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DisabilityCare kicks off

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Senior AMA members have met with the inaugural Chair of the DisabilityCare Australia Board, Bruce Bonyhady.

Former AMA President Dr Andrew Pesce and AMA Victoria President Dr Stephen Parnis met with Mr Bonyhady at an Australian Football League match dedicated to promoting inclusion and equality for people with a disability last month.

Law firm Slater & Gordon sponsored the 16 June match between Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, and there are plans to make it an annual event celebrating people with a disability and highlighting the importance of inclusion and respect.

The event was part of the lead-up to the introduction of the landmark DisabilityCare scheme, which comes into operation from today.

As part of preparations, the Federal Government last month announced the appointment of Mr Bonyhady – a father of two sons with a disability – to head the organisation.

The announcement came just days after Dr Pesce and Dr Parnis met with Mr Bonyhady.

Dr Pesce has been one of the driving forces behind the creation of a national system to provide on-going support for people with disabilities and their carers.

For the past decade he has worked as a passionate advocate of the need for a national disability insurance scheme, and he collaborated closely with Mr Bonyhady to put it in place – both served on the Independent Panel that advised the Government and the Productivity Commission during the Inquiry into Disability Care and Support.

Mr Bonyhady has held a number of senior positions in the funds management and insurance industry, both in Australia and internationally, and is the current President of Philanthropy Australia.

In a statement announcing his appointment, Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin said Mr Bonyhady would bring a wealth of experience to the DisabilityCare Board, which will “set the strategic direction of DisabilityCare Australia and play an important role in safeguarding its financial sustainability, including by commissioning and considering actuarial advice on its decisions”.

Other members of the Board include Dr Rhonda Galbally, Queensland Treasury Corporations Chair Sir Leo Hielscher, Aspen Medical Managing Director Glenn Keys, Catholic Health Australia Chief Executive Officer Martin Laverty, former Optia Incorporated Chief Executive Geraldine Harwood and Productivity Commission Associate Commissioner John Walsh.

In addition to her role on the DisabilityCare Board, Dr Galbally has also been appointed as the Principal Member of the Independent Advisory Council, created to ensure the Board has a ready source of advice from the perspective of people with a disability, Ms Macklin said.

The Minister said the 13-member Council comprised a mix of people with a disability, carers, and those involved in providing disability services.