Established in 1974 by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, through the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education, the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) is the peak body for Catholic education in Australia and is responsible for the national coordination and representation of Catholic schools and education authorities.

The NCEC’s national office (secretariat) is responsible for the implementation of the Commission’s strategic priorities and day-to-day operations including:

  • Working towards a national policy consensus and resourcing that represents and serves the needs and interests of Catholic school communities
  • Consultation and coordination with State and Territory Commissions, Religious Institute and Ministerial PJP schools and authorities, Catholic School Parents Australia and Catholic Primary and Secondary Principal Associations
  • Maintaining effective liaison with the Australian Government and other key education authorities and bodies
  • Strengthening the work of the Church in education and the Catholic identity of Catholic schools and universities.

National Catholic Education Commissioners

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The Bishops Commission for Catholic Education has been established by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC), with four members and meeting four times each year. 

The BCCE advises the ACBC and its members on issues that arise concerning education. It is responsible for setting priorities for education in consultation with the ACBC, it plans and develops strategies at the national level to promote the life and mission of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Areas of responsibility:

  • Catholic school – early childhood, primary and secondary education
  • The religious education of the school-aged people who are not attending Catholic schools
  • Catholic tertiary education

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In particular, the BCCE performs the following functions:

  • Monitors the activity in Catholic education and oversees the work of the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC)
  • Develops national policies in specific areas of its responsibility as approved or requested by the Conference. The Commission will normally conduct this function through the NCEC
  • In accordance with Conference policy, undertakes public and private advocacy in support of:
    • Catholic schools
    • Catholic school-aged young people not attending Catholic schools
    • Catholic tertiary education sector
    • The Commission undertakes such specific projects as the conference may from time to time approve or request
  • The BCCE maintains a direct relationship with:
    • Australian Catholic tertiary institutions
    • National Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
    • Associations Schools (Religious Institute and Ministerial Public Juridic Persons) conducting Catholic schools

The National Office works across three locations in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. As a Catholic organisation we seek to be a workplace of hospitality, welcome and lived faith, and invite our staff to actively participate and contribute to making the NCEC a place that lives our gospel values of respect, dignity, inclusiveness, and compassion.

Executive Director

Jacinta Collins 

Director Mission and Operations

Robert Tonkli

Director Strategy

Anna Howarth 

Research and Evaluation Lead

Dr Kevin Trimble

Senior Education Advisor

Joanna Mackie

Public Affairs Advisor

Annette Loughlin-Smith       

Government Relations and Policy Advisor

Andrew Long    

Faith Formation and Religious Education Officer

Laura Avery 

Research and Evaluation Analyst

Sioau-Mai See 

System Data Analyst

James Zhai                 

Media and Communications Advisor 


Executive Officer

Pauline Ryan

Finance Manager

Sabrina Shen

Administration Assistant

Nell Desiderio

The National Catholic Education Commission has a number of Standing Committees (below), working parties and representatives on national bodies and groups to support the work of the Catholic education. 


  • Dr Neil McGoran – Chair, Director, Catholic Education South Australia
  • Allan Blagaich, Executive Director, Queensland Catholic Education Commission
  • Dr Jennifer Buckingham, Director of Strategy & Senior Research Fellow MultiLit
  • Ms Mandy Connor, Director, Teaching & Learning Catholic Education Western Australia
  • Danielle Cronin, Deputy Director, Catholic Schools NSW
  • Bishop Mark Edwards OMI, Bishop of Wagga Wagga
  • Paul Greaves, Director, Catholic Education Northern Territory
  • Carmel Nash OAM, Executive Director, Catholic School Parents Queensland
  • Emerita Professor Marea Nicholson AM
  • Kate Rayment, Principal, St Scholastica’s College
  • Dr Vince Wright, Faculty of Education Australian Catholic University
  • Matt Wright, Consultant EY, Macquarie University
  • Anna Howarth, Director Strategy
  • Dr Kevin Trimble, NCEC Research & Evaluation Lead


