Board of Directors

Vice Regal Patrons



His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley, AC DSC (Ret'd), Governor-General of Australia, and Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley 




Vice Patron

Photo of Norman Rydge Mr Norman B Rydge, AM, OBE, was appointed Vice Patron of RIDBC on 24 June 2009. He was a Director from 1977-2009, and President from 1995-2009. He is a Life Governor.


David Dinte Mr David Dinte, BEc, LLB, MAICD, is a property developer with extensive experience in commercial, retail, industrial and residential development, acquisition and management in both Australia and the United States of America. Mr Dinte is a Director of South Cares. He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centres. Mr Dinte joined the Board in 2000, was appointed a Vice President in 2009 and is a Life Member.

Vice Presidents

Barbara Stone
Mrs Barbara Stone, AM, BA, DipEd, MEd, MAICD, FACE, FACEL Retired as Principal of MLC School in 2011. Mrs Stone is a former National Chair of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA), past State Chair, AHISA NSW/ACT, former President, Alliance of Girls’ Schools of Australasia. Current other Board directorships: Association of Independent Schools, NSW; Newington College, Stanmore. Mrs Stone joined the Board in 2002, was appointed a Vice President in 2012 and is a Life Member.
Peter van Dongen Mr Peter van Dongen, BComm (Acc), FCA, F Fin, GAICD, is Chairman of PwC Australia's Board of Partners and a Director of PwC Asia Pacific Ltd. Previously, Peter was the National Managing Partner of PwC Australia's assurance practice and a member of PwC Australia's Executive Board.  Peter has over 30 years’ experience in delivering assurance services to many of Australia's largest ASX-listed companies, predominantly in the financial services sector. Peter was until recently the Independent Auditor of the Australian National Audit Office, having been appointed by the Governor General to a fixed term to 1 January 2019. He is a board member of the European Australian Business Council. He joined the Board in November 2013 and was appointed a Vice President in 2018.


A/Prof Catherine Birman
Associate Professor Catherine Birman, MBBS, PhD, FRACS, GAICD, is an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and a number of other public and private hospitals. She has extensive experience in cochlear implant surgery and research in this area. She is the Medical Director of the SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, an RIDBC service.  She has been a past Chairman of the NSW division of the Australian Society of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, and past Secretary of the Australian and New Zealand Paediatric Otolaryngology Society. In 2017 she was awarded the New South Wales Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year and in 2018 was awarded the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Medal. A/Prof Birman joined the Board in 2011. 
A/Prof Catherine Birman Mr Charles M Cowper, BA, LLB, FAICD is a solicitor and former partner of national commercial law firms, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Gadens Lawyers . He is currently a Consultant to global law firm Dentons.  He is an acknowledged expert in mergers and acquisitions, corporate law and governance. He has held board positions in a range of for profit and for purpose organisations including in education, on the Council of Shore School and in disability, as a director of Royal Blind Society of New South Wales. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Mr Cowper joined the Board in May 2017.
Roger Gee
Mr Roger Gee, retired in 2006 from Qantas after a 41 year career with the airline. He retired as a 747-400 Senior Check Captain. He has been an active member of RIDBC's Qantas Pathfinders Auxiliary for more than 30 years. He instigated the Charity Flight, a very successful fundraising event, and piloted the Qantas Children’s Jumbo Joy Flight for many years. Mr Gee joined the Board in 2008 and is a Life Member of RIDBC.
Peter van Dongen
Mr Matt Pearce has an extensive career in media and events. He has worked in newspapers and magazines and for the last 15 years, events. He has strong mergers and acquisition experience and sits on a number of industry boards. He has been involved in hearing services in Victoria for the last 25 years, previously serving as Chairman and Board director for Taralye and Taralye Foundation. Mr Pearce joined the Board in 2018.

Integrity Statement


Good governance is essential to maintaining trust between RIDBC and its supporters, funding authorities and the families of the students.

RIDBC is a charitable human service organisation. Accordingly, its Board will aim to promote values and attitudes of service, integrity, frugality, consideration for individuals, accountability and personal responsibility.

What is required of Board Members:

  • Members of the Board shall be non-executive and unpaid and shall take no benefit whatsoever from their office and no member of RIDBC's staff may be appointed to the Board.
  • Criteria for Board membership are determined by the “Eligibility Guidelines” and relevant clauses in the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children Act and the by-laws.
  • The Board shall act at all times and in all matters in the best interests of RIDBC in conformity with its Act and by-laws.
  • Members of the Board have a duty to ensure that the management of RIDBC is competent, ethical and prudent and that it acts in the best interests of RIDBC.
  • Members of the Board shall at all times act honestly and in good faith in the exercise of their powers and the discharge of their duties of office.
  • Members of the Board have a duty to use due care and diligence in fulfilling the functions of office and in exercising the powers attached to that office.
  • Members of the Board should not engage in conduct likely to bring discredit upon RIDBC.
  • Board members shall not take improper advantage of their position nor allow personal, family or business interests to conflict with the interests of RIDBC.
  • The performance of any service or the supply of any article to RIDBC by a Board member for which compensation may be received requires the prior approval of the Board and subsequent disclosure to the members.


Members of the Board agree to be bound by this Integrity Statement. New appointees to the Board will be required to agree to be bound by the Integrity Statement. Any member of the Board finding herself / himself unable to meet or to continue to meet the requirements of the Integrity Statement must offer to resign from the Board.

Guidelines to appoint Board Members:

Prospective appointees to the Board of Directors must:

  • Be, or be prepared to become, members of RIDBC in accord with the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children Act.
  • Have sympathy with, and be prepared to contribute to, RIDBC's purposes and objectives.
  • Have abilities and skills, which would be of use to RIDBC.
  • Be compatible with and prepared to work with existing members of the Board.
  • Have a range of personal and/or professional contacts from various fields of endeavour who would be of potential benefit to RIDBC.
  • Have an understanding of the duties and responsibilities of a Board member.

Performance by Self Appraisal

In order to ensure that the Board is constituted so as to properly discharge its duties to the members, staff and clients of RIDBC, Board members agree that periodically they will undertake a performance appraisal by self-analysis. 

This requires the completion and signing of a questionnaire, signifying continued agreement to be bound by the requirements of the Code of Conduct. A copy of the questionnaire can be found here