8553.0 - Optometry and Optical Dispensing Services, Australia, 1997-98  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/10/1999   
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October 29, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Optometry and optical dispensing industry earned 11% profit margin in 1997-98 - ABS

Australian optometrists and optical dispensing businesses averaged an operating profit margin of 10.9% across the industry and generated $818 million in total income during 1997-98, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The 1557 optometry and optical dispensing businesses earned the majority of this income (80%) through the sale of optical goods, while fee-for-optometry-service income accounted for only 18% of total income.

Total expenditure for businesses was $733 million. The two major components of industry expenditure were the purchase of optical goods ($253 million) and labour costs ($223 million). In total, 8,915 persons were employed in the industry as at the end of June 1998.

The majority (53%) of businesses operated with a single optometrist or optical dispenser. These small businesses accounted for 18% of employment and 14% of income in the industry. In comparison, 9% or of all businesses employed five or more optometrists and/or optical dispensers but accounted for 51% of industry employment and 59% of industry income.

Males dominated the optometry profession with 62% of optometrists being male. This was particularly evident for optometrists aged over 44 years with 81% in this age grouping being men. In contrast, women accounted for 52% of optometrists less than 35 years of age.

There was one optometrist in private practice for every 7780 people in Australia. New South Wales (one optometrist for 7101 people) and Queensland (one optometrist for 7186 people) had the highest number of optometrists in private practice per head of population.

In an average working week, the 2410 optometrists in private practice during March 1998 had on average 40 consultations per week.

Details are in Optometry and Optical Dispensing Services, Australia, 1997-98 (cat. no. 8553.0) available from ABS bookshops. A summary of the publication is also available on this site. The ABS encourages media organisations with online news services to link to the summary. Please phone us if you need assistance to do this.