Co-design Advisory Group March 2023 Communique

The purpose of this communique is to detail the key outcomes of the Co-design Advisory Group’s 17th meeting, which took place Tuesday 14 March 2023.

The primary purpose of the Co-design Advisory Group is for the Independent Advisory Council (IAC), Department of Social Services (DSS) and the disability sector to provide strategic advice to the NDIA on the implementation of co-design and engagement processes within the disability community.

The Co-design Advisory Group works collaboratively to:

  • ensure disability community perspectives on issues facing the NDIS are represented
  • gather feedback on the co-design priorities and approaches with peers and members and
  • provide and receive strategic advice on the design, implementation and evaluation of co-design and engagement

The following members and NDIA representatives were in attendance.


  • Sharon Boyce, IAC


  • Skye Kakoschke-Moore, CEO, Children and Young People with Disability Australia
  • Dwayne Cranfield, CEO, National Ethnic Disability Alliance
  • Catherine McAlpine, CEO, Inclusion Australia
  • Jennifer Cullen, IAC
  • Leighton Jay, IAC
  • Leah Van Poppel, IAC
  • Julie Yeend, DSS
  • Trish Drury, DSS

NDIA representatives

  • Corri McKenzie, Deputy CEO, Service Design & Improvement
  • Shannon Rees, A/g General Manager, Communications and Engagement
  • Donna Purcell, NDIA Participant Advocate
  • Liz Callaghan, Branch Manager, Co-design and Engagement
  • Sam Bennett, General Manager, Policy, Advice and Research 


  • Matthew Wright, Director, Sector Engagement and Advice
  • Courtney Hofmann, Assistant Director, Co-design and Engagement
  • Phillip Wakefield, Assistant Director, Sector Engagement and Advice


  • David Hazlehurst, Head NDIS Review Secretariat


  • Ross Joyce, CEO, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

Meeting summary

The Chair acknowledged the Traditional Owners of the land, paying respect to their Elders, past and present, and also paid respects to people with disability.

NDIS Review interest in Co-design

The Chair introduced David Hazlehurst, Head of the NDIS Review Secretariat. David spoke about the NDIS Review’s desire to engage with people with disabilities, and the wider disability community, during the NDIS Review.

Mr Hazlehurst stated the Review would seek to co-design solutions with the disability community. Mr Hazlehurst asked for direction from the Co-design Advisory Group (CAG) about how best to engage with people with disability.

Mr Hazlehurst requested CAG members share previous engagement information on issues been considered by the Review, to prevent the Review needing to re-engage people on issues they have already provided feedback on.

Sam Bennett, General Manager, Policy, Advice and Research, updated the Group about the legality of the Group sharing previous engagement outcomes with the Review.


CAG members advised they supported the Review’s desire for transparency and the sharing of information with the Review.

A recommendation was made to the Review that any co-design process the Review undertakes allows sufficient time to speak with people with disabilities.

The CAG reaffirmed the need for the Review to test any solutions they develop with people with disability and the wider disability community before final decisions are made.

Role of co-design in the NDIA

The Chair introduced Corri McKenzie, Deputy CEO, Service Design & Improvement. Ms McKenzie spoke about changes in the Agency’s structure, elevating the role of co-design within the NDIA.

Ms McKenzie spoke about the desire to develop the NDIA’s channels of engagement. She asked for feedback from the Group about how the Agency’s co-design processes can continue to evolve and expressed that she believes this will be an iterative conversation the Agency will continue to have with the CAG.

Ms McKenzie stated she would like to speak with the CAG again about their priorities for 2023.


CAG members spoke about the need to develop further capability to support people with intellectual disability and people under statutory guardianship to engage in co-design processes.

A CAG member spoke about the need to be steady and measured when implementing any changes to ensure participants are not overwhelmed by change.

A CAG member raised the need to share the learnings from the co-design processes completed by the NDIA with other government departments and agencies.

A CAG member raised the need for the NDIS to support participants to transition through different phases of their lives.

Update on NDIA Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Strategy

The Chair introduced Jamie Lowe, General Manager, Strategy & Priorities. Ms Lowe stated the development of the CALD Strategy was progressing well, culminating in the CALD Summit, held on 23 February 2023. The Summit was attended by the NDIA CEO and the Hon Bill Shorten, Minister for the NDIS.

Dwayne Cranfield, CEO National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA), stated NEDA was excited by how the NDIA had engaged community organisations in the development of the Strategy.

Jennifer Cullen, from the IAC, spoke about the importance of having different generations of community leaders at the Summit, contributing their perspectives.

Evaluation of co-design process procurement discussion

The Chair introduced Liz Callaghan, Branch Manager, Co-design and Engagement Branch. Ms Callaghan stated the tender for the evaluation of co-design closed 20 February 2023.

Meeting close

The Co-design Advisory Group meeting concluded.

The next meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday 18 April 2023.

If you have any feedback or questions about the Co-design Advisory Group, please email [email protected]

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