Our history

The Australian Network on Disability was started in 2000 by Suzanne Colbert AM (current CEO) and brothers John Bennett OAM and Steven Bennett OAM.

John and Steven had already experienced great success in employing people with disability in their company, Benbro Electronics. In 1998 they were recognised for this success as winners of the Prime Minister’s Employer of the Year Award. Eager to share their experiences and promote the business benefits of employing people with disability, they asked Suzanne, then CEO of a disability employment service called Shore Personnel, to bring together a group of passionate business leaders.

With a mission to support more businesses to employ more people with disability, the group was originally known as Employers Making a Difference (EMAD). In February 2006, the name was changed to the Australian Employers' Network on Disability. It has since been shortened to the Australian Network on Disability, also known as AND.

Looking back to September 2000, when AND was incorporated, it has certainly come a long way. According to John, the group’s first objective was to create 500 jobs for people with disability, something that at that time was considered a stretch. Now, AND has over 200 Member organisations that together, employ almost 15% of the Australian workforce.

Read more about AND's history in End of an Era: AND Founding Board Members honoured.