21 February 2024

New boss for National Capital Authority

| Chris Johnson
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Karen Doran has been named the new chief executive of the National Capital Authority. Photo: Supplied.

The Federal Government has named a new boss for the National Capital Authority, appointing Karen Doran to a five-year term as the NCA’s chief executive.

She will take up the role on 2 April, following the resignation of outgoing chief executive Sally Barnes, who leaves the role at the end of this month.

Ms Doran has extensive experience in public sector leadership, most recently as the acting director-general at Transport Canberra and City Services and as acting chief project officer at Major Projects Canberra.

She has worked across several directorates in the ACT Government, including Treasury, Health, and Justice and Community Safety.

The incoming chief executive said she was “honoured and excited” to take on the role.

“Canberra fulfils an important role as our national capital,” Ms Doran said.

“A historic legacy, which I respect and am committed to preserving while allowing this unique city to continue to grow and evolve for the benefit of all Australians.

“I look forward to fostering collaborative working relationships with stakeholders and productive engagement processes with our community.”

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The government is touting the appointment as heralding a new era for the NCA and the ACT.

Minister for Territories Kristy McBain said Ms Doran’s broad expertise in public sector governance will bring a fresh approach to the NCA’s critical role as trustee of the nation’s capital.

“The chief executive position of the NCA is central to how we safeguard Griffin’s vision as we grow the nation’s capital, which is why I’m excited that we’ve been able to attract someone with such calibre and experience to this role,” Ms McBain said.

“Karen Doran not only has a passion and understanding for what makes Canberra such a unique and extraordinary city, but she brings a wealth of experience in public sector leadership and governance that will underpin her success in forging a fresh direction for the NCA.

“Karen’s experience overseeing the roll-out of critical projects across the ACT will also ensure she’s well-positioned to collaborate with the ACT Government and other key stakeholders to progress the Australian Government’s priorities for the nation’s capital.

“I again want to thank Sally Barnes for her leadership and dedication to public service ahead of her departure on February 29, and I wish her every success for the next stage of her career.”

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The chief executive of the NCA is a full-time position and forms part of the authority’s board, along with the chair and three additional members, who are all appointed by the Governor-General on advice from the Federal Government.

NCA chair Terry Weber said the role of the NCA in supporting Canberra’s position as a national capital we can all be proud of is vitally important.

“The ACT is not only Australia’s seat of government, but is a symbol of the many aspirations, passions and values that make our country great,” Mr Weber said.

“Ms Doran will bring important rigour and leadership to the role, particularly around governance, financial management, government processes, procurement and project management – and I am sure, will represent the authority and our nation with distinction.”

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Look out NCA staff. I recall Karen from ACT Health days, and those were grim times.

Peter Graves5:06 pm 21 Feb 24

Thank you Minister McBain, for your welcome reference to safeguarding Walter Burley Griffin’s vision for Canberra. In its interpretation over the past decades, that vision has been sadly reduced.

Especially by such ignominious terminology as “the Canberra Bubble”. Used by those who have otherwise actively sought to be elected – by their constituents – to participate in governing this nation of Australia. To act in the national interest, for all Australians.

Our Capital Canberra was created explicitly to overcome colonial State rivalries and personal jealousies. I look forward to hearing the results of the 2023 “Inquiry into fostering and promoting the significance of Australia’s National Capital”, by the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories.

Peter Graves
Chair Canberra Chapter
Walter Burley Griffin Society

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