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4.2 The Board

The Board:

  1. ensures the proper, efficient and effective performance of the Agency’s functions, and
  2. determines objectives, strategies and policies to be followed by the Agency.

Board membership is determined by the responsible Commonwealth Government Minister in consultation with the states and territories.

As part of good corporate governance, the Board undertakes a review of itself and its committees each year. This includes an annual review of the Board committee charters to ensure correct alignment of committee functions in supporting the Board’s responsibility as Accountable Authority of the Agency, and a review of committee memberships, which resulted in changes to committee membership to optimise operations. Board performance is also reviewed annually in accordance with the Board Charter and this year the performance review was undertaken by an external consultant. While COVID–19 posed a challenge to Board processes, the Board remained agile and adjusted its operating patterns to include videoconference meetings.

4.2.1 Directors

A photo of National Disability Insurance Agency Chairman Dr Helen Nugent, who is smiling and facing the camera. Dr Nugent is wearing a smart black and white jacket, and a black top, with a gold necklace.

Dr Helen Nugent AO (Chairman)

Helen Nugent is an experienced Chairman and Non–Executive Director (NED), with a background in insurance, banking and energy. She gives back to the community in the arts, education and health.

She is currently a NED of IAG, TPG Telecom and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, and is Chairman of Ausgrid and the National Portrait Gallery. Previously, she was Chairman of Swiss Re (Australia); Chancellor of Bond University; and President of Cranbrook School; and a NED of Macquarie Group and Origin Energy.

Qualifications: MBA (Distinction) from Harvard Business School; PhD and a BA (Hons) from Queensland University; and Honorary Doctorates from Bond and Queensland Universities.

Member: Sustainability Committee; Risk Committee; People and Remuneration Committee; ICT and Digital Committee

Attends: Audit Committee

A photo of Ms Sandra Birkensleigh, who is smiling and facing the camera. Ms Birkensleigh is wearing a grey suit jacket and pearl necklace.

Ms Sandra Birkensleigh

Sandra Birkensleigh is an experienced Non–Executive Director, bringing extensive experience in financial service and insurance industries to the Agency. She currently holds board positions with MLC Insurance Ltd, Auswide Bank Limited, Horizon Oil Limited, 7–11 Holdings Limited (and its subsidiaries) and Sunshine Coast Children’s Therapy Centre. She chairs the Audit Committee for each of these organisations.

She is a member of the Council for the University of the Sunshine Coast and 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. Previously, she was a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, including its governance, risk and compliance practice.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales; Chartered Accountant

Chair: Audit Committee

Member: People and Remuneration Committee

Attends: Risk Committee

A photo of Professor Jane Burns, who is smiling and facing the camera. Professor Burns is wearing a navy suit jacket with a white top and silver necklace.
Professor Jane Burns

Jane Burns has extensive experience advising government, industry, university and the social enterprise sectors. She is Chair of Open Arms, Veterans Families Counselling Service; STREAT; and the Centre for Mental Health at Swinburne University. She is also the Mental Health and Wellbeing Innovator at Bupa and Professor of Innovation and Chair of the Centre for Mental Health at Swinburne University.

She is the Founder and Non–Executive Director of InnoWell and a Non–Executive Director with the Applied Positive Psychology Learning Institute and Mind Medicines Australia. She was a Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy at the University of California; a VicHealth Fellow in Health Promotion at Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health and an NHMRC Fellow in Suicide Prevention at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

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

Qualifications: PhD in Medicine from the University of Adelaide

Member: ICT and Digital Committee

A photo of Mr Glenn Keys, who is smiling and facing the camera. Mr Keys is wearing a dark suit, yellow tie and glasses.
Mr Glenn Keys AO

Glenn Keys has been a member of the NDIS Board since inception. He has been involved in efforts to improve the lives of people with disability through involvement in the Special Olympics, the Down Syndrome Association and the disability housing sector. He has a health sector background as co–founder and co–executive Chairman of Aspen Medical, and founder and Chairman of Project Independence, an initiative offering home ownership to people with disability. He was awarded an Officer in the General Division (AO) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for distinguished service to disability, business and commerce and as an advocate for corporate social responsibility. He 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 from the University of New South Wales

Member: ICT and Digital Committee; People and Remuneration Committee

A photo of Ms Robyn Kruk, who is facing the camera. Ms Kruk is wearing a red shirt, red scarf and glasses.
Ms Robyn Kruk AO

Robyn Kruk has extensive experience as Chief Executive of national and state policy, regulatory and service delivery agencies, including NSW Health and Premier and Cabinet. She established and served as inaugural CEO/Commissioner of the National Mental Health Commission. She is currently Chair, Board Director or member of international, national and state statutory, non–government and private entities in healthcare and emergency services, quality and safety, governance and mental health.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Science, Psychology (Hons) from the University of New South Wales; Master of Administration; Advanced Management Program from the Harvard Business School

Chair: People and Remuneration Committee

Member: Risk Committee

Principal Member: Independent Advisory Council from 1 July 2020.

