Tasmanian Optometrist New President of Optometrists Association Australia

Tasmanian optometrist, Michael Knipe, a current director of Optometrists Association Tasmania, has been elected the new national president of Optometrists Association Australia (OAA). He is the fifth Tasmania-based optometrist to be president. The others were John Rees in 1984-1986, Arthur Ley in 1973-1975, Eric Padman in 1953-1956 and Philip Waterworth in 1947-1949.

Optometrists Association CEO, Joe Chakman welcomed Mr Knipe. “Mr Knipe brings an outstanding range of skills and experience to the role having been a member of the OAA board since 2008 and serving as deputy chairman in 2009,” said Chakman.

He was formerly the chairman of ProVision for 15 years. He has served as president of the Contact Lens Society of Tasmania and Australia and as secretary and treasurer of the Tasmanian College of Optometrists.

Mr Knipe said he was honoured to be appointed to the role and is looking forward to the challenge of dealing with issues around workforce supply, maintenance of standards and a re-evaluation of the association‟s structure.

“I am keen to explore scope of practice for optometrists and how they may enter areas that they are currently under represented in such as public health,” said Knipe.

“I welcome and look forward to working with directors from different backgrounds who have a mix of skills and attitudes that are harnessed towards common goals.”

“My colleagues and I have great depth of experience in business and I will be drawing on that to ensure that we continue to anticipate and meet the needs of stakeholders and, in particular, our members,” he said.

Following his move to Tasmania after graduating from the University of NSW in 1977, Mr Knipe has worked for over 33 years in private practice in Hobart which he balances with a part-time role as senior optometrist at the Royal Hobart Hospital Eye Clinic. He has a special interest in contact lens practice, public health, practice management and professional affairs.

He has since completed further study in ocular therapeutics and business. This includes a Graduate Diploma of Business in Professional Management and a Master of Business Administration. Mr Knipe is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and of the Australian College of Optometrists.

Mr Knipe is actively involved in the charity Optometry Giving Sight and in the Provision Optometry Teams, an initiative of ProVision instigated whilst chairman. ProVision Optometry Teams provide 13 optometrists each year who spend at least one week in East Timor providing eyecare and mentoring East Timorese eye care workers.