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Caritas Australia Board. L-R: The Hon John Watkins, Kirsty Robertson (CEO), Christine Grima, Bishop Vincent Long, Jack de Groot, Virginia Bourke and Wendy Hughes. Photo: Caritas Australia.

Caritas Australia's Board

Our Board brings a wealth of experience to our mission to eliminate poverty and build a safe and just world for all. The Board is responsible for guiding our strategic direction, monitoring our accountability and performance, and ensuring our compliance with relevant laws, codes of conduct and ethical standards. 

Robert Fitzgerald, AM
Chair

A lawyer by profession, Robert Fitzgerald, AM is currently the NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner. Previously, Robert has held the roles of Productivity Commissioner, Community and Disability Services Commissioner and Deputy Ombudsman in NSW. From 2012, for three years, he was the inaugural Chair of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Advisory Board. The Australian Government also appointed Robert as a Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, from 2013 to 2017. Robert has served on numerous faith based and other non-government organisations including as NSW State President of the St Vincent de Paul Society, National Committee Member of Australian Catholic Relief , member of NSW Catholic Commission for Employment Relations,  and President of the Australian Council of Social Services. He is currently  on the Board of Emerging Futures Collaborative Ltd and Chair of Caritas Australia. He has been an Adjunct Professor at Australian Catholic University and currently is an Adjunct Professor at University of Western Australia.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge
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Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Director

Born in Melbourne in 1948, Archbishop Mark Coleridge was ordained priest in Melbourne in 1974. He served in parishes before studying Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He taught Scripture in Melbourne, where he was eventually made Master of Catholic Theological College. In late 1997, he was appointed to work in the Holy See’s Secretariat of State. He was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in 2002 and named Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn in 2006. In 2012 he was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Brisbane where he currently serves. From 2018 – 2022 he served as President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Virginia Bourke
Director

Virginia is a  Board Chair and Non-Executive Director with experience across a range of sectors including health, aged care, community services, education, training and publishing. She has particular expertise in the governance of charitable not-for-profit organisations.  In July 2022 Virginia was appointed to the role of Pro-Chancellor of Australian Catholic University.  Among her other Board roles, Virginia is the Chair of Mercy Health, a large, national, not-for-profit provider of health, aged and community care services employing 10,000 staff and a Director of Mater Group and Catholic Health Australia.  She was formerly Chair of St John Ambulance Victoria and a Director of St John Ambulance Australia.   Virginia’s Non-Executive Director career has been complemented by her work as a lawyer and consultant in private practice and senior in-house counsel positions over 30 years. She is currently a consultant with the national health and aged care industry team at MinterEllison Lawyers.

Chair - Mission, People and Culture Committee.

Jack de Groot
Director

Jack de Groot is the CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society in NSW. He is a Director of St John of God Healthcare and a Director of the Board of University of Notre Dame Australia. Jack was CEO of Caritas Australia (2000-2013) and during that time served on the Minister for Foreign Affairs Aid Advisory Council. He was also Vice President of the Australian Council for International Development and was the inaugural Chair of the Make Poverty History Campaign (2004-2006).  He has served on the Executive governance of Caritas Internationalis and was the Chair of the International Advocacy Committee of Caritas Internationalis.

Member of the Programs and Impact Committee.

Patricia Faulkner AO
Director

Patricia Faulkner AO has enjoyed a career that has spanned the most senior levels of the public, private, and community sectors. She currently serves on a number of Boards, including Chair of Jesuit Social Services, Director/Trustee of a major superannuation fund and Chair of an advisory committee to the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank. She is Chair of the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health Council, and Deputy Chair of the Melbourne Theatre Company. Her board appointments have covered a range of industries including, medical research, telecommunications, the arts, superannuation, banking, government administration, health, and welfare services. In 2015/16, she served as a Royal Commissioner enquiring into family violence in Victoria. She also served as the Secretary, Department of Human Services in Victoria.

Member of the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee. 

Christine Grima
Director

Christine Grima is a Partner at SEC Newgate Communications with more than 25 years of experience working in stakeholder, community and government engagement, and strategic communications for major projects and reforms. In recent years, Christine has specialised as a strategic communications advisor for NSW government agencies and the private sector delivering high-profile projects, where she has helped clients create social license and effectively manage issues and crises. 

Chair - Programs and Impact Committee. 

Dr. Martin Laverty
Director

Dr Martin Laverty is the Chief Executive of the national disability service organisation Aruma. In previous roles Dr Laverty has been Secretary General of the Australian Medical Association, Chief Executive of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia and Chief Executive of Catholic Health Australia. Dr Laverty is the Deputy Chair of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Advisory Board. He is a former Board Director of the National Disability Insurance Agency and of Health Direct. He is a former member of the NSW Public Service Commission Board, a former Chair of the NSW Heart Foundation, and a former Director of three NSW disability services charities. A lawyer by original training, Dr Laverty’s PhD was in not-for-profit board governance. He also holds an honorary appointment as Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia’s Not-for-Profit Initiative.

Wendy Hughes
Director

Wendy Hughes, National Chief Financial Officer of Calvary Health Care since August 2019, has more than 20 years of Senior Executive experience across a broad range of financial, corporate services, and clinical support functions. In her last public health sector role, as the Acting Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Secretary Financial Services and Asset Management, Wendy led the Health Cluster’s $24 billion budget process, financial performance, implementation of the NSW Government’s financial management transformation initiative, and development of the Ministry’s ICT Strategy and Roadmap. In her role at Calvary Health Care she is responsible for leadership of Calvary's financial services. Wendy has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the current framework for governing the financial and non-financial performance of public hospitals across the NSW Health system. Wendy holds a Bachelor of Business and is a Fellow of CPA Australia.

Chair - Audit, Finance and Risk Committee.