  • Kate Rayment, Chair, Principal, St Scholastica’s College, Glebe
  • Mark Powell, Director of Religious Education, Catholic Education Western Australia
  • Dr Monica Dutton, Spirituality and Mission Animation Leader, Sisters of the Good Samaritan
  • Prof Richard Rymarz, Director of Research and Head of Religious Education, BBI TAITE
  • Dr Caroline Thompson, Director of Formation, Mercy Partners
  • Vacant – Canberra and Goulburn
  • Gary Reen, Assistant Director Mission, Catholic Schools Diocese of Lismore
  • Sr Catherine Mead RSJ, Sisters of St Joseph, Leader of Catholic Identity Catholic Education Northern Territory
  • Sharon O’Keeffe, Head of Catholic Identity – Brisbane Catholic Education
  • Dr Jill Gowdie, Assistant Director Catholic Education South Australia
  • Martin Tobin, Director, Catholic Identity & Evangelisation, Catholic Education Tasmania
  • Dominic Ryan, Manager, Catholic Identity and Religious Education, Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Ltd
  • Alison Newell – National Confraternity for Christian Doctrine representative
  • Sarah Rose – parent representative
  • Robert Tonkli, Director Mission and Operations
  • Laura Avery, NCEC Faith Formation and Religious Education Officer


  • Carmel Nash OAM, Chair, Executive Director, Catholic Education Commission Victoria
  • Alan Blagaich, Executive Director, Queensland Catholic Education Commission
  • Wayne Bull, Executive Director, Catholic Education Western Australia
  • Jacinta Collins, NCEC Executive Director
  • Robert Tonkli, Director Mission and Operations
  • Sabrina Shen, NCEC Business Manager


  • Jacinta Collins – Chair, NCEC Executive Director
  • Ross Fox, Director, Catholic Education Diocese of Canberra Goulburn
  • Dr Gerard Gaskin, Executive Director, Catholic Education Tasmania
  • Paul Greaves, Director, Catholic Education Northern Territory
  • Dr Neil McGoran, Director, Catholic Education South Australia
  • Dallas McInerney, CEO, Catholic Schools NSW
  • Wayne Bull, Executive Director, Catholic Education Western Australia
  • Allan Blagaich, Executive Director, Queensland Catholic Education Commission
  • Anna Howarth, Director Strategy


  • Dallas McInerney, Chair, CEO, Catholic Schools NSW
  • Ross Fox, Director, Catholic Education Diocese of Canberra Goulburn
  • Dr Neil McGoran, Director, Catholic Education South Australia
  • Emerita Professor Marea Nicholson AM
  • Dr Debra Sayce, Executive Director, Catholic Education Western Australia
  • Allan Blagaich, Executive Director, Queensland Catholic Education Commission
  • Anna Howarth, Director Strategy

Working Groups

Working groups are formed to progress a particular strategic or operational priority of the NCEC and currently include:

  • Funding Analysis Expert Group (FAEG)
  • IT Working Group
  • Mathematics Advisory Group
  • National Communications Group 
  • Parent Formation
  • Political Advocacy Taskforce (PAT)
  • Scripture Working Group
  • Student Formation
  • Staff Formation
  • Teacher Workforce
  • Measurement Experts Group


Networks are comprised primarily of state and territory professional officers or representatives who have expertise and responsibility for a particular policy area and currently include:

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Network Group
  • Catholic Education Leaders Forum
  • Catholic Education Stakeholder Forum 
  • Early Childhood Network Group
  • Learning & Teaching Network Group
  • Regional, Rural & Remote Education Directors Forum
  • Senior Finance Officers
  • Students with Disability Network Group
  • Student Wellbeing Network Group
  • VET Network Group

National representatives 

There are a number of representatives, supported by NCEC, nominated to represent Catholic education on national government bodies or other organisations, working parties and consultative groups including:

1. The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) is commissioned by and responsible to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) through the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education (BCCE).

2. NCEC shall carry out its functions within the Terms of Reference established or amended by ACBC, and in accordance with these Statutes.

3. NCEC shall report regularly to ACBC through BCCE.

4. NCEC shall consist of sixteen (16) Commissioners. The appointments to be:

(a) Presiding honorary Chair

(b) Executive Director

(c) Two (2) Bishops

(d) Eight (8) Chief Executives of State/Territory Catholic Education Commissions, ex officio

(e) A member appointed by the BCCE following a nomination submitted by the Committee of Religious Institute and Ministerial Public Juridic Person School Authorities Australia (CORMSAA)

(f) A parent selected by BCCE from a nomination forwarded by each State/Territory based parent organisation

(g) Two (2) community members appointed by BCCE.

5. The Chair and the Executive Director shall be appointed by ACBC.

6. The Executive Director shall be the official spokesperson for NCEC.

7. Membership of NCEC shall ordinarily be for a period of four (4) years.

8. Retiring members may be re-appointed, but no member shall serve more than eight (8) consecutive years unless he/she be the Chief Executive Officer of a State or Territory Catholic Education Commission.

