National Disability and Carers Advisory Council
The Hon Sarah Henderson MP is the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, appointed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 28 August 2018. As part of this role, Assistant Minister Henderson is the Co-Chair of the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council. Assistant Minister Henderson has previously served as Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, and Economics.
Assistant Minister Henderson started her career as a cadet journalist with Channel 7 Melbourne in 1982. After stints at Channel 9 and Channel 10 as a reporter and presenter, in 1989 she joined the ABC where she worked for The Investigators and 7.30 Report including as its Victorian host.
In 1998, after obtaining a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Monash University, Assistant Minister Henderson turned to the law, joining commercial law firm Allens Arthur Robinson which included a period working for News Corporation in New York. She then started her own media consultancy before taking on various commercial roles with Channel 10 Sydney and National Indigenous TV.
Inspired by her parent’s political careers and a determination to be a strong local voice for her community, in September 2013, Assistant Minister Henderson was proudly elected the Federal Member for Corangamite and re-elected in July 2016.
Mr Nigel Webb (Co-Chair)
Mr Webb has spent more than 30 years being actively involved in social advocacy for people with disability.
With over 20 years’ experience in community roles, Mr Webb has held the following positions:
- Present–2010 – Chairperson, Director Queenslanders with Disability Network Limited
- 2004–2012 – Board Member, Public Occupational Therapists Board of Queensland
- 2003–2005 – Community Member, National Disability Advisory Council
- 2002–2004 – Community Member, Inclusive Education Taskforce
- 1999–2004 – Disability Council of Queensland
- 1994–2003 – President & Committee Member of Queensland Advocacy Inc.
Mr Webb currently works as a Client Liaison Officer at Choice, Passion, Life. He is also a contractor to Homelife Association Inc., a registered NDIS service provider, and assists customers and their families to self-direct or plan-manage their Queensland funding.
As a man with cerebral palsy who has spent much of his childhood in different institutional settings in Brisbane, Mr Webb has a lot to offer the disability community through his newly appointed position on the Council.
Mr Webb is also a retired Queensland athlete of wheelchair track and field events, with five gold medals earned at national and international events during the 1980s.
Ms Donna Bain is the General Manager of Self Help Workplace, a Supported Employment Enterprise employing 52 people with a disability in Launceston Tasmania.
Ms Bain has over 20 years of experience in the not for profit sector through a range of paid and volunteer roles in the legal profession, foster care, human rights, international war crime tribunals, disability sports and migrants and refugees.
Ms Bain also serves as the Community Chair of the Premier’s Disability Advisory Council, Deputy Chair of the NDS Tasmania State Committee and is a Director with the Launceston Chamber of Commerce.
A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and winner of the Telstra White Pages Community and Government (Tasmania) Award in 2011, Ms Bain brings expertise in business management, policy development, corporate governance in the not for profit sector and leadership to her roles in the disability sector.
Ms Nell Brown worked for nearly a decade as a policy adviser to two NSW Ministers in both Government and shadow portfolios for Ageing and Disability Services.
Ms Brown was tasked with the oversight of New South Wales Hunter trials for the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the National Disability Strategy and the devolution of NSW’s large residences.
As a Ministerial Adviser, Ms Brown had oversight of the NSW Disability Council, NSW Carers Council, Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing, the Aboriginal Advisory Committee as well as Person Centred Approaches; an advisory group formed to contribute to shaping the NSW Government policy and reform plans.
Since leaving the Ministers office Ms Brown has been developing resources targeting Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to support sector readiness for the NDIS. To this end Ms Brown wrote ‘Supporting Your Mob in a Disability Market’ to support the capacity of Aboriginal organisations to develop a stream of specialised services.
Ms Brown has also recently developed a guide and resources ‘Connecting Voices’ to support Aboriginal Families within different systems such as the NDIS, Child Protection, Juvenile Justice, Family Court and other areas where children, adolescents, people with disability and their families need support with decision-making.
