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Fred Hollows celebrates 30 years working with Government

2 min read

The Fred Hollows Foundation celebrated more than 30 years of collaboration with the Australian Government, with a special afternoon tea at Parliament House on 26 March 2024. 

The event was hosted by Speaker of the House, the Hon. Milton Dick MP, and included a keynote speech by Foundation life member and TV personality Ray Martin, and addresses by Federal Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon. Pat Conroy, and Shadow counterpart, the Hon. Michael McCormack.  

“Although Fred was a specialist, he always saw the bigger picture,” said Minister Conroy.  

“He witnessed intersecting circumstances that lead to poor eye health, challenged us all to understand the multiple root causes of poor eye health, and challenged governments to address those roots.”

“If Fred was here today, I’m sure he’d be pushing this Government just as hard.”  

Ray Martin was The Foundation’s first chair, and his speech was a highlight of the afternoon.  

“In typical Fred style, he decided I would be The Foundation’s first chair, whether I wanted to or not! It turned out to be one of the greatest privileges of my life,” said Ray.   

“I’ve been honoured to work with The Foundation ever since.”  

Political representatives from both houses of Parliament, as well as Fred Hollows Foundation supporters, were in attendance.  

ABC Indigenous Communities Reporter and Foundation ambassador Nakari Thorpe emceed the event. 

Joining them were foreign dignitaries, including High Commissioners and Ambassadors from many of the countries where The Foundation works.   

“Today is not only a celebration of our partnership with the Australian Government but also of the vital collaborations we have fostered with national governments in more than 33 countries where we work,” said Fred Hollows Foundation Chair Jane Madden.  

“These partnerships have been key to our success in improving eye health and tackling blindness globally, demonstrating a shared commitment to accessible and sustainable healthcare.”  

The Foundation also unveiled its plan for the next five years, which sees the organisation shift its focus to address the growing eye health crisis by tackling systemic barriers.  

The number of people with severe vision impairment and blindness is predicted to almost double by 2050, to an estimated 1.7 billion people, with more than 55% of these being women and girls. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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