We are stronger than the sum of our parts


November has come, which means it’s membership renewal time! Therefore, this Final Word will be an unapologetic, somewhat shameless plug for APA membership and the merits of belonging to your professional association.

I do not think there have been many years like this one—with the demands of the APA as an association being as high as they are right now.

This year has tested our mettle when it comes to advocacy and lobbying, in the innovativeness of our education programs, and our agility in sharing information.

I am pleased to hear from so many of you telling us that the value of your APA membership has never been higher.

Together, we were able to achieve a lot.

As a result of our advocacy, physiotherapy was recognised as an essential service as national stage three restrictions were introduced.

Telehealth consults were funded by all third-party funding bodies, and in Victoria (the hardest hit state) we reversed the need for a referral from a GP to see a physiotherapist.

In partnership with NSW Health, we produced an international course for physiotherapists working with COVID-19 patients in ICU.

And it was Australian physios who produced world-class guidelines for physiotherapy management of COVID-19.

We secured fee increases for physiotherapy services in several compensable schemes, and worked hard towards the recognition of the value of multidisciplinary care at the 10-year Primary Health Steering Group and the Preventive Health committees.

Together we have done so much, and my sincere thanks go to the many engaged members and office bearers who helped us along the way.

The question now is: would this have happened without you as one individual? The answer is probably yes.

You can opt out and still reap a lot of the benefits. We know this, but if everyone opted out on this basis, where would we be as a profession? And is it right to reap the benefits of the work and contribution of others?

Our success as an association, and the strength of our collective voice, relies on the participation of many.

In fact, it relies on the participation of the majority.

The difference between a vocation and a profession is that a profession subscribes to a code of ethics and provides objective, specialised counsel for the benefit of others.

As such, it seems to me that the existence of an association, or a peak body, that brings together the minds of many is not only useful, but essential. 

An association is something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

It is a profession’s home base, facilitating togetherness and support, lubricating learning and providing a voice for the collective in spaces where individual voices just aren’t able to be heard.

I hope your voice will be part of the chorus in 2021, and I look forward to sharing many successes with you in the future.


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