Board profiles

Mr Kurt Fearnley AO

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Mr Kurt Fearnley AO is an experienced government and non-government director and five-time Australian Paralympian.

He is a current Board Commissioner of the Australian Sports Commission and Board Director of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee. 

He is a former member of the boards of several organisations including Paralympics Australia, Life Without Barriers, Australian Volunteers International and the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

He was a member of the inaugural NDIS Independent Advisory Council, Vice Chairperson of the International Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Council, carried out a number of roles for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, and was Co-Captain of the Australian Paralympic Team at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

Mr Fearnley was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia in the General Division in 2018 for his distinguished service to people with a disability, as a supporter of, and fundraiser for, indigenous athletics and charitable organisations, and as a Paralympic Athlete.

He was the 2019 NSW Australian of the Year and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Griffith University for his contribution to sport and disability advocacy.

He is a high-school teacher, television presenter, podcaster and broadcaster, and former professional wheelchair athlete.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Human Movement, Charles Sturt University.

Mr Graeme Innes AM

Graeme Innes

Mr Graeme Innes AM is a lawyer, author, and company director who was Australia's Disability Discrimination Commissioner for 9 years. 

Mr Innes has been a human rights practitioner for more than 30 years and has been responsible for issues relating to disability, race and human rights. 

Mr Innes was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his work on the development of the Disability Discrimination Act, was a finalist for Australian of the Year. On the international stage, he was a member of the Australian delegation that participated in negotiating the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. 

Mr Innes led the merger of 4 blindness agencies to form Vision Australia and chaired the board of that agency. He is Chancellor-designate of Central Queensland University and a Director of the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, regulating workers’ compensation and motor vehicle accident insurance in NSW. His autobiography ‘Finding A Way’ achieved popular acclaim in 2016.

 

Ms Maryanne Diamond AO

Maryanne Diamond

Ms Maryanne Diamond has lived with disability all her life. She is a NDIS participant and was employed as a senior executive at the NDIA for 5 years.

Ms Diamond has been employed in the information technology industry, the disability sector, and in government. She has extensive experience leading organisations in Australia, including being Executive Officer of Blind Citizens Australia, and inaugural CEO of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO). At the international level, Ms Diamond was President of the World Blind Union from 2008-2012, and Chair of The International Disability Alliance from 2014-2016.

In 2014, Ms Diamond was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her distinguished service to people who are blind or have low vision, and her international leadership roles and advocacy for best practice employment opportunities. 

Qualifications: Bachelor of Science, Monash University; Graduate Diploma Information Technology, Caulfield Institute of Technology; and GAICD.
 

Dr Denis Napthine AO

Dr Denis Napthine

Dr Denis Napthine has held various senior positions in government and was the 47th Premier of Victoria.

As the Premier, Denis led the government to sign the NDIS Agreement with the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has a long history of active involvement in local and regional services for people with disabilities and their families and carers.

In 2020, Dr Napthine was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the people and Parliament of Victoria, particularly as Premier, to veterinary science, and to the community. Previously, he was the Victorian State Minister for Community Services which included Disability Services.

Qualifications: BVSc and MVS (Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine) from University of Melbourne and MBA from Deakin University.
 

Mr Jim Minto

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Mr Jim Minto is Chair of Swiss Re Life & Health Australia Ltd, Chair of Swiss Reinsurance Company Limited and Chair of New Zealand-based life insurer Partners Life Limited. 

He retired as Group CEO and Managing Director of life insurer TAL (formerly TOWER Australia) in March 2015. Previously he was Group CEO of the Trans-Tasman TOWER Limited Group. 
He has extensive experience in the financial services sector.

A Chartered Accountant, Mr Mintohe retired in 2015 as Chair of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia and was a panel member of the Australian Government’s Review of Natural Disasters Insurance in 2011.

Qualifications: Chartered Accountant, Massey University.

Chair: Risk Committee, People and Remuneration Committee.

Member: Sustainability Committee, ICT and Digital Committee.

Ms Sandra Birkensleigh

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Ms Sandra Birkensleigh is an experienced non-executive director, bringing extensive experience in the financial services and insurance industries to the Agency. 

She currently holds board positions with MLC Insurance Ltd, Auswide Bank Limited, Horizon Oil Limited and 7-11 Holdings Limited (and its subsidiaries). She chairs the Audit Committee for each of these organisations. 