A photo of Mr John Langoulant, who is smiling and facing the camera. Mr Langoulant is wearing a dark suit and a striped red and grey tie.
Mr John Langoulant AO

John Langoulant has extensive experience across many areas of public policy development and implementation from being the Western Australian Under Treasurer, Chairman of a number of government statutory authorities and from leading several government inquiries. He also chairs several private and not–for–profit organisations.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from the University of Western Australia

Member: Audit Committee; Risk Committee; Sustainability Committee

A photo of Dr Martin Laverty, who is smiling and facing the camera. Dr Laverty is wearing a dark suit and a green tie.
Dr Martin Laverty

Martin Laverty is Secretary General of the Australian Medical Association. He is Deputy Chair of the Australian Charities and Not–for–Profit Commission Advisory Board, a Board Director of Caritas Ltd, and a member of the Charity, Not–for–profit, and Philanthropy Advisory Committee to the National COVID–19 Coordination Commission. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia’s Not-for-Profit Initiative and a former CEO of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia and Catholic Health Australia. He is also a former Board Chair of two disability service organisations, Sunshine and Challenge Southern Highlands, and is a former Director of the NSW Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Qualifications: LLB; PhD in Board Governance

A lawyer by training with a doctorate in board governance, he was a member of the Audit Committee and Risk Committee until he retired from the Board on 30 June 2020.

A photo of Mr Jim Minto, who is smiling and facing the camera. Mr Minto is wearing a dark suit with an orange tie and matching orange handkerchief.
Mr Jim Minto

Jim Minto is Chair of Swiss Re Life & Health Australia Ltd and of Swiss Re Asia Pte. Ltd, Chair of NZ life insurer Partners Life Limited, Deputy Chair of Equity Trustees Ltd and Director of Dai–ichi Life Asia Pacific. He retired as Group Managing Director of life insurer TAL in March 2015 holding that role since 2006, and prior to that was Group CEO of the Trans-Tasman TOWER Limited Group. He had 26 years senior executive experience in the financial services sector. He was previously Chair of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia and a panel member of the Australian Government’s Review of Natural Disasters Insurance in 2011.

Qualifications: Chartered Accountant from Massey University

Chair: Risk Committee

Member: Sustainability Committee

A photo of Mr Paul O’Sullivan, who is smiling and facing the camera. Mr O’Sullivan is wearing a dark suit with a striped blue tie.
Mr Paul O’Sullivan

Paul O’Sullivan has been Chairman of Optus since October 2014 and is a member of the Board of Commissioners of Telkomsel— Indonesia’s largest mobile communications company. He is a Director of ANZ, Coca–Cola Amatil Limited and St Vincent’s Health Australia. He is also a Board Member of the St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation and is Chairman of the Western Sydney Airport Corporation (WSA Co).

Qualifications: Bachelor of Economics from Trinity College; Advanced Management Program, Harvard Business School

Chair: Information Communication Technology and Digital Committee

Member: Risk Committee; People and Remuneration Committee

A photo of Ms Estelle Pearson, who is smiling and facing the camera. Ms Pearson is wearing a green top, a suit jacket and glasses.
Ms Estelle Pearson

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) from the University of Oxford; FIAA

Chair: Sustainability Committee

Member: Audit Committee

A photo of Mr John Walsh, who is smiling and facing the camera. Mr Walsh is wearing a black jumper over a white shirt and checked purple tie.
Mr John Walsh AM

John Walsh is one of Australia’s leading actuaries. He is a retired Partner of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, where he worked for over 20 years in the areas of social policy and funding across accident compensation, health and disability. He has personal experience of disability, having lived with quadriplegia following a rugby league accident in his early–twenties. He has resigned from the Board effective 31 August 2020.

Qualifications: FIAA

Member: Sustainability Committee; ICT and Digital Committee

Principal Member: Independent Advisory Council until 30 June 2020

A photo of Ms Andrea Staines, who is smiling and facing the camera. Ms Staines is wearing a multi-coloured jacket and glasses.
Ms Andrea Staines OAM

Andrea Staines OAM is a Non–Executive Director with 13 years’ experience on listed, private, government and for–purpose boards in retail service and transport areas. Specifically in the area of care, Ms Staines is on the Board of UnitingCare Queensland, and was previously on the boards of Goodstart Early Learning and Early Learning Services. Ms Staines’ term on the Board concluded on 31 December 2019.

Qualifications: MBA focused on finance from the University of Michigan, Bachelor of Economics from the University of Queensland. Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and a Member of Chief Executive Women (CEW).

4.2.2 Board committees

A number of committees, councils and groups are in place to support the Board in ensuring the Agency meets its statutory requirements and manages risk. The following table provides the title and role of each committee and its members as at 30 June 2020.

Table 4.2.3A: Board committees and members as at 30 June 2020

Committee

Role

Members

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee assists the Board in the management and oversight of the quality and integrity of the accounting, auditing and financial reporting of the Agency. It was established in compliance with section 45 of the PGPA Act.

