Throughout her career, Elizabeth Crouch never thought about receiving an honorary title.
Now, she has been recognised for her significant contribution to the public and private sector by her appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday 2019 Honours List.
Awarded by the former Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, appointment to the Order of Australia confers the highest recognition “for outstanding achievement and service,” according to the Australian government.
Elizabeth’s appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia comes as a result of her significant service to higher education, and to the rail transport industry.
Elizabeth Crouch’s early career was served with the federal government culminating in her appointment to the senior officer ranks in 1996 before being recruited as NSW Chief Executive and Executive Director of the Housing Industry Association (HIA) from 1998 to 2007. Elizabeth now serves on a variety of boards in both the public and private sectors including as a member of the Diocese of Parramatta’s Finance Council.
Elizabeth served on the Council of Macquarie University from 2001 to 2018 and was awarded the title of Emeritus Deputy Chancellor of the University upon her retirement in June 2018. She also served as Chair of RailCorp from 2009 to 2010 and from 2007 to 2010 was the Chair of the NSW Public Transport Ticketing Corporation delivering the OPAL system to NSW.
She continues her service to the people of NSW through Board appointments to Western Sydney Local Health District, Health Infrastructure and the NSW Institute of Sport. She also Chairs the Boards of the Customer Owned Banking Association and SGS Economics and Planning and is a Non-Executive Director on ReadyTech Holdings.
“It’s an unexpected, but great honour to receive an AM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list,” Elizabeth told Catholic Outlook.
“You never really think about those sorts of things when you serve in public life, whether it’s on the Council of a University as I did for 17 years, or through working with public entities or corporations delivering services to the people of NSW.
“I could speculate on who kindly nominated me, but I may never know for certain,” Elizabeth observed. “I am very grateful for the honour bestowed upon me and for the effort made by my nominator to make this recommendation.
“One of the first people who congratulated me at 4.43am in the morning on the day the awards were announced was the former Deputy Premier of NSW, the Honourable John Watkins. John was the NSW Education Minister who originally nominated me to the University Council in 2001, so I will be forever in his debt for providing me with the opportunity to serve the University for all those years,” she said.
Due to her former role as Chief Executive at HIA, Elizabeth was approached to join the Diocese of Parramatta’s Property Committee, which led to her appointment on the Diocesan Finance Council.
“Mr Alan Zammit, Chair of the Diocesan Property Committee, had approached me originally. I’m a parishioner [at St Michael’s Parish Baulkham Hills], and given my building and construction background, it was a logical fit to look at the Property Committee.
“After meeting the Bishop, this appointment transformed into a seat on the Diocesan Finance Council. It is a great honour to be sitting around this Council with talented people who are all working to enhance the operation and services provided by the diocese,” she explained.
“It’s a privilege to work alongside Elizabeth on the Council,” Geoff Officer, Chief of Operations & Finance, Diocese of Parramatta said. “She brings great insight and a depth of expertise that supports our decision making for the future sustainability of the diocese.”
Elizabeth believes that her attitude of service in her various capacities will not change on having become an AM.
“I’ll continue to serve in public life in the way that I always have,” she said. “It’s in my DNA.
“I come from a long line of people who have had a commitment to service.
“I would like to thank my colleagues at the University for their support over the years, and to my colleagues at RailCorp for the many years that they have worked in delivering safe and reliable services to the people of NSW.”
Elizabeth will formally receive her award during a ceremony at the NSW Government House later in the year.