Paralympics Australia’s goal to create the most successful era in Australian Paralympic history has been strengthened by the appointment of four new Board Directors.

Paralympians Ellie Cole (pictured), a former New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship holder, Matthew Nicholls, and sports marketing expert Michael Bushell – who is also on the NSWIS board – joined the Board on 1 April 2024, while Australian Paralympic Team co-captain Curtis McGrath will begin his tenure from 1 October 2024.

The quartet were appointed after a highly competitive recruitment process which began last December.

Paralympics Australia President Alison Creagh chaired the recruitment committee and said the calibre of applicants was outstanding.

“The addition of Ellie, Matthew and Michael to our Board, and Curtis later in the year, comes at an exciting and pivotal time for our organisation and I have no doubt that the experience and expertise they bring will be extremely beneficial for the Australian Paralympic movement,” Creagh said.

“I extend my congratulations to our new Directors on their appointments and look forward to watching them take on the great challenge, responsibility and opportunity that comes with being on Paralympics Australia’s Board of Directors.”

Ms Creagh said the Board’s priority was to maximise opportunities on the runway to the Brisbane 2032 Paralympic Games.

“While there are challenges to face, there is also immense opportunity which we need to convert into meaningful outcomes that secure our long-term sustainability,” Ms Creagh said.

“I am confident that the fresh perspectives and insights will set us up brilliantly for a prosperous future.”

Ellie Cole is one of Australia’s most decorated Paralympians having competed at four Games (2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020).  Over the course of her remarkable career, she secured 17 Paralympic medals, including six gold, five silver, and six bronze medals. After retiring from competitive swimming, Cole assumed a leadership role as the General Manager of the Australia Team for the Trinbago 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games.

Curtis McGrath is a two-time Paralympian, three-time Paralympic gold medallist and a 11-time gold medallist at World Championship level. The former Australian Army Engineer currently serves on Paralympics Australia’s Athlete Commission and is the co-captain of the 2024 Australian Paralympic Team for the Paris Paralympic Games.  

Matthew Nicholls is a Paralympian who competed at the 1998 Nagano Winter Paralympic Games, representing Australia in Para-alpine skiing. His extensive experience in finance, public administration, consulting and the corporate sector will bring a valuable perspective to the Board. Nicholls’ leadership as the Board Chair of disability service provider Cara underscores his commitment to inclusion and accessibility.

Michael Bushell brings more than 40 years of experience in the sports marketing industry. His expertise in navigating the complexities of the Paralympic, Olympic and Commonwealth Games across multiple functional areas as well as his track record of maximising revenue through strategic partnerships will be relied upon.

The new appointees will join Creagh, Vice President Grant Mizens, Tim Carmody, Rebecca Frizelle and Kate Jones as Paralympics Australia Directors.

Jock O’Callaghan resigned from the Board in February 2024 and John Hartigan retired on 20 March 2024 after serving his maximum term.


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