Member Fees FAQs
Why are fees increasing?
There are a number of factors behind the increase in Fellow fees. Note the below addresses the Fellows fee increase only. If you are a trainee, please refer to the VTP Fee Information FAQ.
The Vocational Training Program (VTP) is a core activity of the College. The current strategic plan focusses on major improvements to educative outcomes, including updated assessment processes.
The VTP relies on highly skilled staff and resources to produce future generations of comprehensive general ophthalmologists for Australia and New Zealand.
The cost to run an effective VTP has been rising over the past 10 years. The College has monitored these increases, cognisant that:
- expert staff add value to the work of Fellows;
- IT improvements increase efficiency, reporting and evaluation which leads to continuous improvement; and
- the requirements of regulators are increasing.
In 2020 and 2021, the cost of running the VTP was itemised and there was a proposal to raise trainee fees to cover the cost of running the VTP. Traditionally, Fellow fees have subsidised the VTP running costs. Based on feedback, the proposed 20% increase in trainee fees was lowered to 10%. Fellows will continue to subsidise the VTP fees as an investment in the future of the profession on a more financially sustainable basis.
Effective and efficient operations
The College’s strategic plan sees us investing in digital transformation to develop and enhance interactions with members. This will enable us to utilise the latest technologies and validated principles in delivering our member benefits, training program and advocacy agenda.
Staff are a major cost in any business. The College leadership pay careful attention to ensure that we recruit and retain experts who can ensure that the work Fellows do in their roles as trainers and supervisors is best translated into world-class education for the next generations of ophthalmologists. Our investments in technology and online platforms will allow us to make best use of our staff while paying close attention to headcount.
Fellows’ membership fees have had no CPI increase for two years
Fellowship fees were frozen in 2019-20. Fellow fees were further discounted by 10% in FY20-21 to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 and acknowledging that there was no Annual Scientific Congress during that year. There has been no CPI increase in FY20-21 or FY21-22 which meant that the College has absorbed cost increases of 5.7% over three years.
The College looks to be in a strong financial position in its annual reports. Is a fee increase justified?
Without context, the College Annual Reports can be misleading due to the many activities undertaken under the RANZCO umbrella.
The report presents an aggregated view of the College along with all Branches, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), our foundation (ANZEF) and the government funded Specialist Training Program. Each of the branches set an additional membership fee to fund activities such as events. The branches and SIGs are able to make independent decisions regarding the amount of cash and investments they hold in reserve.
Bequests and donations
Historically, the College has benefited from large one-off bequests and donations which have supplemented regular income such as membership and investment income, but are restricted to funding specific activities. In recent times, these one-off bequests and donations have greatly diminished. A reliance on variable sources of funding is not sustainable.
Under accounting standards, the College is required to regularly revalue its assets, including the Sydney office and its investment portfolio. These adjustments have been predominantly positive in recent years due to market growth but do not have any impact on the cashflow needed to fund everyday College operations.
During the pandemic, the College became eligible to receive government assistance that has now ceased. COVID restrictions prevented some regular College expenditure—travel in particular, from taking place. Both of these factors had a temporary positive impact on College results which are expected to be reversed over time.
The above factors have masked the underlying operating results which have been increasingly in a deficit position that is not sustainable in the long term.
When are the fees due?
The due date is listed in your invoice. We provide members two months to pay their annual fees which means generally August of the year the invoice was sent.
What are the various charges on the invoice?
Your contribution to the College, which funds the full range of member benefits and activities the College undertakes on behalf of its members.
Your contribution to your state branch to fund the activities they undertake on behalf of their members. These only apply to Fellows.
AVR (formerly ORIA) fees
Membership of the Australian Vision Research is optional and any payment contributes to their ongoing research and operating activities. This only applies to Australian Fellows.
Payment to Save Sight Society New Zealand is optional and contributes to ongoing research and activities in NZ. This only applies to NZ Fellows.
My circumstances have changed (e.g. retired, moved, switched to part time), what do I do?
If you have moved, retired or stepped back to part time, please let the College know by emailing us as soon as possible so we can update our records and update your fee level where appropriate.
I'm experiencing financial difficulty and unable to pay my fees, can the College assist?
Yes, we can. If you are experiencing financial difficulty, please reach out to the Finance Team to discuss payment plan options available.
When and where is the Annual Scientific Congress and what if I don't want to attend in person?
The 53rd Annual Scientific Congress is taking place on Friday 28 October to Tuesday 1 November 2022 in Brisbane. Please visit the Congress website.
I still have questions. Who should I contact?
Please contact the RANZCO Finance Team.
Last updated: May 12, 2022