Disability Royal Commission and implications for philanthropy

Wed, 15 Nov 2023 11:30am AEDT


Wednesday 15 November 2023

11:30am – 12.30pm AEDT (ACT, NSW, TAS, VIC)

11.00am – 12.00pm ACDT (SA)

10.30am – 11.30am (QLD)

10.00am – 11.00am ACST (NT)

8.30am – 9.30am AWST (WA)

Online event

A Zoom link will be provided after registration.


  • To understand key recommendations and insights from the Final Report of the Disability Royal Commission
  • To explore and discuss opportunities that philanthropy can take on to support the vision of an inclusive and just Australian society.
  • To update the network members of the plans with the Disability funders network


The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability handed down its final report at the end of September.  This is a landmark moment in Australian policy.  With its 5,000 pages and 222 recommendations, the report has issued a clear call to action, outlining the changes needed to deliver on the rights of people with disability and a more inclusive Australia.

At this funders network, we are fortunate to be joined by Dr Rhonda Galbally AC, one of the seven Commissioners appointed to the Disability Royal Commission.  Dr Galbally’s unique perspective, derived from her lived experience, decades of disability rights and policy work, and her past role as Chair of the Australian Association of Philanthropy (now known as Philanthropy Australia), positions her as an expert in the field. She will delve into the heart of the report’s recommendations and its far-reaching implications for philanthropy.

The lived experiences of people with disabilities have been at the core of the DRC inquiry and is critical to good philanthropic practice. We invite you to explore with us how we can actively support the recommendations put forth by the Disability Royal Commission and transform them into tangible, meaningful actions.

Kirsty Nowlan and Nick Taylor, our network co-chairs, will also provide an update on the plans of the Disability funders network.

Please note:

  • Presenters will share their thoughts and views in conversation but will not offer any financial advice.


This event is for Philanthropy Australia funder members only. If you want to find out more about the philanthropic work in this area, please reach out to [email protected].

Guest speaker

Dr Rhonda Louise Galbally AC – Disability Royal Commissioner

Dr Rhonda Galbally AC has been a CEO, Chair and board member for over thirty years, across business and the not-for-profit sector, the public sector and philanthropy.

As a woman with a lifelong disability, Dr Galbally first began focusing on disability rights and policy in the early 1980s while working at the Victorian Council for Social Services. Dr Galbally next became the CEO of the Sidney Myer Fund and the Myer Foundation, in that role she served as Chair of the Australian Association of Philanthropy (currently known as Philanthropy Australia).

Dr Galbally was appointed as the founding CEO of a number of new organisations, including the Australian Commission for the Future, the Australian International Health Institute, the Australian National Preventative Health Agency and Our Community Pty Ltd. Dr Galbally established the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) as the first organisation in the world to use a levy on tobacco for tobacco control, reducing demand for alcohol, tackling risk factors for heart disease, cancer and diabetes, injury prevention, sexual health and mental health promotion. Dr Galbally was appointed as the Independent Chair of the Review of Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Legislation (the Galbally Review).

Dr Galbally chaired the Royal Women’s Hospital. She was a member of the expert four-person panel that developed the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. Dr Galbally then went on to chair the Federal Government’s National People with Disability and Carers’ Council.

Dr Galbally was a board member of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and Principal Member of the Independent Advisory Council which provided advice to the NDIA about the importance of self-determination, social and economic inclusion, peer support and contemporary living models including the right to a mainstream life for people with disabilities.

With a career spanning many decades and positions at the highest levels, Dr Galbally considers that a highlight was developing the National Disability and Carer Alliance that brought together people with disabilities, families and carers with services to campaign for the National Disability insurance Scheme by developing the Every Australian Counts Campaign.

In accepting the role of Commissioner, Dr Galbally is keen to utilise what she has learned from her broad experience which gives her a detailed understanding of some of the major interfacing systems, including health, education, justice and housing. But most of all Dr Galbally brings decades listening to and working shoulder-to-shoulder with people with disabilities and families in fighting for the human right to be able to live lives fully in the community, without fear of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. ​

Network co-chairs

Nick Taylor – Disability Portfolio Lead for a private philanthropic trust and the Chairman of the Board for Wheelchair Sports 

Nick Taylor is the Disability Portfolio Lead for a private philanthropic trust, and the Chairman of the Board for Wheelchair Sports NSW. A native of South Africa, Nick grew up in a sports obsessed family of four siblings. In 1998, just after he finished high school, Nick was involved in a serious car accident that left him paralysed from the waist down. At the time, Nick was leading his team in the South African National Basketball Championship and despite his absence from the grand final, his team would go on to win the national title in overtime. They dedicated the win to their fallen captain, who would also be named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

Nick received a bachelor’s degree in business science in Cape Town, including spending a year on a wheelchair basketball scholarship at the University of Texas. Going from strength to strength, Nick then secured a role with a leading international management-consulting firm in Johannesburg and got back to representing South Africa, playing wheelchair basketball in both the World Championships and the Paralympics.

In 2006 Nick immigrated to Australia to build a brighter future for himself in Sydney. He became an Australian citizen and sat out of international competition in wheelchair basketball for three years so he could switch his nationality in order to represent Australia. He did so at the highest level by playing in the London Paralympics in 2012, winning a silver medal and two years later in Korea, he and his team would be crowned World Champions! 

Kirsty Nowlan – Executive Director, The Achieve Foundation 

Kirsty Nowlan is the Executive Director at The Achieve Foundation, leading large systems change initiatives across both international development and in Australia.  She has worked across areas as diverse as ageism in Australia, child mortality and fragile and conflict-affected states. Underpinning all the roles in her career is a deep commitment to social justice.  Kirst is dedicated to making better outcomes happen for people with disability and shaping society to embrace the diversity of human experience as a strength.

Alongside her work with The Achieve Foundation, she is on the boards of The Centre for Social Purpose – a membership organisation that works to support operational excellence in for purpose organisations – and Peacifica, an Australian-based organisation that aims to promote peace through genuine partnerships with Pacific Islanders.  She holds a PhD on international law and politics and her thesis explored the evolution of new forms of power through citizen activism around international trade negotiations.