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Saturday, 15 October 2011

National Disability Insurance Scheme Advisory Group appointments

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas today announced the appointment of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Advisory Group.

The Advisory Group will help steer the development of a National Disability Insurance Scheme by providing advice on progress with the foundation reforms required to fundamentally improve the system of care and support for Australians with disability and their carers.

The new appointees to the Advisory Group are Dr Ken Baker, Dr Lorna Hallahan, Ms Joan McKenna-Kerr, Mr Brendan O’Reilly and Ms Fran Vickery.

The new appointees will join the Advisory Group Chairman Dr Jeff Harmer AO, Dr Rhonda Galbally AO and Mr Bruce Bonyhady AM.

The Advisory Group brings together a wealth of knowledge about the experience of people with disability and carers, the challenges for the service sector and government administration.
The group includes people with expertise in social insurance principles, disability policy, service provision, performance monitoring, training and curriculum development, academia and research, psychological and intellectual disability, indigenous disability services, young people and children with disability.

The Advisory Group will work closely with all governments as they work to deliver foundation reforms in preparation for a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Foundation reforms include developing common assessment tools, so that people's eligibility for support can be assessed fairly and consistently, based on their level of need, no matter which state or territory they live in.

The reforms also include service and quality standards so that people with disability can expect high-quality support; building workforce capacity so we have more trained staff to support people with disabilities; and developing rigorous timelines, milestones and benchmarks to support the delivery of these and other foundation reforms.

These reforms were recognised by the Productivity Commission in their report into the long term care and support of people with disability as a necessary precursor to a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Advisory Group will work with the disability sector and conduct a series of community workshops around the country.

They will be supported by expert working groups to provide technical expertise and advice on specific elements of reform.

More information on the National Disability Insurance Scheme is available at

National Disability Insurance Scheme Advisory Group:

Dr Jeff Harmer AO
Dr Harmer has occupied a range of executive positions in the Australian Public Service. He was appointed Secretary of the then Department of Family and Community Services in October 2004. In 2008 Dr Harmer was appointed as a member of the panel to review Australia's Future Tax System. Dr Harmer retired from his role as Secretary in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs in 2011.

Dr Rhonda Galbally AO
Dr Galbally is currently the Chair of the National People with Disabilities and Carer Council. Dr Galbally has made unique contributions to Australian and international social development by establishing new organisations and programs for Australia and the world, from concept to operational success. These include the ‘our community’ website, a hub of resources and support for Australia's 700,000 community organisations. Dr Galbally 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.

Mr Bruce Bonyhady AM
Mr Bonyhady is President of Philanthropy Australia. Mr Bonyhady is the Chairman of Yooralla and Chairman of the Advisory Panel to Solve! at the Royal Children's Hospital. He was a Member of the Disability Investment Group, the Reference Group for the Pension Review and the Convenor of the Independent Panel appointed to advise Productivity Commission and Government during the Inquiry into long-term care and support for Australians with disability.

Dr Ken Baker
Dr Baker has been the Chief Executive of National Disability Services since 2000. In that role he provides advice to governments and information to service providers on a broad range of disability policy issues. Among other groups, he is a member of advisory committees to the federal Minister for Workforce Participation and the Minster for Ageing. He has worked in areas of social policy development and public affairs for more than 25 years. He received a Centenary Medal for work in relation to disability services.

Dr Lorna Hallahan
Dr Hallahan has specific expertise in disability systems reform, the ethical consideration of disability services and safeguarding people with disability from abuse or harm. Dr Hallahan is currently Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Flinders University, and has advised governments in a variety of forums including the Pension Review, the SA Social Inclusion Board and as Chair of the Disability Advisory Council in South Australia.

Ms Joan McKenna-Kerr
Ms McKenna-Kerr is Chief Executive Officer of the Autism Association of WA, an organisation funded by the State and Commonwealth Government to provide specialist services to children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ms McKenna-Kerr is Chair of National Disability Services (WA) and a member on the National Board. She is also on the Australian Government Working Group to develop a National Autism Spectrum Disorder Register. Ms McKenna-Kerr was previously a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability.

Mr Brendan O’Reilly
Mr O’Reilly served as Deputy Director General of the NSW Department of Community Services, Director General of the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care and Director General of NSW Department of Premier & Cabinet.

Ms Fran Vickery
Ms Vickery is the Manager of Queenslanders with Disability Network. Ms Vickery has worked as a web developer and research consultant for disability organisations, a health promotions officer at the Woman’s Health Service and has been a lecturer and tutor in the Occupational Therapy Division of the University of Queensland.


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