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David Cullen

Macquarie University

David Cullen

I held senior roles in the Australian Public Service working in the aged care, disability services and health sectors for twenty-five years, including as:

Chief Economist of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (2016-2022).
Chief Economist at the Australian Department of Health (2012-2016).
Principal Advisor, Aged Care Policy at the Australian Department of Health (2001-2012).
Principal Advisor to the Chair of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (2018-2021).

I am widely regarded as one of Australia’s foremost experts on the regulation, funding and financing of aged care, disability services and health care. I hold adjunct professorships at both the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (since 2008) and at Macquarie University’s Centre for the Health Economy (since 2022). I have been commissioned by the Australian Government, and other governments, to lead several major reviews of the aged care, disability and health care sectors:

In disability care, I led the 2022-23 NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Review, and the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 NDIS Annual Pricing Reviews as well as the 2019 Review of NDIS Therapy Pricing Arrangements, the 2019 NDIS Western Australian Market Review, the 2019 NDIS SDA Limited Cost Assumptions Review and the 2020 Review of Pricing Arrangements for Supported Independent Living.
In aged care, I led the development of the ten-year plan for the deregulation and micro-economic reform of the aged care industry that was at the centre of the 2012 Living Longer Living Better Aged Care reforms. I also led the Australian Government’s 2011 Review of the Aged Care Funding Instrument and 2010 Review of the Conditional Adjustment Payments and was the Executive Director of the Review of Pricing Arrangements in Residential Aged Care from 2002 to 2004.
In health care, I was commissioned by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Committee to provide it with strategic advice on options to improve productivity and efficiency in the Australian health care system, including through payment system reform.

I am also internationally recognised as one of Australia’s leading health economists and as an expert in the regulation of social service markets.

Commissioned by the World Bank to advise the Malaysian Government on options to develop an Inclusive and Sustainable Aged Care System for Malaysia (2021).
Member of Australia’s delegation to the OECD’s Global Forum on Competition (2017).
Invited Member, OECD High Level Reflection Group on Health Statistics (2015 to 2017).
President of the OECD’s Expert Group on the Economics of Prevention (2014 to 2015) and member of the Expert Group (2012 to 2013).
Member, OECD Health Committee’s Expert Group on Payment Systems (2014 to 2015).
Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health since 2013.
Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society since 2014.


Countries Australia;
Topics Care economy; Economics of LTC; Epidemiology and ageing trajectories; Financing LTC; Governance and LTC systems organisation; Long term care subsidies; LTC insurance; LTC Policy; LTC Reforms; LTC Systems; Social Insurance;
Methods Cost analysis; Economic evaluation; Policy analysis;
Role Research;
Interest Groups Care home markets and regulation; Economics of Long-Term Care; Long-Term Care Policy;