Fiona Smith

18 February 2014 — Public interest lawyer Fiona Smith has joined the board of Livable Housing Australia.

Ms Smith has significant experience in reform leadership in Victoria as chair of Victoria’s Business Licensing Authority and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

She is a member of the Victorian Government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme Implementation Task Force, and is a non-executive director of Yooralla, one of Victoria’s largest disability service providers.

“As an electric wheelchair user with restricted mobility, I have experienced the real difficulty of finding rental accommodation that met my needs,” said Ms Smith.

“I’ve incurred the expense of modifying and changing the structure of the house I purchased to suit my needs. And I know how it feels to be unable to stay overnight with friends and relatives because their homes are inaccessible.

“Many physical barriers that people with disability face – and the expenses that they incur – can be eliminated if houses are designed and built to meet common sense livable design benchmarks.

“Through my work in the community sector, I’ve also seen first-hand how older people can maintain their independence for much longer when their homes are easy to access and safe.

“Livable Housing Australia is making an important contribution to a more equitable, livable future for everyone – and I’m looking forward to furthering this ambitious agenda.”

LHA chair Peter Verwer welcomed the appointment, saying Ms Smith’s reputation, understanding of governance issues and experience in the disability sector would add further depth to the LHA board.

“Fiona possesses a rare combination of knowledge and experience across a broad range of public, business, health, welfare and community sectors. A passionate advocate of issues concerning equality, disability and human rights for many years, Fiona’s contribution to the board will be invaluable,” Mr Verwer said.