Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Board and Independent Advisory Council of DisabilityCare Australia

Joint Media Release with:

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

  • Amanda Rishworth MP
    Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers

The Australian Government has appointed a long-standing champion of disability reform in Australia, Bruce Bonyhady AM, as the inaugural Chair of the Board of DisabilityCare Australia.

The Board will set the strategic direction of DisabilityCare Australia and play an important role in safeguarding its financial sustainability, including by commissioning and considering actuarial advice in its decisions.

Mr Bonyhady brings considerable expertise to the position of Chair of the Board, including through his work as Convenor of the Independent Panel that advised the Productivity Commission and Government during the Inquiry into Disability Care and Support and as a Member of the Disability Investment Group.

Mr Bonyhady has also held a number of senior positions in the funds management industry and insurance industry in Australia and internationally.

He is a Deputy Chair of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Advisory Group to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), current President of Philanthropy Australia and is the father of two sons with a disability.

The board members appointed by the Australian Government have extensive experience in the disability sector, insurance matters, financial management and corporate governance. The appointments have been endorsed by all States and Territories.

Members of the Board are:

  • Dr Rhonda Galbally AO, Deputy Chair of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Advisory Group
  • Ms Geraldine Harwood, former CEO of Optia Incorporated, a specialist disability service in Tasmania
  • Sir Leo Hielscher AC, Foundation Chairman, Queensland Treasury Corporation
  • Mr John Hill PSM, former board member of the Motor Accident Commission of South Australia
  • Mr Glenn Keys, CEO and Managing Director of Aspen Medical and a parent of a child with an intellectual disability
  • Mr Martin Laverty, CEO, Catholic Health Australia
  • Ms Fiona Payne, Foundation Co-Lead, WA Disability Health Network
  • Mr John Walsh AM, Associate Commissioner to the Productivity Commission inquiry into long-term care and support for people with disability in Australia

The Board of DisabilityCare Australia will receive advice from an Independent Advisory Council established by the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act.

The Australian Government has appointed Dr Rhonda Galbally AO as the Principal Member of the Independent Advisory Council.

Dr Galbally is a long-standing and passionate advocate for the rights of people with disability. She is a Deputy Chair of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Advisory Group, Chair of the National People with Disability and Carer Council and Chair of the National Disability and Carer Alliance. Her joint role as Member of the Board and Principal Member of the Independent Advisory Council will ensure a strong and dynamic relationship between the two bodies.

The Independent Advisory Council will help to ensure that the Board has a ready source of advice from the perspective of people with lived experience of disability.

The Council is made up of people with disability, their carers, those experienced in service delivery and disability in rural and remote areas and those with skills, experience or knowledge in the supply of equipment, or the provision of services, to people with disability. Its membership comprises a majority of persons with disability.

Members of the Independent Advisory Council are:

  • Dr Ken Baker, Chief Executive of National Disability Services, the peak association for non-government disability services
  • Mr Dean Barton-Smith AM, Chief Executive Officer of LINK Community Transport, a non-profit organisation providing community transport solutions assisting people with disability and their carers, and past Chair of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
  • Ms Michele Castagna OAM, first person with disability to be elected to Alice Springs Shire Council
  • Ms Jennifer Cullen, Chief Executive Officer of Synapse in Queensland
  • Mr Kurt Fearnley OAM, prominent paralympian and advocate
  • Ms Lois Gatley, Carer, Ambassador for Carers Australia and Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Ms Sylvana Mahmic, Chief Executive Officer of Pathways Early Childhood Intervention Inc
  • Ms Joan McKenna Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of the Autism Association of Western Australia
  • Ms Janet Meagher AM, current member of National Mental Health Commission
  • Dr Gerry Naughtin, Chief Executive of Mind Australia, one of the larger community based mental health NGOs in Australia
  • Mr Dale Reardon, founding President of of the Blind Citizens Australia (Tasmanian) Committee and former Director of Royal Guide Dogs Association
  • Mr Michael Taggart, Inclusion Project Officer with the City of Salisbury in South Australia

The Board and Council will be convening soon for inaugural meetings.