Brotherhood Talks:
NDIS: Where to next?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is the biggest social policy reform introduced since Medicare. Introduced in 2013, transition to the NDIS from the earlier state based disability systems is nearing completion. In this session we reflect on the progress of these reforms so far and consider future prospects. Our panel includes:

  • Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM, Executive Chair and Director of Melbourne Disability Institute
  • Karen Dimmock, CEO Association for Children with Disability
  • John McKenna, Disability Advocate, NDIS Recruiter, Podcaster and Commentator
  • Samantha Connor, Disability Rights Activist and convener of NDIS Grassroots on Facebook


Thursday 25 July


12-1.30pm (light lunch to follow) 


Sidney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne
Room 106 (Yasuko Hiraoka Myer)
The Sidney Myer Asia Centre (Building 158) is located along Swanston Street close to Stop 1. The Yasuko Hiraoka Myer Room is located on Level 1 – entering the building from Swanston street; turn right; head to the lifts, go up to level 1. The room is on the right from the elevator bank.

RSVP and questions

Please RSVP to attend this event for seating and catering purposes. Replies and queries to jdouglas(at) or (03) 9483 1364.

RSVP now to secure your spot

All welcome at this wheelchair accessible venue. A sign language interpreter will be present. Please advise if any accessibility adjustments would help support your attendance.

Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM

Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM is the Executive Chair and Director of the Melbourne Disability Institute at the University of Melbourne. The Melbourne Disability Institute’s vision is to transform the social and economic wellbeing and health of people with disability through high quality research and translation, teaching and training.

He is one of the key architects of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and was the Inaugural Chair of the National Disability Insurance Agency from 2103 to 2016.

He is an economist who has worked in Australia’s Treasury and globally in the funds management industry. As a Non-Executive Director, he has served on many corporate, government and not-for-profit boards. He is a former President of Philanthropy Australia.

In 2010, Professor Bonyhady became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to people with disability, their families and carers and to the community, as a contributor to a range of charitable organisations.

Karen Dimmock

Karen Dimmock is the CEO of the Association for Children with Disability. For nearly 40 years, ACD has been the leading advocacy organisation for children with disability and their families in Victoria. ACD is led by and for families of children with a disability. Its vision is that children with a disability and their families enjoy the same rights and opportunities as all children. They empower families with the knowledge, skills and confidence to advocate for their child and family. Over the past few years, ACD has supported thousands of Victorian families as their children enter the NDIS. Their experience informs ACD’s advocacy and ACD is committed to making the NDIS work better for children and families.

John McKenna

John McKenna is a Disability Advocate, NDIS Recruiter, Podcaster and Commentator who loves hearing people’s stories. He has worked as a disability advocate for over 30 years, working with people who have disabilities and their families in his hometown Melbourne and throughout Australia and the Asia-Pacific. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, John worked with Telstra in the area of accessibility of all aspects communications solutions for seniors and people with disabilities. In July 2013, in the early days when the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS was established, his involvement was as an independent panellist during the recruitment process. Over many years, he shares his views about the disability world from a lived experience perspective and as a professional advocate. Platforms such as:

  • Co-producer & hosting of No Limits, a disability-focused TV program on Channel 31
  • Presentations Nationally & Overseas
  • Video training for Government
  • Own YouTube Channel ‘Guess What I’ve Discovered’
  • Host and producer of numerous Podcast programs
  • At a Governance level I sat on many not-for-profit Disability Service Providers Board
  • Own consulting practice Better Access Consulting
  •  Co-founder of Empower Your English (EYE), an innovative service which focuses on empowering culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD) and people who find it hard to assert themselves using English.

Samantha Connor

Samantha Connor is a disability and human rights activist, wheelchair user, writer and self-proclaimed social media assassin. She has held a number of prominent positions in the disability sector including Vice President of People with Disability Australia. Samantha has a passion for the prevention of violence against disabled people and an interest in the correlation between societal attitudes and hate crimes, including crimes against autistic individuals. She has a strong background in systemic advocacy in the areas of disability and disadvantage.


Questions? Contact Jane Douglas: jdouglas(at) or (03) 9483 1364.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

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We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

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