in 2003.
we currently have 223 full members under the new membership policy
including 141 in Victoria, 22 in NSW, 26 in Queensland, 12 in
Sth Australia, 2 in Tasmania, 15 In West Australia, and 2 in the
ACT and 2 in the Northern Territory.
what is planned for the coming year?
and foremost, the information brochure will be completed and distributed
same applies to the members survey which may be modified slightly
to include questions required for Matt’s inquiry into health
rebates (more of that soon).
the DGR issue behind us, we want to start some serious fund raising
at every level.
will include efforts to secure sponsorship for our more expensive
activities such as running these seminars, brochures, booklets
kind supporter of KA will be making regular donations to fund
basic website costs and we plan a site redevelopment in the near
monthly or quarterly electronic newsletter by email is also planned
for 2003 to keep members better informed of the association’s
greater publicity and marketing effort will be mounted in 2003.
We will be seeking exposure through print, radio and television
in the coming months. In this regard, I have arranged with the
ABC Radio’s Health Report for a program on keratoconus in
the near future.
needs to be done to formalize the support structure. This will
involve training for support providers, writing of a procedures
manual and closer links to other support groups such as Vision
will try to improve information offered to corneal transplant
patients before and after the operation and patient resources
in general. Special regard will be given to assist patients in
dealing with eye-carers
I would like to thank the committee of management for its efforts
over the past year to keep the association operating in the face
of many unexpected difficulties. Special mention should go to vice
president Belinda Cerritelli who has been a driving force behind
the association over the past 12 months and whose optimism and sense
of humour has helped us keep things in the proper perspective. Not
to mention the delicious cakes and biscuits she provides when
we invade her house once a month for committee meetings. Thanks
believe that Keratoconus Australia is making a big difference to
the way keratoconus is handled in Australia. We are answering questions
about the disease, referring people to experienced eye-carers, providing
support and information and helping to redefine the way eye-carers
deal with their keratoconus patients. All of this has been long
overdue. But we need help from you too. Volunteers are desperately required to keep the association operating
and to help us expand our activities. Please don’t let the
association disappear through lack of support.
Australia Inc Financial Statements 2001-02