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Robert Fitzgerald AM

Special Adviser

Robert Fitzgerald AM was appointed as a Commissioner from January 2004 to April 2019, and is currently a Special Adviser. Robert has a diverse background and extensive experience in commerce, law, public policy and community services. Prior to being appointed to the Commission, Robert was the Community and Disability Services Commissioner and Deputy Ombudsman in NSW.

Robert is currently working on the inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans.

He has previously been a Commissioner on the following inquiries and studies:

He was also the convenor of the Indigenous Disadvantage Working Group of the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision which produces the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators report and the working group for the Indigenous Expenditure Report until 2013.

The Australian Government appointed Robert as a Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, from 2013 to 2017, and he took leave from the Productivity Commission for the duration of the Royal Commission. He was also appointed to Chair the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Advisory Board for three years from 2012.

Robert practiced as a commercial lawyer in NSW for over 20 years, including with the firm Clayton Utz, and established his own law practice specialising in franchising, licensing and trade practices. During that same time he was engaged as a senior management consultant, including with Horwath Accountants and Management Consultants (now Deloitte), as well as holding senior executive positions with a number of private trading companies.

His involvement in public policy has been extensive and includes serving as a member of the National Competition Council for five years (1999–2003). Robert was Chair of the Commonwealth Taskforce on Franchising Regulation, Chair of the Franchising Code Administration Council, member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Social Security and member of the Commonwealth Inquiry into the Definition of Charities and Related Organisations.

For more than 30 years he has also been involved in a voluntary capacity in numerous community services, including:

  • President – Australian Council of Social Service
  • Chair – National Roundtable of Nonprofit Organisations
  • State President – St Vincent de Paul Society (NSW)
  • Chair – JOB futures Ltd (a national network of community job market providers)
  • National Committee Member – Caritas Australia
  • Board Director – Families Australia, the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies, Foyer Foundation, NSW Council of Social Service and Benevolent Society.

Currently Robert is a Board Director of Social Ventures Australia.

In addition, Robert served on a number of university advisory boards, including the Queensland University of Technology's Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies Advisory Board, the Australian Catholic University Community Engagement Advisory Committee and the University of Sydney Law School Advisory Board.

Robert holds degrees in commerce and law from the University of NSW. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1994, is a recipient of the Centenary medal, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Australian Catholic University in 2001. He also held an honorary appointment as Adjunct Professor at that University concluding 2013.

Robert Fitzgerald AM

Robert Fitzgerald AM - Special Adviser