South Australian of the Year 2020 - Dr James Muecke

13 November 2019

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (17:08): I, and also on behalf of Senators Wong, Marielle Smith, Gallacher and Farrell, move:

That the Senate—

(a) congratulates all finalists and recipients of the 2020 South Australian of the Year awards;

(b) further congratulates eye surgeon and blindness prevention pioneer, Dr James Muecke, AM, for being honoured as South Australian of the Year for 2020;

(c) recognises that Dr Muecke, AM, has dedicated his working life to fighting blindness prevention and ophthalmic research;

(d) notes that in 2000, Dr Muecke, AM, co-founded Vision Myanmar at the South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology, a $1 million program that has developed and operated eye health and blindness initiatives in the Southeast Asian nation;

(e) further notes that Dr Muecke, AM, is the founder and chairman of Sight for All, a social impact organisation which aims to create a world where everyone can see;

(f) acknowledges that Sight for All creates low-cost programs to fight blindness through research, education and infrastructure, and is closely involved in projects operating in Ethiopia, nine Asian countries, and in mainstream and Aboriginal communities across Australia;

(g) notes that, according to the Institute of Health and Welfare, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 40 years, have 6 times the rate of blindness of other Australians, and 94% of vision loss in Indigenous Australians is preventable or treatable; and

(h) calls on the Federal Government to correct the marked under-resourcing of specialist eye services provided to remote and disadvantaged communities, when compared with the national average.

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