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3.2 Our Board

Our Board

The ACARA Act 2008 defines the structure of the ACARA Board (the Board). The Board comprises 13 members including nominees of state and territory ministers for education, the Australian Government, the Independent Schools Council of Australia (ISCA), the National Catholic Education Commission, the Board chair and deputy chair. Members are appointed by the Commonwealth Minister for Education, subject to agreement by the ministerial council. 

During the reporting period, the appointment of three members ended, in accordance with section 18 of the ACARA Act. In line with sections 13 and 14 of the ACARA Act, the maximum of a six-year appointment of two of these members came to an end. There were three appointments to the Board during 2019–20.

Board membership   

Membership of the ACARA Board is established under section 13 of the ACARA Act. The ACARA Board held eight meetings during the 2019–20 reporting period.

Chair – Ms Belinda Robinson FAICD  

Ms Robinson has extensive experience as a company director on ASX-listed, not-for-profit and government boards, and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Ms Robinson is currently Non-executive Director of Online Education Services Ltd, and she chairs the boards of Western Sydney University Enterprises and the Cooperative Research Centres Association in addition to the Board of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. She is also Vice-president, University Relations and Strategy, at the University of Canberra.

Ms Robinson spent almost seven years as the chief executive of Universities Australia, the peak body representing Australia’s 39 comprehensive universities, and has 20 years’ experience as a CEO of peak industry representative bodies, prior to which she held executive positions in the departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Environment and Heritage. She was also a member of the government's International Education Coordinating Council and has held board and advisory positions with the CSIRO, the Institute for Minerals & Energy Resources and a range of government and community organisations. 

Qualifications held:  BA (UNE), MEnvLaw (ANU) 

Deputy Chair – Norm Hart 

Mr Hart is former president of the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA), appointed to APPA in January 2011. He began his teaching career on Palm Island, Queensland, in 1975 and was appointed as a primary school principal in 1978. Over a thirty-year period, Mr Hart led small one-teacher schools through to large schools with over 700 students. He has also held the positions of president of the Queensland Association of State School Principals and the Australian Government Primary Principals Association. Until his retirement on31 December2014 as APPA president, Mr Hart represented principals in government, Catholic and independent primary schools across Australia. 

Qualifications held: B Ed St, Dip Teach., M Ed, MAICD

Mr Allan Blagaich 

Mr Allan Blagaich is Executive Director, School Curriculum and Standards, Western Australia Department of Education, and nominee of the WA education minister.

Qualifications held: BA, Dip Ed

Ms Meg Brighton

Ms Meg Brighton is Deputy Director-General ACT Health Directorate, ACT Government, and nominee of the ACT education minister.

Qualifications held: BA, MCom
Appointed to the Board on 5 March 2020

Ms Susan Cameron 

Ms Susan Cameron is Executive Director, Learning Improvement, Department for Education, South Australia, and nominee of the SA education minister. 

Qualifications held: Dip.T., B.Ed. 
Appointment term ended 18 June 2020 (subsequently reappointed)

Ms Deb Efthymiades 

Ms Deb Efthymiades is Deputy Director-General, ACT Education Directorate, and nominee of the ACT education minister. 

Qualifications held: BEd, MEd, MIM
Appointment to the Board ended 7 November 2019

Ms Valerie Gould 

Ms Valerie Gould is Executive Director of the Association of Independent Schools, Western Australia, and nominee of the Independent Schools Council of Australia. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Council for Education Leadership (ACEL) and the Australian College of Educators (FACE). 

Qualifications held: BEc, DipEd
Appointment to the Board ended 18 June 2020

Mayor Michael Hewitson AM  

Mayor Michael Hewitson AM is an author and the retired foundation principal of Trinity College, Gawler, Mayor of Unley, South Australia, and nominee of the federal education minister. 

Qualifications held: BSc (Hons) Dip Ed B.Ed, FACE

Dr David Howes 

Dr David Howes is Deputy Secretary, Schools and Regional Services, Department of Education and Training, Victoria, and nominee of the Victorian education minister.  

Qualifications held: BA (Hons), Dip Ed, MEd, EMPA, PhD 

Mr Peter Kelly 

Mr Peter Kelly is the Deputy Director-General, State Schools at the Department of Education, Queensland, and nominee of the Queensland education minister. 

Qualifications held: B Ed, Dip Teach

Dr Sofia Kesidou

Dr Sofia Kesidou is Executive Director, Assessment Standards, NSW Education Standards Authority and nominee of the NSW education minister. 

Qualifications held: BSc (Hons), PhD
Appointed to the Board on 24 November 2019

Mr Tony Luttrell 

Mr Tony Luttrell is the Director, Strategic Data Management, Department of Education, Tasmania, and nominee of the Tasmanian education minister. 

