Our Board

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

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). 

Dr Robyn Miller PhD

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

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

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 Paul Vane-Tempest

Mr Paul Vane-Tempest

Paul Vane-Tempest was appointed to the Board of Catholic Social Services Australia by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in May 2015.

Mr Michael Austin

Mr Michael Austin

Michael Austin is a Social Worker with over 30 years experience in the field. Michael studied his undergraduate and post graduate studies in Social Work at the University of NSW, majoring in couple and family therapy.

Michael worked at CatholicCare Sydney for 21 years in practitioner, management and senior executive roles before joining CatholicCare Wollongong in March 2014 as Director. In May 2018 Michael was appointed Chair of the Catholic social services peak body, Catholic Social Services Australia NSW/ACT.

Michael has presented at national sector conferences, he has served as Vice Chair of the Institute of Counselling, as a member of the Advisory Board of the Bachelor of Counselling and Behavioural Science at the University of Notre Dame, and for 6 years was a member of the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board. He was elected Board Chair of national peak body for family and relationships services providers, Family Relationship Services Australia (FRSA), from 2012-2018.  

Prior to his work in catholic social services he worked in the public hospital system, the Department of Defence, and with Westminster Social Services in the United Kingdom.