Catholic Education Structures


In 1967 the Conference of Australian Catholic Bishops established a Federal Catholic Schools Committee under the chairmanship of Archbishop James Carroll of Sydney.  A report to the Committee in November 1967 proposed the establishment of a Federal Catholic Education Office.  The report was referred to the Australian Episcopal Conference, which accepted the general proposals of the report in May 1968.  The office began operation in August of the same year, with Monsignor James Bourke of Perth as the foundation Director.

The National Catholic Education Commission was proposed in 1967, but its meeting was postponed until after the establishment of the Federal Catholic Education Office.  Following on considerable preparatory work, the Commission whose membership reflected all groups contributing to Catholic Education, met at the end of 1969, 1970 and 1971.  It produced a report entitled The Education of Catholic Australians.  A Standing Committee was appointed to advise on reconvening a similar Commission should this seem appropriate.

Following the first Catholic Education Conference at Armidale in 1972, an expert committee was convened to consider Catholic Education Structures in Australia.  In 1974  the first meeting of the National Catholic Education Commission was held in Canberra under the chairmanship of the then Bishop of Wagga, Bishop Francis Carroll.

In 1984, following a review of the Commission by Sr Marie Therese Harold PBVM, revised terms of reference and statutes were approved by the Bishops Conference.  Membership was restructured to consist of 14, not more than 18, to be appointed by the Australian Bishops Conference

  • A Chairperson and an Executive Secretary
  • Two members of the Bishops Conference
  • One nominee of the Major Superiors
  • One member from each State and Territory Commission or equivalent body
  • At least one and not more than four members selected by the Bishops
  • The Commission has the right to co-opt one additional member.

The National Catholic Education Commission is responsible to the Australian Bishops Conference for developing, enunciating and acting upon policy at the national level for the Church's work in education. 

National Catholic Education Commission


Queensland Catholic Education Commission

The Queensland Catholic Education Commission's history reveals a story of collaboration, adaptability, service, respect for roles of others and enhancement of Catholic education, and education generally, in Queensland.

The Commission was established in 1973.  Although financial assistance from governments was beginning to flow the Catholic school sector had experienced something of a crisis of confidence in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Catholic school authorities had been confronted with the multiple challenges of increased enrolment demands, a scarcity of funds and declining numbers of Religious teachers.

By the early 1970s it had become evident that a more comprehensive approach needed to be taken to the co-ordination of Catholic schooling and the representation of its interests both at state level and to the national Government.  On 8 June 1973 the newly-formed Queensland Catholic Education Commission met for the first time.

The Commission is supported in its role by the Secretariat.  The Secretariat comprises a group of people both professional and support staff selected to work in the areas of responsibility of the Commission’s work.  The Commission deals with matters of statewide and national perspective.


Committee memberships generally include Dioceses, Religious Committees and P&F. Much of the Commission’s work is conducted throughout approved Committees. The following are a list of committees of the commission:-

  • The Commission’s Executive Committee
  • The Commission’s Political Advisory Committee
  • Education Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Communications Committee
  • Industrial Relations Committee

Role of QCEC Secretariat

Each Committee will be provided with both professional and secretarial support by the QCEC Secretariat according to the needs determined by the Executive Director after discussion with the Committee.  Except where they are members in their own right, Secretariat staff members assigned as secretaries of committees, will have an opportunity to play an interactive role in the Committee, but will not vote.


The Chair of each Committee will report in writing to the Executive Director who will report to each meeting of the Commission.


The Commission is comprised of the following members:

  • Independent Chair – appointed by the Bishops
  • The Executive Director of the Commission’s Secretariat
  • A Bishop
  • Deputy Chair – drawn from the membership and endorsed by the Bishop
  • The Directors of Catholic Education from each Diocese
  • A nominee of the Education Council / Board from each Diocese
  • A nominee of the Federation of Parents and Friends Associations of Catholic Schools in Queensland
  • Two nominees of Religious Congregations

Diocesan Education Offices

In Queensland there is a Catholic Education Office in each of the five diocese. Each office is responsible for the provision of Catholic Education in that diocese.

Brisbane Catholic Education 

Catholic Education Office – Diocese of Toowoomba

Catholic Education – Diocese of Townsville

Catholic Education – Diocese of Cairns 

Diocesan Catholic Education Office Rockhampton