Media Release by The Hon Christian Porter MP

Strong Board to Guide the NDIS

The Board overseeing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will be expanded from 1 January 2017 to ensure it has the disability service, financial management, corporate governance and insurance-based expertise needed to guide the $22 billion scheme through its critical three year expansion to 2019-20.

The new Chair of the National Disability Insurance Agency Board, Dr Helen Nugent AO, is an experienced Chairperson with a history of very senior roles in the financial services, health, energy, resources, education and arts sectors.

Dr Nugent is Chair of the Australian Rail Track Corporation and the National Portrait Gallery of Australia and a Director of Origin Energy and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. She was made an Order of Australia in 2004 for services to business, the arts and the community.

She will be supported by four continuing Board members and seven new members, to combine high level experience in governance, finance, risk management and insurance; together with lived experience of disability to provide confidence to the sector that the NDIS will be expertly overseen to deliver for people with disability, their families and carers.

The new members of the Board from 1 January 2017 are:

  • Ms Sandra Birkensleigh: A member of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s audit committee and the Sunshine Coast Children’s Therapy Centre with extensive experience in financial services, risk management and compliance.
  • Ms Robyn Kruk AM: Deputy Chair of Mental Health Australia, who has held numerous senior roles in government bodies, including establishing and working as the inaugural CEO of the National Mental Health Commission.
  • Mr John Langoulant AO: Former Under Treasurer of the West Australian Treasury with extensive experience in the private and public sectors.
  • Mr Jim Minto: A director of the Australian Finance Group and Dai-ichi Life Asia-Pacific with extensive insurance experience.
  • Mr Paul O’Sullivan: Current Chair of Singtel Optus and board member of Healthscope Limited and the St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation.
  • Ms Estelle Pearson: Award winning actuary and director of Finity Consulting with extensive experience in the insurance industry.
  • Ms Andrea Staines: An experienced director and advisor on strategic planning and risk management and board member of Uniting Care QLD and Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said the new Board would deliver the right mix of skills to oversee this unique transition period for the NDIS, as it ramps up from a 30,000 person trial to having 460,000 participants at full scheme.

“The NDIS has the Government’s full commitment and that is why I have ensured we have the right mix of expertise on the Board to lead the NDIS through this critical transition phase to the rollout of the full scheme in 2019-20,” the Minister said.

“We need to ensure that the Board has the skills and expertise needed to carefully manage the significant scale, cost and potential risks in delivering the best possible scheme for participants, their families and carers.

“The fact that the new Board provides the right blend of skills and experience is evidenced by the fact that four of the Board members have lived experience of disability whilst other members have long involvement in the disability sector.

“While broadening the skills base of the Board is essential to manage the $22 billion scheme, it’s also important to maintain the valuable continuity provided by the four continuing Board members who have experience of the NDIS.

“I am confident that the new Board will oversee the scheme with the rigor, vision and care required to deliver the best possible NDIS for people with disability, their families and carers.”

The four continuing members of the NDIA Board, who had their terms extended by 12 months last year, are: Professor Rhonda Galbally AO; Mr Glenn Keys; Mr Martin Laverty; and Mr John Walsh AM.

The Minister acknowledged the contribution of the four outgoing Board members: Chair, Mr Bruce Bonyhady AM; Ms Geraldine Harwood; Mr John Hill PSM; and Ms Fiona Payne, whose extended terms end on 31 December 2016.

“I thank the outgoing Board Members for their dedication in helping to take the NDIS from a policy concept, through a successful trial period, and into these first intense months of transition,” the Minister said.

“I look forward to working with the new Board to ensure that the NDIS successfully moves to the next phase in its implementation with full rollout in 2019-20.”

The appointments have been made in accordance with section 127 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 under which the Minister for Social Services appoints members of the NDIA Board.

Biographies can be found below.

NDIA Board Members

Dr Helen Nugent AO (Chairman, new member)

Dr Helen Nugent AODr Nugent is a professional Non-Executive Director who brings significant expertise to the NDIA.