Qualifications held: B Com., FCPA

Dr Neil McGoran

Dr Neil McGoran is Director of Catholic Education, South Australia, and nominee of the National Catholic Education Commission. 

Qualifications held: BA, GradDipEd, GradCertRE, MEd(Curric), EdD, MBA

Ms Leanne Nixon 

Ms Nixon is Deputy Chief Executive, Department of Education, Northern Territory, and nominee of the Northern Territory education minister. 

Qualifications held: BA, GradDipEd, MEdStudies
Appointed to the Board on 2 October 2019

Board member appointments  

Members 2019–20

Initial appointment starting

Appointment ending

Ms Belinda Robinson, FAICD,  

Chair 

3 August 2018 

3 August 2021 

Mr Norm Hart  

Deputy Chair  

24 May 2018 

24 May 2021 

Mr Allan Blagaich   

22 May 2018 

22 May 2021 

Ms Meg Brighton 

5 March 2020 

5 March 2023 

Ms Susan Cameron  

18 June 2017 

18 June 2020 

Ms Deb Efthymiades

22 November 2016 

7 November 2019 

Ms Valerie Gould  

7 July 2014 

18 June 2020  

Mayor Michael Hewitson AM  

7 July 2014 

30 November 2020 

Dr David Howes 

16 June 2015 

3 August 2021  

Mr Peter Kelly  

10 April 2019 

10 April 2022 

Dr Sophia Kesidou

24 November 2019 

24 November 2022 

Mr Tony Luttrell  

31 March 2019 

31 March 2022 

Dr Neil McGoran

22 May 2018 

22 May 2021 

Ms Leanne Nixon 

2 October 2019 

2 October 2022 

Meetings of the Board  

   Date

   Meeting

   Apologies

Location

5 July 2019 

83 

Belinda Robinson 

David Howes 

Level 13, Tower B, 280 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 2000  

23 August 2019 

84 

Neil McGoran

Level 13, Tower B, 280 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 2000  

18 October 2019 

85 

Nil 

Level 13, Tower B, 280 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 2000  

6 November 2019 

86 

Neil McGoran

Tele/videoconference 

4 December 2019 

87 

Nil 

Level 13, Tower B, 280 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 2000  

13 and 14 February 2020 

88 

Leanne Nixon 

Level 13, Tower B, 280 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 2000  

24 April 2020 

89 

Sophia Kesidou

David Howes 

Tele/videoconference 

11 June 2020 

90 

David Howes 

Tele/videoconference 

Committees of the Board  

Audit and Risk Committee 

The Audit and Risk Committee provides assurance and assistance to the ACARA Board on governance arrangements, financial reporting, systems of risk management, oversight of systems of internal control and performance monitoring. The Audit and Risk Committee Charter1 is published to ACARA’s website.

Audit and Risk Committee membership

ACARA’s Audit and Risk Committee comprises five–six members (including the chair), with a minimum of two members of the ACARA Board. During the reporting period, the Committee provided independent assurance and advice to the Board on ACARA’s governance, risk control and compliance framework, and financial statement responsibilities. In 2019–20, the Audit and Risk Committee met four times.   

The Audit and Risk Committee comprises:  

  • Mr Michael Hewitson AM (Committee Chair), BSc (Hons) Dip Ed B.Ed, FACE
  • Associate Professor Lisa Barnes (Deputy Chair and independent member), B.Ec, JP, FTIA, FCPA, MBA, DBA, GAICD, FTIA, FGIA, FCIA, CAANZ
  • Mr Norm Hart, B Ed St, Dip Teach., M Ed, MAICD  
  • Mr Gil Smith (independent member. Appointment to the committee ended 4September2019), BSc, CISA, CGEIT, MISACA, MIIA
  • Mr Dennis Clark (independent member), B Ec, Dip Ed, FCPA, FCA, FCIS, FGIA, FAICG (Dip), FAIM, MIIA (Aust), MIMC, MIPAA, MRMIA, MGRCI
  • Ms Leanne Nixon (appointment to the committee commenced 5 July 2019), BA, GradDipEd, MEdStudies.

1. https://acara.edu.au/docs/default-source/corporate-publications/audit-and-risk-committee-charter1.pdf

Audit and Risk Committee meetings  

Date

Meeting

Apologies

Location

13 August 2019 

Meeting 46 

Dennis Clark 

Level 13, 280 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 2000 

12 November 2019 

Meeting 47 

Leanne Nixon 

Level 13, 280 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 2000 

4 February 2020 

Meeting 48 

Level 13, 280 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 2000 

5 May 2020 

Meeting 49 

Tele/videoconference