Ms Birkensleigh is a member of the Council for the University of the Sunshine Coast, an independent member of the Audit Committee of the Reserve Bank of Australia, and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee for the Public Trustee of Queensland. She was formerly a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers including its Governance, Risk and Compliance practice.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales and a Chartered Accountant.

Chair: Audit Committee.
Member: Risk Committee, People and Remuneration Committee.

Professor Jane Burns

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Professor Jane Burns is a health strategist with extensive experience in suicide prevention, mental health, wellbeing and innovation.

She is Chair of Open Arms, Veterans Families Counselling Service, Chair of Swiss8 and a Non-Executive Director with the Applied Positive Psychology Learning Institute.

She is an experienced C-Suite Executive and was the founder and CEO of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre. 

While working with Industry and the NGO sector she has held joint appointments at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Sydney. She is an enterprise professorial fellow at the University of Melbourne.

In recognition for her achievements in entrepreneurship she won the category of  Social Enterprise for 2015’s Australian Financial Review and Westpac Group 100 Women of Influence, and was a Victorian Finalist in the 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

Professor Burns is currently a strategic consultant to TogetherAI and Clarity+. 

Qualifications: PhD, BA HONS (Psych) from the University of Adelaide and GAICD.

Member: ICT and Digital Committee, People and Remuneration Committee.
 

Mr Glenn Keys AO

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Mr Glenn Keys has been a member of the NDIS Board since inception. He has long been involved in efforts to improve the lives of people with disability through his involvement in the Special Olympics, the Down Syndrome Association and the disability housing sector.

He has a health sector background as co-founder and Executive Chairman of Aspen Medical, and founder and Chairman for Project Independence, an initiative offering home ownership to people with disability. 

He was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the General Division in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his distinguished service to disability, business and commerce, and as an advocate for corporate social responsibility. Mr Keys was named 2015 ACT Australian of the Year and was a board member of the organising committee for the Australian Invictus Games 2018. He has a child with an intellectual disability.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, University of New South Wales.

Chair: ICT and Digital Committee.

Member: People and Remuneration Committee.

Ms Estelle Pearson

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Ms Estelle Pearson has extensive experience in the insurance and injury compensation sector having worked as an actuary and consultant in this sector since 1989. She is currently a Director of Finity Consulting Pty Limited, and was previously on the Council of the Actuaries Institute, including a term as President in 2015.

Qualifications: BA (Hons) Mathematics, University of Oxford and FIAA.

Chair: Sustainability Committee. 

Member: Audit Committee.

Dr Peta Seaton AM

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Dr Peta Seaton is a Board member of Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District and is the Principal of Strategic Consulting.

She is a former Chair of Hearing Australia, Deputy Chair of the Bradman Foundation and a Non-Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre, BDCU Alliance Bank, and CARE Australia. She is the President of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation (University of Sydney).

A former NSW Parliamentarian and frontbencher, Dr Seaton served as Director of Transition and Director of Strategic Priorities in the NSW Premier’s Office from 2011-2014.

In 2017, Dr Seaton was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). She lives in regional NSW and runs a small farm enterprise.

Qualifications: PhD and BA (Hons) from University of Sydney and a GAICD.
Member: Sustainability Committee, ICT and Digital Committee.

Ms Meredith Allan

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Ms Meredith Allan is a former president of the International Society of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (ISAAC), an organisation working to improve the lives of children and adults with complex communication needs. She was the first president to speak via alternative and augmentative communication (AAC).

Ms Allan recently retired from her 30-year career in the public service but continues working as a communication assessor for Scope and lecturer for Deakin University, La Trobe University, University of Newcastle and University of Technology Sydney.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Arts, Monash University.

Member: Risk Committee, Audit Committee.

Ms Leah van Poppel

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Ms Leah van Poppel is Chair of the Victorian NDIS Community Advisory and a member of the NDIS Independent Advisory Council (IAC).

A highly-respected leader and disability rights advocate, Ms van Poppel was CEO of Women with Disabilities Victoria from 2018-2021.

In this position, she worked to empower marginalised women in the community through education and mentoring, as well as research, policy advice and government advocacy.

Previously, Ms van Poppel was CEO of Blind Citizens Australia, Manager at Youth Disability Advocacy Service and NDIS Readiness Project Officer at Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO).

Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts, Macquarie University.

Member: Sustainability Committee.

This page current as of
24 November 2022