About the CSSA Board
Members of the Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA) Board are appointed by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and include persons elected by our member organisations, representatives from the Australian Catholic Bishops, Catholic Religious Australia and those with special expertise in the social sciences or related disciplines.
The CSSA Board is entrusted with the stewardship and trusteeship of advancing CSSA’s work towards a fairer more inclusive society that reflects and supports the dignity, equality and participation of all people.
Current Board Members
Dr Maria Harries AM, PhD, GAICD
Appointed by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Maria Harries is Adjunct Professor at the Curtin University School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work and a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Population Health at The University of Western Australia. She runs her own consulting practice and also continues her research work and as a research supervisor with a number of PhD students. She also works with a number of state and national organisations involved with people who have experienced ‘care’, mental health, child, adult and family welfare, and workforce.
Maria was the inaugural Chairperson of MercyCare WA. She has held many leadership positions within the mental health and broader social services sector in WA and nationally. In addition to her other ‘portfolio of retirement commitments’, in 2014 Maria assumed the role of Chairperson of Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA).
Mr Paul Jensen
Chief Executive Officer, Centacare South West NSW
Paul has been CEO of Centacare South West NSW since January 2014. Centacare is a small to medium size social services organisation operating as a Company Ltd by Guarantee and a ministry of the Diocese of Wagga Wagga. Paul is an AHPRA registered psychologist who holds a Bachelor of Science (Geology); Masters of Theology; Grad Diploma in Management, Grad Diploma in Family Dispute Resolution and a Bachelor of Psychology (hons). He also holds membership with the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian Psychological Society. Paul is married to Karen with three adult children and enjoys Indie music, mountain bike riding; surfing and trekking
Dr Robyn Miller PhD
Chief Executive Officer of MacKillop Family Services
Appointed by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in October 2017.
MacKillop Family Services, is one of the largest providers of specialist services to vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people and their families in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.
Dr Miller is a social worker and family therapist with over thirty years’ experience in the community sector, local government and child protection. She was a senior clinician and teacher for fourteen years at the Bouverie Family Therapy Centre, La Trobe University, and part of an innovative team working with families who have experienced trauma and sexual abuse. Robyn has practised in the public and private sectors as a therapist, clinical supervisor, consultant and lecturer and was a member of the Victorian Child Death Review Committee for ten years. She was the recipient of the inaugural Robin Clark memorial PhD scholarship in 2004 and the statewide award for Inspirational Leadership in Victoria in 2010. From 2006-15 she provided professional leadership as the Chief Practitioner within the Department of Human Services in Victoria, and has also worked as a consultant with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. In August 2017 Dr Miller was appointed a Director of Catholic Professional Standards.
Mr Michael King
Chief Executive Officer, Centacare Kimberley
Michael King has worked in social services for 22 years. For the last 15 years, Michael has held senior roles in both large and small organisations serving people in rural, remote and metropolitan regions. Michael currently leads Centacare Kimberley.
Centacare Kimberley delivers an expanding range of quality support services to a highly marginalised and disadvantaged group of people, who are associated with all Aboriginal skin and language groups of the Kimberley region of Australia.
Bishop Paul Bird CSsR
Eighth Bishop of Ballarat
Bishop Bird was appointed to the Board of Catholic Social Services Australia by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in May 2016.
Bishop Paul Bird joined the formation program of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists) in the mid 1960s and made his profession at Galong on 11 February 1968.
He studied for four years at the Redemptorist seminary in Wendouree in Ballarat, completed his seminary studies at the Yarra Theological Union in Melbourne and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John Toohey, Bishop of Maitland, at Waratah in Newcastle on 17 May 1975.
In 1987 the Bishop was appointed superior of the Redemptorist community at Brighton in Melbourne and commenced twenty years of service as editor in the congregation’s publications ministry, Majellan Publications.
He served various terms totalling fifteen years in all as a member of the Provincial Council of the Redemptorist Congregation. He represented the Australian province at the congregation’s general chapter in Brazil in 1991 and, from 2008 until the announcement of his appointment as Bishop of Ballarat, he served as Provincial of the Australian Province of the congregation with overall responsibility for the communities and missions in Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia.
Bishop Bird was appointed Eighth Bishop of Ballarat by Pope Benedict XVI on 1 August 2012 and ordained as Bishop on 16 October, 2012.
Mr Jack de Groot
Group Leader Mission, St Vincent’s Health Australia
Jack de Groot was appointed to the Board of Catholic Social Services Australia by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in May 2015.
Jack has a wealth of experience in catholic service agencies. He served as CEO of Caritas Australia for 13 years before taking on his current position with St Vincent’s Health Australia as Group Leader for Mission.
Jack has also served in the Catholic Education Office of Western Australia as Team Leader – Formation, as well as the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne as Executive Officer of Commission for Justice, Development & Peace.
Jack has considerable Board director experience, with many previous Board positions for not-for-profit agencies including Catholic Social Services Victoria and St John of God Health Care, as well as his current positions as Chair of Board of Jesuit Mission and Board of Governors University of Notre Dame.
Mr Paul Van-Tempest
Paul Vane-Tempest was appointed to the Board of Catholic Social Services Australia by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in May 2015.