Meet the Independent Advisory Council
Professor Rhonda Galbally AO
Professor Rhonda Galbally AO is a member of the NDIA Board and Principal Member of NDIA's Independent Advisory Council. Professor Galbally has made a number of contributions to Australian and international social development, particularly for people with disability. From 2008-2013, Professor Galbally was the Chair of the National People with Disabilities and Carer Council. She 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. She was also a member of the former National Disability Insurance Scheme Advisory Group.
Professor Galbally founded the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) and the Australian International Health Institute, now the Nossal Institute. She was also the founding CEO of the Australian Commission for the Future and the Executive Director of the Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Foundation, Chair of Philanthropy Australia, the Chair of the Royal Women's Hospital, and the Independent Chair of the competition policy review of medicines, poisons and chemicals. She was the transitional CEO of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency.
Professor Galbally was awarded an Order of Australia in 1990 and the Centenary Medal in 2003, in recognition of her service to the community. In 2012, Professor Galbally was awarded the Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement Award in the National Disability Awards.
Dr Ken Baker
Dr Ken Baker AM is the Chief Executive of National Disability Services (NDS), the peak association for non-government disability service organisations. In that role, he provides information, representation and policy advice.
Dr Baker has worked in social policy and public affairs for almost 30 years. He is currently a member of the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group, the Aged Care Workforce Advisory Group and other committees advising on disability employment and income support.
Dr Baker lives in Canberra with his wife, who has severe aphasia and limited mobility, and their two children.
Mr Dean Barton-Smith AM
Mr Dean Barton-Smith is a former Chair of the Board of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations.
He has more than 26 years’ experience in the fields of marketing, public affairs, strategic and business planning, advocacy and governance within the telecommunications, sport, government, retail, professional associations, health care, community and disability sectors.
He has a Master of Marketing from Monash University, is a fellow with the Australian Institute of Management, Associate Fellow with the Australian Marketing Institute and is a certified practising marketer.
He was appointed founding chairperson of the Melbourne 2005 Deaflympic Games Limited and was responsible for raising more than $8.15 million dollars and ensuring accessibility was a foremost concern for event planning. Mr Barton-Smith has serves on and chairs a number of boards and executive committees at the state, national and international levels. He is currently CEO of LINK Community Transport.
He has represented Australia in the Decathlon at the 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games and the 1992 Barcelona Olympics – the first deaf Australian to achieve such a feat. In addition, he has also completed in four Deaflympic Games.
Ms Jennifer Cullen
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 extra curricular work activities in the areas of disability services and Indigenous issues.
Ms Sylvana Mahmic
Ms Sylvana Mahmic is an advocate for early childhood intervention through her role as Vice-President of Early Childhood Intervention Association NSW and other government appointments. She is an immediate past member of the Disability Council NSW.
She has worked for over twenty years in the special education field, with a particular interest in raising awareness of early childhood intervention. She has developed several initiatives which target the wider community, in particular the culturally and linguistically diverse community, as Ms Mahmic herself is from a culturally diverse background. Ms Mahmic is currently undertaking postgraduate research with a focus on individualised support and self-directed funding.
Ms Mahmic is the carer of her son who has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. Her son has been utilising self-managed funding since 2009.
Ms Janet Meagher
Ms Janet Meagher serves as a Commissioner on the National Mental Health Commission. Her term ceases 30th Dec. 2013. A teacher and librarian by profession, she has been a mental health consumer activist and advocate for over thirty years. She has lived with schizophrenia since the early 1970s, and has advocated for rights and equity, participation and respect for people living with mental health challenges.
Ms Meagher was one of the founders of the mental health consumer movement in Australia. As a founding member of the New South Wales Consumer Advisory Group she was at various times, office bearer, member and later, CEO. She has been a Churchill Fellow, author, lecturer, trainer and advocate, is a former Board Member and Secretary of the World Federation for Mental Health and is recently retired from RichmondPRA as General Manager Inclusion. Janet also serves on the Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council.
Ms Joan McKenna-Kerr
Ms McKenna-Kerr is Chief Executive Officer of the Autism Association of Western Australia, an organisation funded by the State and Commonwealth Government to provide specialist services to children and adults with Autism (ASD). She was a member of the Commonwealth NDIS Advisory Body and Co-Chair of the NDIS Expert Group on Eligibility and Assessment.
Ms McKenna-Kerr is Chair of National Disability Services WA and a member on the national Board. She is also a member of the Australian Advisory Group on Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Ms McKenna-Kerr is a former member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability and has served on numerous Working Parties tasked with advising on unmet need for disability services. She has also been involved in major initiatives involving disability sector development and reform.
Dr Gerry Naughtin
Dr Gerry Naughtin has an extensive background in human service management, research and community development. He has held senior management positions in the government, commercial and not for profit sectors.
He has extensive knowledge of the Australian mental health, aged care and disability sectors. He contributes regularly to policy development and advocacy in the mental health and aged care sectors.
Dr Naughtin is the Chief Executive of Mind Australia. Earlier career positions include Associate Professor at LaTrobe University, senior policy officer retirement and ageing at the Brotherhood of St Laurence and founding Chief Executive of Silver Circle Home Support Services.
Mr Michael Taggart
Mike Taggart, is inclusion Project Officer for Salisbury City Council in northern Adelaide. He received the 2009 National Disability Award (Local Government).
Mike and wife Cathy, who learns Esperanto and volunteers in early childhood programs, are members of Edmund Rice Associates and have a son Joel, an urban planner and a daughter Lucilla, a dietitian.
Mike was Deputy Chair of SA Minister’s Disability Advisory council and is a member of the Australian Services Union and Blind citizens Australia.
Mike believes that parents of the very young, especially those with disability, are Australia’s least recognised valuable resource.
Mr Dale Reardon
Mr Dale Reardon has experience with disability services as a blind person and guide dog user and receives independent living assistance. Mr Reardon was the founding President of Blind Citizens Australia (Tasmania) and is a former Director of Royal Guide Dogs Association of Tasmania.
He is currently undertaking PhD with thesis on Anti-Discrimination and the employment of people with disability at The Australian National University. He has also recently started a new business which helps micro businesses develop an online presence. Mr Reardon is a qualified barrister and solicitor.