Tim Costello AO

Tim Costello joined World Vision Australia in 2004. He served as CEO from 2004-2016 and now serves as Chief Advocate.

Tim is one of Australia’s most sought-after voices on social justice issues, leadership and ethics, having spearheaded public debates on gambling, urban poverty, homelessness, reconciliation and substance abuse. He has been instrumental in ensuring that the issues surrounding global poverty are on the national agenda.

Prior to joining World Vision Australia Tim served as Minister at the Collins Street Baptist Church in Melbourne and as Executive Director of Urban Seed, a Christian not-for-profit outreach service for the urban poor. Between 1999 and 2002 he was also National President of the Baptist Union of Australia. After ordination as a Baptist Minister in 1984, Tim established a vibrant and socially active ministry at St Kilda Baptist Church between 1986 and 1994. In 1993, he was elected Mayor of St Kilda.

In 2004, Tim was named Victorian of the Year; in June 2005 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO); and in 2006 he was named Victoria’s Australian of the Year.

Tim currently serves as Chair on the Community Council of Australia, the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce and National Australia Bank’s Social Responsibility Advisory Council. He has also served on numerous boards and committees, including the Alcohol Education and Research Foundation, the Australian National Development Index, Business for Millennium Development, the Australian Council for International Development and as co-chair of Make Poverty History. Tim was a delegate to the 1998 Constitutional Convention and chaired the Communities and Families stream at the Australia 2020 summit held in 2008.

Tim first studied law and education at Monash University, followed by theology at the International Baptist Seminary Rueschlikon, Switzerland, and a Masters in Theology at the Melbourne College of Divinity.

After ordination as a Baptist Minister in 1984, Tim established a vibrant and socially active ministry at St Kilda Baptist Church between 1986 and 1994. In 1993 he demonstrated his commitment to serving the community by successfully running for Mayor of St Kilda, a position he held until the State Government disbanded councils shortly afterwards.

He founded Urban Seed, a not-for-profit Christian outreach service for the urban poor. Between 1999 and 2002 he was National President of the Baptist Union of Australia.

He was appointed Chairman of the National Australia Bank’s community advisory council, a member of the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation, and Chairman of the Community Council for Australia, a peak body for the Not For Profit sector.

From 1995 to 2004 Mr Costello was Minister at Collins Street Baptist Church and Executive Director of Urban Seed, a not-for-profit Christian outreach service for the urban poor.

He has written several books including Streets of Hope: Finding God in St Kilda; Tips from a Travelling Soul Searcher and Wanna Bet? Winners and Losers in Gambling’s Luck Myth (which was co-written with Royce Millar).

Mr Costello and his wife of 25 years, Merridie, have three adult children, Claire, Elliot and Martin.