She has been involved with complex transformational projects, including as Director of Strategy at Westpac Banking Corporation where she was part of the turnaround executive leadership team at Westpac in the early 1990s. As the current Chairman of Australian Rail Track Corporation, she is focused on supporting the organisation’s customer focus and the evaluation of the nation building Inland Rail Project. As a Non-Executive Director at Origin Energy for 13 years, she has overseen significant major transformational initiatives.

As the former Chairman of Veda Group until it was acquired by Equifax in 2016, she was involved with using big data to deliver superior outcomes for customers and the community.

She has a strong background in financial services, particularly in insurance, having been the Chairman of Swiss Re (Australia) and Swiss Re (Life and Health) Australia; as well as Mercantile Mutual. In addition, she has been Chairman of Funds SA, which, under her leadership, grew members’ funds five-fold to $26 billion. She was also a Non-Executive Director of Macquarie Group for 15 years during a period of rapid growth.

She has strong strategy skills, demonstrated as a Partner at McKinsey & Company and as Professor in Management and Director of the MBA Program at the Australian Graduate School of Management.

Finally, Helen gives back to the community in education, the arts, and more recently in health. Currently she is a Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Previously, in education she was Chancellor of Bond University, President of Cranbrook School and a member of the four person Bradley Review into tertiary education. In the arts, she is currently Chairman of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia and was previously Chairman of the Major Performing Arts Inquiry, Chairman of the National Opera Review, Chairman of the Major Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council and Deputy Chairman of the Australia Council.

In 2004, Dr Nugent was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to business, the arts and the community. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with first class honours and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Indian History from the University of Queensland, as well as an MBA (with Distinction) from the Harvard Business School.

Ms Sandra Birkensleigh (new member)

Ms Sandra BirkensleighMs Birkensleigh is currently a member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the University of Sunshine Coast. She is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Australia and New Zealand and a member of the Institute of Company Directors.

Ms Birkensleigh has extensive experience in financial services particularly in respect to risk management, compliance and corporate governance. Her career includes 24 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where she was formerly a Global Lead for Governance Risk & Compliance; a National Lead Partner Risk and Controls Solutions and a Service Team Leader for Performance Improvement. She has extensive experience as Funds Administration Manager – Investment trusts and Superannuation with Aust-Wide Management Limited.

Ms Birkensleigh currently holds several Board memberships including: Chair of the Audit Committee and member of the Disclosure Committee of Horizon Oil NL NED, Chair of Audit Committee and member of Risk Committee of MLC Insurance Limited, Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee 7-11 Holdings Group, independent member of the Audit Committee of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Chair of Audit committee and member of Risk and Remuneration Committees for Auswide Bank Limited, member of the Board and Treasurer for Sunshine Coast Children’s Therapy Centre.

Professor Rhonda Galbally AO (continuing member)

Professor Rhonda Galbally AOProfessor Rhonda Galbally AO is a member of the NDIA Board and Principal Member of NDIA’s Independent Advisory Council.

Professor Galbally has made a number of contributions to Australian and international social development, particularly for people with disability. From 2008-2013, Professor Galbally was the Chair of the National People with Disabilities and Carer Council. She was a member of the Independent Panel appointed to advise the Productivity Commission and Government during the Inquiry into long-term care and support for Australians with disability. She was also a member of the former National Disability Insurance Scheme Advisory Group.

Professor Galbally founded the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) and the Australian International Health Institute, now the Nossal Institute. She was also the founding CEO of the Australian Commission for the Future and the Executive Director of the Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Foundation, Chair of Philanthropy Australia, the Chair of the Royal Women’s Hospital, and the Independent Chair of the competition policy review of medicines, poisons and chemicals. She was the transitional CEO of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency.

Professor Galbally was awarded an Order of Australia in 1990 and the Centenary Medal in 2003, in recognition of her service to the community. In 2012, Professor Galbally was awarded the Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement Award in the National Disability Awards.

Mr Glenn Keys (continuing member)

Mr Glenn KeysMr Keys is the CEO and Managing Director of Aspen Medical. After a distinguished career in the Australian Army, Glenn has worked in a range of businesses, establishing Aspen in 2003.