9. Substitutes for members at NCEC meetings shall not be accepted.

10. Where a member is absent from three (3) consecutive meetings of NCEC without reasonable cause, his/her membership shall be deemed to have lapsed and another person shall be appointed.

11. In the event of a member of NCEC relinquishing membership for any reason, another person shall be appointed by BCCE to complete the unexpired term in accordance with 4 above.

12. NCEC shall have a Deputy Chair elected by and from the members of the Commission. The appointment shall be for the term of the Commission.


13. NCEC shall hold at least six (6) ordinary meetings each calendar year.

14. Extraordinary meetings of NCEC shall be called by the Chair, either at his/her own discretion, or on the request of at least six (6) members. In the latter case, the meeting shall be held within one month of receipt of the request. A quorum for extraordinary meetings shall consist of half the members of NCEC plus one.

15. All discussions at NCEC meetings shall be confidential and governed by the usual rules of debate. All members, including the Chair, have a deliberative vote, and the Chair shall also have a casting vote.

16. The minutes of NCEC and its Standing Committees shall be provided to BCCE.

17. The Deputy Director would normally be in attendance at Commission meetings.


18. NCEC shall establish a Standing Committee for Faith Formation and Religious Education. Members of the Committee will be appointed by BCCE. The Chair of the Standing Committee would normally be a Commissioner appointed by the BCCE.

19. NCEC may establish other Standing Committees as necessary. NCEC may also establish ad hoc Working Parties.

20. All Standing Committees, either standing or ad hoc, will have approved Terms of Reference and membership, including a defined period of membership.

21. The Executive Director shall be ex officio a member of all Committees and Working Parties established by NCEC.


22. NCEC shall submit an annual budget for approval by ACBC. It shall also annually submit to ACBC an audited financial statement. Financial statements shall be reviewed regularly by NCEC.

23. Costs of the NCEC Secretariat, NCEC travel, accommodation and other approved expenses incurred in the work of NCEC or its committees will be met from the approved budget.

24. NCEC is authorised to enter into service agreements for general operational expenditures, and to sign contracts for other services within its approved budget.


25. NCEC may be dissolved by a resolution of ACBC. In such circumstance, its records and assets will automatically transfer to ACBC.

Dated: 26 November 2019.

1. The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) is commissioned by and responsible to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) through the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education (BCCE) for developing, enunciating and implementing policy at the national level for the Church’s work in Catholic schools.

2. Education in Catholic schools shall be the major focus of the NCEC’s deliberations and work. NCEC shall maintain active links with other vital aspects of the Church’s educational endeavour, particularly in relation to Catholic children attending state and independent schools, and Catholic tertiary education.

3. In fulfilment of its commission from ACBC, NCEC shall:

3.1 give systematic witness to a commitment to Christ and to the truths and values of his Gospel and his Church within contemporary ecclesial, educational, social and political milieux;

3.2 develop and articulate a rationale for the continuing contribution of Catholic schools to the common good, and for the special nature and mission of Catholic schools;

3.3 develop and articulate a rationale for the rights of Catholic parents and their children attending Catholic schools to a just allocation of public monies from the Commonwealth and State Governments to fund their education and to maximise access to Catholic schools by Catholic families;

3.4 build on and enhance the work of State/Territory Catholic Education Commissions, and diocesan and religious order structures and services in Catholic schools, particularly in the areas of Faith Formation and Religious Education, ensuring at all times that the principle of subsidiarity is given proper precedence;

3.5 work to extend, enhance and consolidate collaboration at the national level to enable the Church to respond effectively to emerging national school policies and trends: recurrent, capital and special purpose funding; curriculum (including Religious Education); accountability and governance; support the continual improvement of educational outcomes for all students, early childhood education;

3.6 work towards developing and sustaining a national policy consensus that will promote the most effective application and use of all resources devoted to Catholic school education in Australia;

3.7 monitor trends in educational theory and practice, national and international, and ensure that a Catholic position is declared on issues which are raised or should be raised in the public forum;

3.8 negotiate on behalf of ACBC and BCCE with national political authorities and government instrumentalities;

3.9 collaborate with other national bodies associated with school education;

3.10 act as an organ of communication at the national level on matters pertaining to Catholic schools;

3.11 assemble, maintain, utilise and disseminate data relevant to Catholic schools;

3.12 undertake, support or commission appropriate educational research, particularly through service arrangements with State Catholic Education Offices;

3.13 establish liaison with international educational bodies, Catholic and other, and with experts in education and related fields of potential value to Australian Catholic schools; and

3.14 perform other tasks as requested by BCCE.

Adopted 1 July 2013. Amended February 2021.