The Australian Disability Network was started in 2000 by Suzanne Colbert AM, and brothers John Bennett OAM and Steven Bennett OAM.
John and Steven had already experienced great success employing people with disability through their company Benbro Electronics. In 1998 they were recognised for this success, winning the Prime Minister’s Employer of the Year Award.
Ambition and expansion
Eager to share their experiences and promote the business benefits of employing people with disability, they got in touch with Suzanne Colbert, the CEO of a disability employment service called Shore Personnel. Together they set up a group of business leaders with a mission to enable more businesses to employ people with disability.
The group was originally known as Employers Making a Difference (EMAD). In February 2006, they changed the name to the Australian Employers’ Network on Disability, and have since shortened this to the Australian Disability Network (AND).
20 years of achievement
Australian Disability Network has come a long way in the two decades since it was incorporated. The group’s first objective was to create 500 jobs for people with disability, something considered a stretch at the time. Australian Disability Network now has over 350 member organisations that together employ over 1.85 million Australians.