Her passion project has been writing the National Inclusion Project, an evolving project to shape community development by bringing together people with disability along with the commercial, technical, academic and not-for-profit worlds into the disability space, to solve and resolve issues, and to support the development of more cohesive communities; within a national framework.
As a parent, she has a lived experience of complex needs. Through supporting her daughter and through her family carer networks, Ms Brown became a passionate advocate for those who are, and remain, voiceless due to the severity and complexity of disability, unable to self-advocate.
Mr Paul Coates was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Carers WA in February 2008. Mr Coates’ role is to lead the organisation which provides services and advocates for better supports for carers in Western Australia. The Chief Executive Officer is appointed by the Board and is responsible for the ongoing efficient management of the organisation in accordance with the strategies, policies, mission and directions approved by the Board.
Prior to Carers WA, Mr Coates worked in the UK as a senior executive and at Board level for a 10,000 unit social housing organisation based in London. Prior to this role, he was the Director of Finance for the largest UK National Health Service Community Health Trust which delivered community based services across north London. Mr Coates has also worked as a management consultant for various companies including PriceWaterhouseCoopers and was engaged in Africa working on a range of government aid programs for a period of four years. Based in Nairobi, Mr Coates worked on UK, USA and World Bank funded programs in a range of sectors including education, research, agriculture and wildlife. In his early career Mr Coates worked for the UK Government on Value for Money Studies presented to the UK Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee.
Ms Jennifer Cullen has extensive experience in the provision of a comprehensive range of community-based services which provide benefits for people with a disability. As the CEO of Synapse in Queensland, Ms Cullen has a strong understanding of and detailed experience in supporting people with acquired brain injuries and complex and challenging behaviours.
She also holds a number of volunteer positions and undertakes a number of extracurricular work activities in the areas of disability services and Indigenous issues.
Mr Wilhelm Harnisch was the Chief Executive Officer of Master Builders Australia, the leading industry association representing the building and construction industry from 2002 to early 2017.
Mr Harnisch is recognised for his expertise across a wide range of public policy areas including economics, taxation, finance, superannuation, training, social housing and housing for people with special needs, as well as the private housing sector. He is a founding director of Livable Housing, that is an industry based group that seeks to advance the adoption of accessible housing by the private sector. He has a strong connection to and understanding of the NDIS and has been heavily involved in its policy genesis under Prime Minister Rudd and the Hon Bill Shorten. He also has firsthand understanding at the operational and delivery level, as the Chair of a medium sized provider that provides assistance to mildly mentally disabled persons living independently who are funded under the NDIS.
Mr Harnisch brings considerable capabilities in corporate governance, reflecting the senior directorships he holds, public policy analyses through his involvement with government and strategic corporate organisational structures. He holds a BA from the University of Canberra, as well as a number of post graduate qualifications. He is Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Management.
Ms Christine Kerr was the recipient of the 2003 Centenary medal for service to the disabled community and is the WA Disability Services Commission "Count Me In" Mid-West Ambassador.
She has a wealth of experience in the Human Services and private sectors.
She has had a long-term involvement in the TAFE, labour market and disability sectors with a focus on human rights, social inclusion and disability inclusive development.
She is currently Operations Manager with ATLAS, a recreation inclusion program in the Midwest of Western Australia and consults with Transition Management in the areas of training, organisational development, leadership and disability awareness.
Ms Kerr advocates for fair inclusion of all people in every aspect of community. She believes in building dynamic, proactive welcoming communities that value diversity.
Her Board positions past and present include, the Mid West Development Commission, WA Disability Services Commission and National Disability and Carers Advisory Council.
Mr Harrison Kirkwood is a young person with lived experience of disability, who has previously served on the NSW Youth Advisory Council and been a Youth Ambassador for the Save Sight Institute.
Mr Kirkwood strives to create opportunities for self-improvement for both himself and others. As a result of his own personal struggles of living with blindness, he has embraced the concept of change to meet the challenges to be able to live a better quality life. He advocates for people with disability, especially young people, to be more empowered to engage in social activities and educational achievement.
Over the past 20 years Mr Greg Madson has been heavily involved in advocacy and support of people with a disability in the areas of sport, the arts, recreation, transport, information technology, employment and education.
