27 October 2020

Celebrating 30 Years

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Association, formed on 1 December 1990 by the merger of two predecessor associations. Following successful meetings in September 1990, the original Australian Chiropractors’ Association (ACA), founded in 1938, merged with the United Chiropractors Association of Australasia (UCAA), founded in 1961, to become the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (CAA).

Since then, the past 30 years have been met with many milestones and historical moments that have helped shape the Association we know today. All have contributed to the continuous advocating and representation of chiropractors across Australia.

From inception until the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) in 1991, the new organisation was governed by a Board of Directors composed of equal numbers of former ACA and UCAA representatives, led by co-Chairpersons Dr Edwin Devereaux and Dr Paul R Searle.

As the chiropractic profession celebrated 100 years, the Association saw many wins both locally and internationally, including Dr John Sweaney being elected President of the recently-formed World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) and Dr Phillip Bolton being appointed to the WFC Research Council.

The Association’s partnership with Guild Insurance was formed in December 1996 with a unique innovation in professional liabilities insurance, which saw improved coverage. This new partnership marked the shift towards a ‘combined practice’ premium structure. Today, more than 70% of registered chiropractors in Australia are with Guild Insurance.

As we entered the new millennium, the Association experienced operational change and consolidation to help sharpen its focus. Most notably, Dr John Sweaney concluded his role as Executive Director, the national head office moved from the Blue Mountains to Western Sydney, and the role of CEO was redefined, with Gavin Hewton appointed to the role.

Following Dr Lawrence Tassell’s tenure as President from 1997 to 2001, Dr Andrew Lawrence took over the reins of leading the Association at the 2001 AGM.

The Association hosted the World Federation of Chiropractic’s 8th Biennial Congress, which took place in Sydney in June 2005. Over 750 delegates from around the world congregated in the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour.

National registration of chiropractors came into effect in 2010. The Association was appointed one of two approved assessors of Formal Learning Activities for CPD by the Chiropractic Board of Australia, assessing 145 seminars across the first year.

Launched in 2014, the Australian Chiropractic Research Network (ACORN) project is the first national, longitudinal and sustainable practice-based research network program focusing on chiropractic worldwide. This initiative was proudly funded by the CAA and ushered in a new era of research funding, including PhD and MRes scholarships, the National Study Grant Scheme, the Giles Medal, BACE:C-A Study and the CARL Program.

In August 2014, Dr Matthew Fisher was appointed to the role of CEO. With fresh vigour for the role, Dr Fisher ushered in a new era, appointing key staff, bringing the budget into surplus and moving the head office to Parramatta, the geographical centre of Sydney.

Following a more than three year consultation period and several weeks of extraordinary general meetings (EGMs) of each CAA entity, members resoundingly voted ‘yes’ to restructure the federated model of eight branches and one national entity into a new single entity. The CAA officially became the ACA on 28 May 2018, with the new Board meeting in early June and appointing Dr Anthony Coxon as President.

The Australasian Institute of Chiropractic Education (AICE) was established in 2019 by the ACA to promote advanced clinical competence and knowledge transfer through the establishment of credentialed advanced learning pathways. In 2020 all our clinical interest groups have transitioned into AICE as clinical practice groups.

The last three decades have demonstrated the ACA’s relentless pursuit towards the vision that ‘more Australians value and experience chiropractic care for their health and wellbeing’. For a full article detailing the history of the Association, read the October 2020 edition of The Australian Chiropractor.

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