Centacare, Catholic Diocese of Ballarat is a Company Limited by Guarantee with its sole member being the Bishop of Ballarat. Governed by a Board of Directors the daily operations of the organisation are managed by the Chief Executive Officer,
Tony Fitzgerald, and the Executive Team.

The Board of Directors have a strong connection to the Ballarat Catholic Community and have a range of expertise, life experiences and backgrounds. They provide the organisation with strong governance and guidance.



Paul Bird CSsR

Bishop / Member

Bishop Paul Bird CSsR was born in Newcastle in 1949. He was ordained as a Redemptorist priest in 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 Paul Bird CSsR has served as the bishop of Ballarat since 2012.


Maureen Waddington


Maureen is the Director of Mission at St John of God Hospital Ballarat and holds responsibility for the social outreach programs, Pomegranate House, Bloomsbury House, Raphael House and International Health in Tonga and Timor Leste.

Maureen has also been the Director of Mission for St. John of God Bendigo through the cultural alignment period of the new acquisition in 2005 and Acting Director of Mission for St. John of God Murdoch in Western Australia in 2010.

Maureen holds a Masters in Business Administration and a Graduate Diploma in Theology.

Maureen was appointed Chair to the Centacare Board in June 2019.


Elizabeth Ryan

An experienced educator in primary, secondary and tertiary education Elizabeth has held senior leadership roles at St Patrick’s College Ballarat including VCE Coordinator, Head of School and Director of Senior School and Deputy Headmaster: Well being.

With broad management and extensive leadership experience Elizabeth is a current member of the Federation Business School Faculty Advisory Board and an Honorary Fellow of Federation University, Australia.

Elizabeth holds a Masters of Business, Graduate Diploma in Educational administration, Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Education and a Diploma of Teaching.


Allan McKinnon

Allan was appointed to the Centacare board in 2012. Allan worked for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development for over forty years. A member of the Rotary Club of Ballarat South and Legacy Allan is a key volunteer on the Commemorative Days Committee.

Allan holds a Bachelor of Education, Graduate Diploma in Religious Education, Graduate Diploma in Education Administration, Diploma in Teaching Asian Studies.


Kevin Murnane

Kevin was appointed to the Board in 2018 and holds a Diploma of Business Studies, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a registered Tax Agent and a former registered Company Auditor.

Kevin is a committed volunteer in the community volunteering at St Vincent’s De Paul, St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Snake Valley Golf Club.

Kevin brings to the Board strong skills in finance, governance, systems development and implementation, business acumen and critical thinking.


Dr Sandra Harvey

Sandra is an experienced educator in both primary and secondary education and has held numerous leadership roles at both school and systems level across three States and Territories.

Sandra is Assistant Director at Ballarat Catholic Education and holds responsibility for System Improvement. Previously Sandra held the Assistant Director of Education position at Catholic Education Tasmania, with responsibility for School Improvement, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Student Support, Pastoral Care and Wellbeing and the Early Career Teacher Program.

Sandra holds a Doctor of Education and Masters in System Leadership, Religious Education and Educational Leadership.

Sandra was appointed to the Centacare Board in April 2019.


Andrew Jirik

Andrew is an experienced Finance and Accounting Executive and has held numerous leadership roles at P&O Maritime Services, Australian Associated Motor Insurers (AAMI) and Suncorp Limited. Andrew currently is the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat, Business Manager.

Holding a Bachelor of Business (Accountancy), Masters of Taxation and CPA, Andrew brings expertise in financial leadership, people management, financial and tax accounting and board reporting and communication to the Centacare Board.

Andrew was appointed to the Centacare Board in June 2019.


Sally McAlpin

Sally is a Registered Psychologist and holds extensive experience in Family Relationships, Family Law, Mediation and Family Dispute Resolution.

Having worked for over ten years in Family Dispute Resolution at Centacare’s Family Relationship Centre, Sally brings a wealth of client knowledge to the Centacare Board.

Sally is currently operating a private practice as a Family Consultant, Supervisor and Family Court Report Writer for the Family Court of Australia.

Sally holds a Bachelor of Counselling and Masters in Psychoanalytic and Observational studies with Infants, Children and Young People.

Sally was appointed to the Centacare Board in August 2019.


Tom Niederle

Tom is the founding Director of Design for Performance (D4P). Tom has held a number of Executive and non-executive positions in the Victorian Public Service, Local Government Authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He has previously held positions as a Director with Emergency Management Victoria, Director Health and Aged Care, and Regional Director with Department of Health and Human Services and its former entities.

Tom brings with him vast knowledge, experience and capabilities having worked in and across complex multi-organisational and multi-sectoral environments. In particular, skills related to health system operations, finance, change management, risk management, governance (clinical and corporate), quality, contract management and integrity.

He possesses a sound knowledge and understanding of public sector including local government, state government and the myriad of public sector entities and private sector organisations that make up the government, health, education, justice and emergency management sectors.   He also has significant experience with Boards, Board Chairs, CEO’s, Executive teams and operational team members.

Tom currently holds a Graduate Diploma of Health Science (Health Education), and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Health).

Tom was appointed to the Centacare Board in August 2019.