EREA Council

The Council of Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) is the body ultimately responsible for the governance of EREA. It is made up of five persons who, in civil law, together constitute “Trustees of Edmund Rice Education Australia”. This is the “body corporate” which owns and operates the works that make up EREA. In Church law, the members of Council together constitute a PJP – a “public juridic person of pontifical right”. As a PJP, EREA has a formal status in the Catholic Church and is commissioned to continue and develop the education ministries inspired by Edmund Rice and initiated by the Christian Brothers in Australia.

Roles and Responsibilities of EREA Council

The EREA Council understands its responsibilities in relation to three key roles: Prophetic, Custodial and Relational.

The Prophetic role: to ensure that the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice is expressed in ways that are relevant to our times and faithful to the ministry of Catholic education, particularly as part of the mission of the Church in continuing the work of Jesus Christ. The Council thus oversees the mission and formation of EREA.

The Custodial role: to ensure that the works of EREA are carried out in accordance with the Gospel tradition and the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice, and with its canonical Statutes, its civil Constitution, and the responsibilities entailed therein. The Council is the proprietor of the schools and approves the establishment or termination of schools and learning centres. The Council appoints the EREA Board and delegates to it certain responsibilities related to the management and strategic direction of EREA.

The Relational role: to witness to and facilitate collaborative relationships within EREA and in relationship with the wider Church and community, and with Church authorities in particular.

Members of the EREA Council
Paul Oakley 150x150
Br Paul Oakley cfc
Brother Paul Oakley has served as the Chair of the Council and President of EREA since 2007. Paul was Principal of a number of schools in NSW from 1982-1996 and then served on the Christian Brothers leadership team in NSW. From 2000 he was also a member of the planning committees that led to the establishment of EREA. Paul has served on various Church bodies including the NSW Catholic Education Commission and is currently Board Chair of both the Association of Ministerial Public Juridic Persons and the Federation of Religious Institute and Public Juridical Person Catholic School Authorities in NSW/ACT.
Phil Billington 150x150
Ms Philomena (PhiL) Billington
(Deputy President)
Ms Philomena (Phil) Billington was appointed to EREA Council in July 2018. Phil is a recognised educator, leader and facilitator across Australia, having taught and held leadership in a number of remote, rural and city schools, and then having held positions of responsibility for Catholic Education at Diocesan level. Phil has served as Coordinator of Religious Education for the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese, then as Deputy Director and later Director of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Sandhurst. Phil now offers consultancy services for leaders in Catholic Education across the nation, especially in rural dioceses. She is passionate about and committed to providing pro bono support for young people living with disability, encouraging growth towards a more inclusive Church and society, and parish and diocesan pastoral development.
Kathy Freeman 150x150
Ms Kathy Freeman
Ms Kathy Freeman took up her role as a member of EREA Council at the start of 2017 and in 2018 she was appointed Treasurer. Kathy had been a principal for nineteen years, including ten years as principal of two EREA schools, St Edmund’s College and St Gabriel’s School. Kathy has been a member of the Australian Council of Educational Leaders. In 2015 she received an ACEL Leadership Award and the International Paul Harris Fellowship Award. She has been an advocate across government and non-government organisations for students with a disability and their families.
Graham Goerke 150x150
Mr Graham Goerke
Mr Graham Goerke was a senior partner at law firm Jackson McDonald until December 2015 and has over 30 years' experience in commercial law. He Chaired the Jackson McDonald board for 10 years. He was the Board Chair of Edmund Rice Education Australia; a member of the Council of National Trust WA; and a Director on the Australian Council of National Trusts.
David White 150x150
Mr David White
Mr David White was appointed to EREA Council in July 2017. David was the founding CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Australia. He has been Chair of Sisters of Charity Community Care, the National Program Manager for Ladder Australia, Chair of the Churchill Fellowship Foundation Community Services Panel, Board Member of Marillac House, and a Council Member of the Australian Youth Mentoring Framework. David’s three sons attended an EREA school. A South Australian by birth, David is now based in Alice Springs, assisting his wife in her work as a remote area nurse.

Plenary Council 2020: 

Association of Ministerial PJPs: 

For more information contact or phone 03 9426 3200

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