Mr Keys is active in a number of organisations that work to maximise opportunities for people with disabilities. He now works closely with organisations such as the Business Leaders Innovative Thoughts Solutions (BLITS) and the Special Olympics, and is the Founder and Director for Project Independence, a new housing initiative, offering home ownership options for people with disability.

Mr Keys has led Aspen Medical from its founding over ten years ago. In 2011, Aspen was selected as the Australian Exporter of the Year (Services) for its work around the globe.

Mr Keys is a Board member of the ACT Canberra Business Council. He is the father of a child with an intellectual disability.

Ms Robyn Kruk AM (new member)

Ms Robyn Kruk AMMs Kruk has extensive experience as Chief Executive of national and state policy and service delivery agencies, including NSW Health and Premier and Cabinet. She was the Secretary of the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, and established and worked as the inaugural CEO/Commissioner of the National Mental Health Commission. Ms Kruk is currently Chair of Food Standards Australia and New Zealand and a Member of the NSW Planning Assessment Commission. She holds various Non-Executive Director positions including Deputy Chair Mental Health Australia, Chair of the NSW Ambulance Advisory Board and WA Partnership Forum, and a member of the Governance Institute Advisory Panel, Chair Emerita and Member Reforming States Group, USA (Milbank Fund) and an ANZSOG Board Member. Ms Kruk was Assessor for the Defence Abuse Response Task Force and Chair of the eHealth Implementation Steering Committee.

Mr John Langoulant AO (new member)

Mr John Langoulant AOMr John Langoulant is currently Senior Public Sector Adviser with Deloitte Western Australian government and public sector team. He has extensive experience in private and public sectors including Chief Executive Officer with Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd, Chief Executive Officer with Australian Capital Equity, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia and was Western Australia’s Under Treasurer for nine years (1995-2004).

He currently holds other corporate and not for profit roles including Chairman, Western Australia Westpac Banking Corporation, Advisor to the Vice Chancellor Curtin University, Chairman of the Board for Pawsey Supercomputer Centre, Chairman DBNG (WA) Transmission Pty Ltd, Chairman, Government Employees Superannuation Board and Chairman Telethon Kids Institute.

Mr Langoulant was awarded an AO in 2010 for distinguished service to business and commerce, particularly through leadership and management roles and to the community of Western Australia.

Mr Martin Laverty (continuing member)

Mr Martin LavertyMr Laverty is the National CEO of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. Prior to this, he was CEO of Catholic Health Australia for six years.

Mr Laverty currently serves as a member of the NSW Public Service Commission Board and as Chair of the Social Determinants of Health Alliance.

He is a former Chair of the NSW Heart Foundation and a member of the Heart Foundation National Board, and served until August 2014 on the Federal Government’s Aged Care Sector Advisory Committee and the National Health Performance Authority’s Private Hospital Committee.

Mr Laverty has experience working with disability service providers, including former roles as Board Chair of Sunshine Homes for seven years and Challenge Southern Highlands for eight years.

Mr Laverty is also a former CEO and Board member of the NSW Muscular Dystrophy Association. He is a member of the NDIA’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Mr Jim Minto (new member)

Mr Jim MintoMr Minto is currently Non-Executive Director of Singapore based Dai-ichi Life Asia Pacific and of Australian Finance Group (AFG). He re-joined the AFG board in 2015 having retired as Group CEO and Managing Director of life insurer TAL (formerly TOWER Australia). TAL is 100% owned by Dai-ichi Life, a major global Japanese-based life insurer. He had been in that role since November 2006 and prior to that was Group CEO of the trans-tasman TOWER Limited Group. Mr Minto has extensive experience in the financial services sector and was Chair of Nominations and Remuneration and member Audit, Compliance and Risk Committees of the AFG business having sat on the AFG board from 2004 until 2013.

A Chartered Accountant, Mr Minto recently retired as Chair of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) and was a panel member of the Australian Government’s Review of Natural Disasters Insurance in 2011.

