Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Welcoming new members to disability and carer council

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Jenny Macklin MP
    Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
    Minister for Disability Reform

  • The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP
    Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers

Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin, and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Amanda Rishworth, today appointed two new co-chairs and welcomed three new members to the National People with Disabilities and Carer Council.

Ms Macklin and Ms Rishworth congratulated the Council’s new co-chairs, Kirsten Deane and Samantha Jenkinson, as well as the new members, Cain Beckett, Maurice Corcoran AM, and Dr George Taleporos, on their new roles.

The National People with Disabilities and Carer Council provides important advice to the Australian Government on issues affecting people with disability, their families and carers in Australia.

“Ms Jenkinson is a person with disability and Ms Deane is a carer, so bringing them together as co-chairs recognises the importance of the Council in advising on both disability and carer issues,” Ms Macklin said.

“The new co-chairs and members will bring a wealth of new ideas, experiences and knowledge to their roles. They have a diverse range of backgrounds, including social work, disability advocacy, journalism, academia, business and government.

“The Council has played an important role in Australia’s significant disability reforms, including providing input to the design and development of DisabilityCare Australia.

“It also to provides advice to the Australian Government on the implementation of our important National Disability Strategy and National Carer Strategy.”

“The Council will continue to provide expert advice on disability and carer policy, and will maintain a high level of interest in DisabiityCare’s roll-out.

“I congratulate the co-chairs and members on their new roles and look forward to their contribution to the Council.”

Ms Rishworth thanked the Council’s outgoing Chair and members and wished them well in their new roles.

“The Federal Labor Government is enormously grateful to outgoing Chair Dr Rhonda Galbally,” Ms Rishworth said.

“Dr Galbally has stepped down from the Council to serve in joint roles as Member of the DisabilityCare Australia Board and Principal Member of the Independent Advisory Council, which will ensure a strong and dynamic relationship between the two bodies.

“As Chair, Dr Galbally worked tirelessly to improve access for people with disability in key mainstream areas as education, employment and transport.

“One of her many achievements as the chair of Council was the publication of the Shut Out report in 2009, which ensured the voices of people with disability, their families and carers were heard.

“I also thank outgoing member Nicole Lawder, who took a lead role in developing advice on improved access to public transport in Australia.”


Samantha Jenkinson is a disability advocate who has worked and advocated in areas as diverse as employment, housing and support, service coordination, individualised funding and person-centred planning.

Ms Jenkinson brings with her experience as a trained social worker and a person with disability and was also the recipient of the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Disability Reform in 2013.

Ms Jenkinson was a previous chair of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations and is currently a local government councillor for the city of Stirling in Western Australia.

She is also Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability in Western Australia, and is on the Board of the Disability Services Commission Western Australia.

Kirsten Deane has been a member of the National People with Disabilities and Carer Council since it was established in 2008 and appointed Deputy-Chair in 2009. Ms Deane is also a member of the NDIS Expert Advisory Group on National Approach to Choice and Control. Until recently she was also the Executive Director of the National Disability and Carer Alliance and the Deputy Campaign Director of the Every Australian Counts campaign for the NDIS. She is a long-term board member of both Down Syndrome Victoria and Down Syndrome Australia. A former journalist turned academic, Ms Deane has three children and as a result spends a lot of time running and not much time sleeping.

Maurice Corcoran AM is the head of the South Australian Community Visitor Scheme, an independent statutory scheme which conducts visits and inspections to mental health treatment centres and disability accommodation facilities in South Australia.

In June 2006, Maurice was made a Member of the Order of Australia (A.M.) for Service to people with disabilities, as a contributor to the development of national standards for public transport and representation at the United Nations.

In December 2002, Mr Corcoran received a national award from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission for his work on developing the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport and in 2001 he received a Centenary Medal for ‘powerful advocacy at a national level for people with a disability’.

Dr George Taleporos is the manager of the Youth Disability Advocacy Service. He has been involved in setting up new services, as well as advocating on systemic issues around community living and attendant support for people with disability.

He has also been involved in delivering disability awareness training to local government as well as disability service providers.

Dr George Taleporos completed a PhD in psychology in 2002, researching body image and sexuality issues and how they are affected by physical disability.

Cain Beckett is a father of two and Business Unit Manager within the Corporate Trust division of Perpetual. He is Chair of the Disability Council of NSW, representing the Council at joint meetings of national Disability Advisory Body representatives on the implementation of the National Disability Strategy, and is a Non-Executive Director of Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Mr Beckett was formerly an excellent archer, ranking in the top 50 Paralympic archers worldwide.