NDIA Gets New CEO as Construction Begins on Head Office
19 July 2017 at 5:24 pm
The former managing director of Bankwest, Rob De Luca, has been announced as the new CEO of the National Disability Insurance Agency, on the same day the “first sod” was turned on the site of the new headquarters in Geelong.
NDIA chair, Dr Helen Nugent AO made the announcement on Wednesday, in a move welcomed by the Australian government, following an “open and merit-based selection” process to identify a suitable candidate for the top job.
Social Services Minister Christian Porter congratulated De Luca on his appointment and said he would guide the National Disability Insurance Scheme during a “critical transition to full roll out across Australia” over the next three years.
“From 2012 until recently, Mr De Luca was managing director of Bankwest, a significant, demanding and customer-focused job,” Porter said.
“During Mr De Luca’s time as managing director, Bankwest invested significantly in improving the experience for its one million customers.
“Mr De Luca has the depth and breadth of experience required to ensure the NDIS realises its full potential for all Australians.”
Under De Luca’s leadership Bankwest won the AIM WA WestBusiness Pinnacle Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Excellence in 2016 and WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality.
Porter said it was encouraging that a leader of De Luca’s “standing and ability” was committed to leading the NDIA during the transition to full scheme.
“Mr De Luca deeply understands the importance of improving social and economic outcomes for participants in a way that delivers a quality participant experience,” he said.
Assistant minister for social services and disability services, Jane Prentice, said De Luca would make a significant and lasting contribution to the NDIS’s goal of improving the lives of participants, while ensuring its financial sustainability.
“Mr De Luca’s appointment by the NDIA Board sees the appointment of a chief executive officer with the specialist skills to successfully roll out this ground-breaking reform as it moves towards full implementation over the next three years,” Prentice said.
De Luca will commence his three year term on 28 August, following the retirement of inaugural CEO David Bowen, who announced in March he would be stepping down.
Porter paid tribute to “the enormous and significant contribution” Bowen had made over the past five years.
“David’s dedication, professionalism and leadership of the NDIA have been critically important in helping to deliver on the promise of the NDIS to change the lives of people with disability, their families and carers,” Porter said.
The announcement comes as construction on the NDIA’s new headquarters officially got underway.
A ceremony to mark construction of the new $120 million building was conducted on-site in Geelong on Wednesday.
The new building is set to house 560 staff responsible for delivering the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme to 460,000 Australians.
Porter, who “turned the first sod” on the site, said the signing of an Agreement for Lease on the new building reflected the government’s commitment to the Geelong region.
“The construction of this state-of-the-art, fully-accessible NDIA national office on Malop Street will create hundreds of local jobs and $120 million worth of investment,” Porter said.
“The NDIS is already supporting almost 100,000 people and the staff who occupy this new headquarters will be playing a key role in supporting the 460,000 people that will be part of the Scheme by 2020.
“With NDIA national office staff currently split across several locations in Geelong, the new building will increase the efficiency of head office operations and make it easier for NDIS participants to access information and support.”
It was announced in December that local firm Techne Development had won the tender contract with the identified new premises to be constructed at the central location of 13-19 Malop Street.
The new building proposal incorporates the redevelopment of the heritage listed Carlton Hotel, including the retention and renovation of the heritage features of the façade.
The Victorian Government contributed $25 million to assist in the relocation of the NDIA head office from Canberra to Geelong, which was one of the first NDIS trial areas.
Prentice, who also attended the ceremony alongside Nugent, Bowen and Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, said the six-level building would be a market leader in accessible design and energy efficiency, with a 6 Star Greenstar and 5 Star NABERS (National Australian Built Environmental Rating System) rating.
“NABERS is a Commonwealth government initiative to measure and compare the environmental performance of Australia buildings and tenancies,” Prentice said.
“The NDIA will be one of the first Commonwealth agencies to focus on accessibility and collaboration in designing an open-plan approach to accommodation to support a range of work and learning activities for people of varying abilities.”
Henderson, said the NDIA’s proximity to the Transport Accident Commission, WorkSafe and Deakin University would “add to the region’s insurance, education and research precinct, cementing Geelong’s position as a centre of excellence for disability and personal injury insurance”.
“The NDIA is working with the City of Greater Geelong to make access routes to the building and connections to transport and services more accessible,” Henderson said.
The NDIA is expected to move into the new headquarters in late 2018.