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4.3 The Independent Advisory Council

The Independent Advisory Council (IAC) provides the Board with independent advice, which the Board must consider when performing its duties. The IAC, formally appointed by the Minister, is composed of people with disability, service providers and carers. It brings the crucial perspectives of these stakeholders to the work of the Agency and the design of the Scheme. Further information on the IAC is provided on the IAC’s website at https://www.ndis-iac.com.au/.
The IAC plays an integral role in bringing the views of participants, families and disability sector experts to the heart of the NDIS by providing independent advice on the experience of its members and expert advisers, and their networks.

During 2019–20, the IAC continued to engage with a number of Agency business areas to provide both formal and informal advice. Key highlights for the financial year included:

  • the endorsement of the IAC’s new operating model, aimed to optimise the role of IAC and expertise of its members in delivering a world leading NDIS. The implementation of the operating model will enable stronger alignment to corporate processes and priorities between the IAC and the Board, helping to translate advice into actionable programs of work, and support the Agency with implementation.
  • the provision of formal advice to the Board in the areas of:
    • plan support flexibility
    • NDIS supports for participants who are parents
    • support for decision making
    • early childhood intervention
    • capacity building.

The Agency will continue to work with the IAC to progress the implementation of the advice.

  • the resumption of the IAC’s Intellectual Disability, Self-Management and Contemporary and Innovative Approaches Reference Groups meetings, providing key advice to the Agency in each area of expertise, including on the topics of improving participant’s voice, home and living supports and plan support flexibility.

Membership1 of the IAC at 30 June 2020 consisted of:

  • Mr John Walsh AM (Acting Principal Member from 9 April 2019)
  • Ms Kerry Allan-Zinner
  • Mr Kevin Cocks AM
  • Ms Jennifer Cullen
  • Mrs Judy Huett
  • Professor Anne Kavanagh
  • Ms Sylvana Mahmic
  • Mr James Manders
  • Ms Janet Meagher AM
  • Ms Leah van Poppel
  • Ms Liz Reid
  • Ms Sue Salthouse.

Ms Sue Salthouse worked in the area of social justice and human rights from 1996, up until her passing in July 2020. A highly respected, passionate advocate for people with disability, she was committed to educating the community about the impact disability has on people’s lives and contributed to the design, delivery and improvement of the NDIS. She made major contributions to both the Agency and the IAC.

The IAC was supported during the year by five advisers, engaged to provide advice from the perspective of key national peak bodies. They are:

  • Mr David Moody, National Disability Services
  • Ms Ara Cresswell, Carers Australia
  • Mr Ross Joyce, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
  • Dr Ben Gauntlett, Disability Discrimination Commissioner
  • Ms Jane Flanagan, Disabled People’s Organisations Australia.

Minister for the NDIS, the Hon Stuart Robert MP, announced the new and returning members of the IAC from 1 July 2020: Robyn Kruk AO (Principal Member), Tricia Malowney OAM, Sam Paior, Mark Tonga, Sharon Boyce, Sylvana Mahmic, Liz Reid AM, Kerry Allan-Zinner, Judy Huett, Jennifer Cullen, Leah van Poppel and James Manders. The IAC is supported by Dr Ben Gauntlett, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, in the role of Expert Adviser.

 Ben Gauntlett, John Walsh, Liz Reid, Kevin Cocks.
Back row from left to right: Janet Meagher, Sylvana Mahmic, Belinda Epstein–Frisch, Therese Sands, Ross Joyce, Judy Huett, Ara Cresswell, James Manders, Kerry Allan-Zinner, Anne Kavanagh, Jennifer Cullen. Front row from left to right: Ben Gauntlett, John Walsh, Liz Reid, Kevin Cocks.


  1. The three year term of the current council expired on 30 June 2020