Mr Paul O’Sullivan (new member)

Mr Paul O'SullivanMr O’Sullivan is currently Chairman of Singtel Optus. He was previously CEO of Singtel Group Consumer from 2012 -2014, where he was responsible for the wholly owned operations in Singapore and Australia, as well as Singtel’s investments in Thailand, India, Africa, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Mr O’Sullivan was CEO of Optus from September 2004 to March 2012,. Previously he held senior positions within Optus including Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of Optus Mobile. He has also worked in various international management roles at the Colonial Group and the Royal Dutch Shell Group in Canada, the Middle East, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Mr O’Sullivan is a board member of Healthscope, one of Australia’s largest private healthcare providers; a board member of the St. George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation and a member of the advisory board of the UNSW Bright Alliance.

Mr O’Sullivan is a member of the Board of Commissioners of Telkomsel – Indonesia’s largest mobile communications company with over 130 million customers and a Board member of HOOQ PTE LTD, a joint venture between Singtel, Warner Bros and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

He is a former Board Director of Bharti Airtel: India’s mobile market leader.

Ms Estelle Pearson (new member)

Ms Estelle PearsonMs Pearson is currently a Director of Finity Consulting Pty Limited, an actuarial and consulting firm, and was Managing Director between 2007 and 2015. Ms Pearson works with many of Australia’s leading general insurers in the public and private sector, providing both actuarial and strategic advice, particularly around personal injury and accident compensation insurance.

Ms Pearson has held previous positions of Partner and Actuarial General Insurance Practice Manager with Deloitte and Consultant Director with Trowbridge Consulting. She was on the Council of the Actuaries Institute from 2011 to 2015 and President of the Institute and Chair of the Council in 2015.

Ms Pearson has worked with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to estimate the potential cost of a national redress scheme for survivors of abuse. She previously worked with the Royal Commission into the failure of HIH and assisted the Federal and State Governments to develop responses to the insurance crisis that followed the collapse of HIH, co-authoring the report “Public Liability Insurance – Practical Proposals for Reform.”

Ms Pearson was awarded Actuary of The Year in 2012 by the Actuaries Institute in recognition of her thought leadership in the actuarial profession and her contribution to promoting actuaries and the actuarial profession in the insurance market.

Ms Andrea Staines (new member)

Ms Andrea StainesAndrea Staines is a professional Non-Executive Director, with over ten years’ experience on listed, unlisted, government and for-purpose boards in three arenas – care, infrastructure and transport.

In the care arena, Andrea is currently on the board of UnitingCare Qld, recently stepped down from the board of social enterprise Goodstart Early Learning, and was previously on the board of Early Learning Services (ASX:ELY). She is also on the board of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

Andrea is also currently on the boards of QIC, SeaLink (ASX:SLK) and Tourism Australia.

Andrea’s executive career was in airlines. She was a member of the Qantas Group Executive Committee, as CEO Australian Airlines (mark II), a subsidiary flying between Asia and Australia, which she co-launched. Prior to Australian Airlines, Andrea was the head of Qantas Pricing & Inventory, after having worked in various financial and strategy roles at Qantas, and at American Airlines’ Dallas headquarters.

Andrea has an MBA from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Queensland. She is the mother of two university students whom she raised single-handedly during her eight years at the Qantas Group.

Mr John Walsh AM (continuing member)

Mr John WalshJohn Walsh has recently retired as a Partner in the Advisory division of PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he worked for over twenty years. He has been a Board member of the NSW Motor Accident Authority and the NSW HomeCare Service and statutory actuary to workers compensation authorities of both New South Wales and South Australia and the NSW Lifetime Care and Support Authority.

In 2008 Mr Walsh was a member of the Disability Investment Group established to study options for increasing the investment opportunities in the disability sector, and in 2010 he was appointed to the Productivity Commission to investigate the feasibility of a National Disability Insurance Scheme and other options to fund lifetime care and support for people with a disability.

In 2011 he was made Deputy-Chair of the National Health Performance Authority and recently was appointed to the Board of the National Disability Insurance Agency.