HumanAbility's National Forum: Igniting Innovation, Fostering Connection, and Inspiring Collaboration

28 Nov 2023

HumanAbility hosted its inaugural National Forum at Australian Parliament House across two action-packed days from Tuesday 21 November to Wednesday 22 November. Across the two days, 200 leaders gathered to unpack and debate the challenges and opportunities currently facing our industries.

HumanAbility will take all insights and learnings from the National Forum and use it to help shape workforce planning and strategy.

The Forum was MC’d by the amazing Annabel Crabb. Participants heard from several impressive keynote speakers including Lead Economist at Impact Economics and Policy, Dr Angela Jackson and Alicia Payne MP. They covered a number of thought-provoking topics, ranging from a deep dive into a skills reform agenda and looked at potential economic headwinds for the care and support sectors.

The first day was focussed on four panel discussions across our key sectors: human and community services, including aged and disability support; children’s education and care; health; and sport and recreation. 

The sector-specific keynote discussions featured:

  • Professor James Buchan (Editor in Chief of Human Resources for Health), Professor Mark Cormack (National Centre for Health Workforce Studies, The Australian National University), Annie Butler (Federal Secretary, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Foundation), and Dr Dawn Casey (Deputy CEO, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation)

  • RJ Houston (General Manager – Capability & Industry at Royal Life Saving Society – Australia), Chris Alexander (General Manager – Ausactive), Jeffrey Lehrer (CEO – Scouts Australia), Nicky Sloan (CEO – City Venue Management), and Kathy Parton (CEO – Aquatics and Recreation Victoria)

  • The Hon. Jay Weatherill AO (Industry Professor at the University of South Australia), Gabrielle Sinclair (CEO – Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority), Helen Gibbons (Executive Director – Early Education, United Workers Union), and Carolyn Morris (CEO – YMCA Victoria)

  • Emeritus, Professor Sara Charlesworth (Professor Emerita at RMIT University), Edwina MacDonald (Deputy CEO and Director of Policy – Australian Council of Social Service), Susan McGrath (Senior Policy Advisor – Seniors Australia), Lloyd Williams (IAC Chair – HumanAbility), Dan Stubbs (Victorian Disability Worker Commission), Belinda Allen (General Manager, Services & Sector Capacity – Aged and Community Care Providers Association)

Our keynote dinner speaker was Stan Grant, who provided a poetic and powerful oration that reflected on the state of humanity and how people are “searching for silence and warmth in a time of icy pandemonium”.  Stan graciously answered questions well into the night and the room was so moved and everyone joined in a standing ovation.

Day two was over to participants who enthusiastically jumped in to an interactive workshop to discuss sector-specific challenges as well as priority areas for HumanAbility to focus on moving forward. 

HumanAbility thanks everyone for their enthusiastic participation in a fantastic event and look forward to engaging across Australia in 2024. 



HumanAbility would like to extend its sincere thanks to David Callow and Jessamy Gee for their excellent work in capturing the two-day event, MosaicLab for their facilitation throughout the Forum.

National Forum Day 1 - Video Recordings
Please visit our YouTube channel to see videos of each session on Day 1 of the National Forum by clicking here.








HumanAbility collaborates with industry to conduct research, identify job market demands, assess skill requirements, create adaptive qualifications and training packages, and spearhead workforce development initiatives.

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