The Australian National Audit Office attends Audit Committee meetings as external auditor, along with the Chief Internal Auditor.

Ms Sandra Birkensleigh (Chair)

Mr John Langoulant AO

Dr Martin Laverty

Ms Estelle Pearson

ICT and Digital Committee

The ICT and Digital Committee assists the Board in the management and oversight of the Agency’s information, communication, technology and digital solutions including providing input to the Board on the design, development, delivery and performance of the information, communication, technology and digital strategy and systems.

Mr Paul O’Sullivan (Chair)

Professor Jane Burns

Mr Glenn Keys AO

Dr Helen Nugent AO

Mr John Walsh AM

People and Remuneration Committee

The People and Remuneration Committee assists the Agency to attract, retain and develop high-performing employees. It oversees strategies, frameworks and programs related to people and remuneration, and provides recommendations to the Board on CEO succession planning.

Ms Robyn Kruk AO (Chair)

Ms Sandra Birkensleigh

Mr Glenn Keys AO

Dr Helen Nugent AO

Mr Paul O’Sullivan

Risk Committee

The Risk Committee assists the Board in the management and oversight of the Agency’s approach to risk management. Its role is to advise the Board on the development and implementation of the Agency’s overall risk management approach.

Mr James Minto (Chair)

Ms Robyn Kruk AO

Mr John Langoulant AO

Dr Martin Laverty

Dr Helen Nugent AO

Mr Paul O’Sullivan

Sustainability Committee

The Sustainability Committee provides advice in assessing, monitoring, reporting on and managing the financial sustainability of the Scheme.

Ms Estelle Pearson (Chair)

Mr John Langoulant AO

Mr James Minto

Dr Helen Nugent AO

Mr John Walsh AM

The Audit Committee Charter can be found at Appendix 5.2.

4.2.3 Board committee attendance

Table 4.2.4A: Number of meetings attended by Board members in 2019–20

NDIA Board

Sustainability Committee

ICT and Digital Committee

Audit Committee

Risk Committee

People and Remuneration Committee

Board members:

Eligible

Attended

Eligible

Attended

Eligible

Attended

Eligible

Attended

Eligible

Attended

Eligible

Attended

Dr Helen Nugent AO16

12

12

9

9

2

5

0

5

4

4

4

4

Mr James (Jim) Minto17

12

11

9

8

0

0

0

2

4

3

0

0

Ms Estelle Pearson18

12

12

9

9

0

0

5

5

0

0

0

0

Mr Paul O’Sullivan19

12

10

0

1

5

5

0

0

4

4

4

4

Ms Sandra Birkensleigh20

12

12

0

1

0

0

5

5

0

1

4

4

Mr John Langoulant AO21

12

11

9

8

0

0

5

3

1

3

0

0

Ms Andrea Staines22

7

6

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Ms Robyn Kruk AO23

12

11

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

2

4

4

Dr Martin Laverty24

12

11

0

0

0

0

5

4

4

4

0

0

Mr John Walsh AM

12

12

9

8

5

3

0

2

0

0

0

0

Mr Glenn Keys AO25

12

10

0

1

5

3

0

0

0

0

2

1

Prof Jane Burns26

5

5

0

0

3

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

16 Chairman of the NDIA Board. Dr Nugent appointed to the ICTD Committee 17 February 2020.

17 Chairman of the Risk Committee.

18 Chairman of the Sustainability Committee.

19 Chairman of the ICTD Committee.

20 Chairman of the Audit Committee.

21 Mr Langoulant appointed to the Risk Committee 17 February 2020.

22 Ms Staines’ term with the NDIA Board was not renewed after December 2019. Ms Staines’ term ended on 31 December 2019.

23 Chairman of the People and Remuneration Committee.

24 Dr Laverty’s term with the NDIA Board was not renewed after June 20. Dr Laverty's term ended 30 June 2020.

25 Mr Keys appointed to the People and Remuneration Committee 17 February 2020.

26 Professor Burns commenced with the NDIA Board January 2020.

Board Directors may attend any Board committee meeting in their capacity as a Director. “Eligible” refers to the number of committee meetings attended by a Director as a formal member of the Committee. “Attended” column includes all attendance at committee meetings, regardless of membership status.

4.2.4 Board membership changes

On 13 December 2019, the Hon Stuart Robert MP, Minister for the NDIS, announced the Board of the NDIA from 1 January 2020, with nine reappointments and one new member. Dr Helen Nugent was reappointed for a two–year term as Chair of the Board. Mr Paul O’Sullivan, Ms Robyn Kruk AO, Mr John Langoulant AO, Ms Estelle Pearson, Ms Sandra Birkensleigh, Mr James Minto, Mr Glenn Keys AO and Mr John Walsh AM were also reappointed to the Board for terms of up to two years. Professor Jane Burns was newly appointed to the Board for two years.

Ms Andrea Staines concluded her term as a Director on 31 December 2019, and Dr Martin Laverty concluded his term as a Director on 30 June 2020. Membership of Board committees changed over the course of the financial year. Current membership is shown at 4.2.2.