Mr Madson is a past member of the Western Australian Ministerial Advisory Council for Disability and the WA NDIS Reference Group. Mr Madson has served as President of Blind Citizens Australia, President of the West Australian Tandem Cycling Advisory Council, and President of Dog Guide Handlers Australia.
As well as running his own business, GAM Industries, designing and building accessible websites, Mr Madson is currently President of People with Disabilities WA, President of WA Blind Sports Federation, Vice President of Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, Treasurer of Diverse Leadership, a member of the LotteryWest Sector Advisory Group for the Disability Equipment Grant program, a Board member of Avivo (previously Perth Home Care Services), and has served on the boards of the Association for the Blind of WA, Australian Blindness Forum, and was a member of the City of Nedlands Access Reference Working Group for 10 years.
As a tandem cyclist Mr Madson competed at state, national and international levels including:
- 1994-1999 National Disabled Cycling Championships – 12 Gold, 8 Silver and 4 Bronze medals.
- 1998 Represented Australia in the World Disabled Cycling Championships Colorado Springs, USA.
- 1996 Represented Australia at the Paralympics in Atlanta, USA. Personal best time for 1km time trial and ranked 6th in the world for Men’s Sprint event.
- 1995 Gold Medal – Tour of Singapore.
Mrs Jessica May is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the innovative web based Enabled Employment, which is an online jobs portal for people who are disadvantaged, such as people with a disability, carers and service men and women.
Enabled Employment was founded after Mrs May’s own experience as a highly experienced worker with a disability and is a commercial private entity with an entirely new approach to eliminating barriers to employment. The company uses multiple innovative elements including the use of remote work, the employment agency business model and the latest cloud technology to make finding suitable work easy for both businesses and candidates.
Enabled Employment has won multiple awards including the Australian Web Industry Award for Best Commercial Website, a Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award for Excellence in Innovation, an iAward in the Startup category, a United Nations National Disability Awards and the Australian Human Resources Institute Graeme Innes AM Disability Employment Award
Mrs May has also been recognised personally by winning the National Telstra Women’s Business Awards in the Startup category and also recently being recognised as one of Australia’s top nine most influential entrepreneurs.
Ms Teresa Pilbeam is a parent, carer, teacher and researcher. In her 25 years as a teacher she has worked as a P-12 English, Dance, and Special Education teacher. Ms Pilbeam has been a primary carer for 17 years and has participated in the workforce when her caring obligations allow. Consequently, Ms Pilbeam is a strong advocate for equitable and flexible employment opportunities for carers. She has been an active board director in the carer and disability sectors since 2011 and sits as a carer representative on the Queensland Carers Advisory Board. Ms Pilbeam is passionate about ensuring that strategic promises are achieved through consultation with service recipients to determine if support is provided at the right time, in the right place, and with the appropriate measure of intensity.
Mr Frank Quinlan is the CEO of Mental Health Australia, the peak body representing mental health organisations in Australia. Mr Quinlan is responsible for implementing Mental Health Australia’s vision of "better mental health for all Australians".
Mr Quinlan was previously the Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Australia, a peak national body for social services organisations providing social and community services to over a million people each year.
Mr Quinlan has a long history of working in the not-for-profit sector, having previously worked at Grassmere Youth Services, Tranmere Street Youth Refuge and the Australian Drug Foundation. He has also held senior positions with the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia and the Australian Medical Association.
Mr Quinlan is an energetic advocate for disadvantaged Australians and for the community and not-for-profit sector, and has represented the interests of both his members and the sector on numerous government consultative panels and committees.
Mr Quinlan completed tertiary studies at both Monash University and Melbourne University and has been a guest lecturer in public policy programs at the Australian National University.
Mr Quinlan is the father of three daughters and is a recently qualified recreational pilot.
Ms Gayle Rankine is Chairperson of First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN). She is a Ngarrindjeri woman born in Raukkan (Point McLeay Mission) on Lake Alexandrina in South Australia.
