Biography

Commissioner Fitzgerald is currently on leave from the Productivity Commission, where he has been serving as a fulltime Commissioner since January 2004. Prior to his appointment to the Productivity Commission, Commissioner Fitzgerald was the Community and Disability Services Commissioner and Deputy Ombudsman in New South Wales.

Commissioner Fitzgerald has a diverse background and extensive experience in commerce, law, public policy and community services, including extensive involvement in numerous not-for-profit agencies.

Background

Commissioner Fitzgerald practiced as a commercial lawyer in NSW for more than 20 years, including with the firm Clayton Utz, and established his own law practice specialising in franchising, licensing and trade practices. During that time he was also engaged as a senior management consultant at 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 from 1999 to 2003. Commissioner Fitzgerald 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.

Boards and committees

The Australian Government appointed Commissioner Fitzgerald to Chair the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Advisory Board for three years in 2012. For more than 30 years he has also been involved in a voluntary capacity in numerous community services.

Commissioner Fitzgerald has previously been a Commissioner on several inquiries and studies.

  • Regulation Impact Analysis: Benchmarking
  • Early Childhood Development Sector
  • Caring for Older Australians (2011)
  • Gambling (2009)
  • Australia’s Consumer Policy Framework
  • Australia’s Health Workforce
  • Australia’s Gambling Industries (1999)
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Contribution of the Not for Profit Sector
  • Executive Remuneration
  • National Competition Policy Arrangements
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Smash Repair and Insurance Industries
  • Standards and Accreditation

Other affiliations

  • 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, Member NSW Catholic Commission on Employment Relations, Patron Catalyst for Renewal and Patron MacKillop Family Services
  • Board Director – Peer Support Foundation, Families Australia, Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies, Online Catholics, Foyer Foundation. NSW Council of Social Service

In addition, Commissioner Fitzgerald previously 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.

Qualifications

Commissioner Fitzgerald 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 received an honorary appointment as Adjunct Professor at that University.

Action taken since appointment

As a result of his appointment as a Commissioner of the Royal Commission, Commissioner Fitzgerald has resigned from his voluntary positions with the following organisations:

  • Foyer Foundation
  • ACU Community Engagement Advisory Committee
  • QUT Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies Advisory Board
  • Catalyst for Renewal
  • MacKillop Family Services
  • Board of the Benevolent Society