Media Release: Expertise of People with Disability Vital to the Board of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

A diverse partnership of 37 representative organisations of people with disability, disability advocacy organisations and disability peak bodies are calling for the 2017 Board of the NDIA to ensure strong representation of people with disability. The partner organisations made their call as part of a Civil Society NDIS Statement directed to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

The Australian Government is expected to announce new appointments to the NDIA Board by the 1 January 2017. Media reports earlier in the year indicated that, regardless of agreement by State and Territory Governments, the appointees would be ‘corporate heavyweights’ with high level commercial skills.

Spokespersons for the partner organisations stress that the success of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) requires Board leadership and skillsets that go well beyond industry and financial management:

“The success of NDIS implementation cannot be adequately understood from simply an economic, market or financial perspective,” said Bonnie Millen, President of People with Disability Australia. “We expect NDIA board members to lead and uphold the vision, objects and principles of the NDIS, which broadly aim to support our independence and social and economic participation. This requires specific technical and disability knowledge, skills and expertise, and strong representation of people with disability on the NDIA Board is critical to achieving this.”

Christina Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of Advocacy for Inclusion said, “High level corporate skills cannot be favoured over disability expertise. The long-term viability of the NDIS needs to remain steadfast in achieving core principles, including participant choice and control and genuine co-design by people with disability. We are the experts in our own lives, and this expertise is critical to the integrity and cost effectiveness of NDIS implementation. The Government wrongly assumes that there are no people with disability with the high level governance, financial management and industry expertise required for the NDIA Board.”

Executive Director of Community Mental Health Australia, Amanda Bresnan said, “Building strong linkages between the NDIS and other service systems, including the mental health service system is critical for people with psychosocial disability. NDIS governance must include people with disability to reflect the unique combination of expertise that is essential for a scheme that is more than an exercise in industry and financial management – it is designed to deliver secure lifetime support and equality of opportunity.”


Information for media:

The Civil Society NDIS Statement outlines critical areas of action to strengthen engagement with people with disability in all aspects of the NDIS, including in relation to the Board of the NDIA. The Statement includes the list of 37 partner organisations and is available online.


Bonnie Millen, People with Disability Australia, 0401 786 991
Christina Ryan, Advocacy for Inclusion, (02) 6257 4005
Amanda Bresnan, Community Mental Health Australia, 0417 193 407