Ms Rankine has represented Australia and FPDN at the United Nations in Geneva and New York. Ms Rankine has extensive knowledge of the needs of people with disability across urban, rural and remote communities. She has a lived experience as a person with physical disability and as a carer of relatives with physical and neurological disability, including autism.
Ms Sally Sinclair is the CEO of the National Employment Services Association, the peak body for the Australian employment and related services industry. Ms Sinclair has been instrumental in informing key stakeholders both domestically and internationally on addressing employment and inclusion challenges including strengthening the integration of employment, education and training, and increasing employment of disadvantaged job seekers including Indigenous job seekers, people with disabilities, long term unemployed, youth, women and mature aged.
Ms Sinclair has over three decades of domestic and international expertise in the design, development and delivery of employment and related services. Her experience spans the not for profit and for profit sectors, as well as numerous government appointments and industry expert groups. Among her expert roles, Ms Sinclair is a member of the Minister’s National Disability and Carers Advisory Council and the Minister’s Disability Employment Services Reference Group, and was a member of the Australian Government’s Welfare Reform Reference Group and the G20 Civil Society 20 (C20) Steering Committee, and chaired the C20 Inclusive Growth and Employment Working Group. Ms Sinclair is the Vice-Chair of the OECD LEED Programme’s Forum on Partnerships and Local Development and is an expert advisor to the OECD LEED Programme’s Employment and Skills Strategies in Southeast Asia (ESSSA) initiative.
During this period Ms Sinclair has also led hundreds of projects, including across remote Australia, through the management of an expert corporate team and the direction of a substantial supply chain of outstanding industry experts. The projects have been designed to improve the delivery of employment and related services to disadvantaged jobseekers and communities and have included developing tools and resources, building the capacity of contracted provider organisations, and developing the capability of the frontline workforce.
Ms Sinclair holds a BSc (Hons) from the University of Melbourne, majoring in neuropsychology.
Mr Martin Stokie is a Partner at PwC and has consulted to governments across Australia for close to 20 years.
Mr Stokie specialises in helping governments establish or reform their regulatory regimes and he provides economic advice on budget and resource allocations to improve service delivery, agency operating models and critical infrastructure investment.
Mr Stokie regularly assists government departments and agencies on red tape initiatives, cost benefit analysis and impact analysis.
In 2014, while on leave of absence from PwC, Mr Stokie worked with the Federal Government to help drive the Government’s red tape reduction framework, including working closely with the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet on the re-writing of the Australian Guide to Regulation, establishing the Regulatory Burden Measurement Framework and identifying opportunities for red tape reductions.
Mr Stokie has worked in the Public Management Division of the OECD on regulatory reform issues focusing on improving policy and regulatory agencies performance.
Prior to joining PwC, Mr Stokie was a director of the (then) Allen Consulting Group and before that Mr Stokie worked as a public servant within the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance.
Mr Stokieholds a Master of Commerce (Honours in Economics) from the University of Melbourne, a Bachelor of Commerce (1st Class Honours in Economics) from Deakin University, a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from Deakin University and a Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance and Investment from FINSIA.
Mr Steve Vitone is the Chief Executive Officer of Carers NT, a not-for-profit community based organisation dedicated to improving the lives of family carers living in the Northern Territory.
With more than 25 years’ experience in primarily the disability and rehabilitation areas, Mr Vitone has worked in both the public and private sector and originally joined Carers NT as Deputy CEO, in 2009 before taking on the role of CEO in December 2013.
Under his senior leadership, the organisation has more than doubled the number of carers it reaches with education/training and other programs. Mr Vitone has a strong commitment to social justice and extensive experience in advocacy.
Mr Vitone leads the organisation in its vision to create a more just, equitable and reconciled Australia through key programs and initiatives, including remote programs, counselling and respite to name a few.
Mr Vitone has held numerous positions on community, state and national working groups, committees and boards including: NDS Northern Territory, Carpentaria Disability Services, the Chief Minister’s NGO Advisory Council and Moil School Council. He was also recently appointed to the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council.