Paralympian and disability advocate Kurt Fearnley has been appointed chairman of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
Mr Fearnley was a serving member of the NDIS’ Independent Advisory Council during the trial phase of NDIS from 2013 to 2015.
NDIS minister Bill Shorten said Mr Fearnley’s appointment heralded a new era for the scheme as the first person with a disability to chair the board.
“Mr Fearnley is a trusted disability advocate and I rely on his knowledge and experience like the sector does,” Mr Shorten said.
The NDIA board will also welcome new members Dr Graeme Innes and Maryanne Diamond.
There are now five people with disability on the NDIA Board, including current board members Leah van Poppel and Meredith Allan, the largest number in its history.
Former Chair Denis Napthine will return as a board member.
“The new board members each bring extensive experience in the corporate and public sectors as well as lived experience of disability,” Mr Shorten said.
“Having more people with disability in leadership positions will pivot the scheme and rebuild trust with the disability sector.”
Mr Fearnley said he was excited to be able to help empower people with disability to live a good life.
“Having people with disability in key positions on the board is essential if we are to live up to the principles of the Scheme’s formation 10 years ago,” he said.
New NDIS CEO
Meanwhile, senior public servant Rebecca Falkingham has accepted a role as NDIS Chief Executive, becoming the first permanent female chief executive in the NDIA’s history.
Ms Falkingham has previously headed departments and major projects in NSW and Victoria.
She joins the NDIS after spending several years as the secretary of the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety.
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