I was delighted to be in Cairns last week to announce our 2025 Australian Catholic Education conference and to visit local schools.

Executive director of Catholic Education Diocese of Cairns (CEDC) Bill Dixon and I visited Newman Catholic College, Smithfield and Holy Cross School, Trinity Park. It’s always a joy to visit school communities and to speak with teachers, leaders and students about their learning and teaching. 

In our regional and remote dioceses, there are additional challenges for Catholic school communities, including teacher shortages and student wellbeing, which our leaders raised in a meeting in Canberra with the Assistant Minister for Education and Assistant Minister for Regional Development Senator Anthony Chisholm in September.

Our 2025 conference, to be held from 20-22 August, builds on the wonderful success of our conference in Melbourne last year where the majority of delegates expressed a desire to hold the conference every three years, rather than four years.

CEDC has generously offered to co-host the conference in 2025 and we anticipate around 1,500 Catholic educators, leaders, clergy, parents and others, will gather in Cairns for this three-day event.

We are grateful for the support of the Cairns Diocese and the Queensland Government, represented on the day by Cairns MP and Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development, Michael Healy, who have generously approved a tourism grant of up to $100,000 to support our event.

The conference will focus on the strategic vision and mission of Catholic education in Australia with a broad range of speakers, presentations and workshops in Catholic identity and mission, learning and teaching, leadership and governance, parent engagement and more.

Our national strategic priorities of faith, excellence and access will guide the streams of the conference to enable educators and leaders to network, share practice and participate in professional learning and formation.

Under the theme, ‘hope, anchored in faith’, which is connected to the 2025 Jubilee Year theme, ‘Pilgrims of Hope’, the conference branding features beautiful artwork by First Nations artist, Susan Reys. Susan’s painting, Tenacious Dreaming, reflects the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in far north Queensland among its symbolism.

Jacinta Collins
National Catholic education executive director

Top image: Cairns MP Michael Healy, Catholic Education Diocese of Cairns executive director Bill Dixon, National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins, artist Susan Reys and Cairns Convention Centre general manager Janet Hamilton.