19 October 2023

Sally Barnes makes 'big life decision' to resign as chief executive of the National Capital Authority

| Lizzie Waymouth
Join the conversation
Sally Barnes

Sally Barnes will step down from her role as chief executive of the NCA on 29 February 2024. Photo: File.

Sally Barnes has announced she will resign as chief executive of the National Capital Authority (NCA) in February 2024.

In an email to staff seen by Region, Ms Barnes said she had made a “big life decision” to step down from the position after six years.

“I have decided to step down from full-time work and from being your chief executive from 29 February 2024. On that day I will leap into the next phase of my life. I am not entirely sure what that looks like yet but I do know I want time and space to explore other interests and ideas,” she said.

“I love working with all of you and I am so proud to say I work for the National Capital Authority.

“That was clear again last night as Adam Robbins staffed our NCA stall at the Capital Region expo in Parliament House. Here we joined national cultural institution colleagues, tour operators and local food and beverage outlets to profile Canberra and surrounds to politicians, their staffers, the media and Parliament House workers. There was such a great buzz amongst the over 300 attendees and so much pride in the collective work we do.

“There was a beautiful light on my drive home. The Carillon was blue but looked great, the lake glistened, the International Flag Display was magnificent and Commonwealth Avenue Bridge looked spectacular against the pink and purple sky.

“I stopped at the reconfigured parking arrangement at Blundells Cottage and checked out progress of the new kiosk and smiled at the pedestrian and cycle paths, knowing we will finish the plan to increase the separation of paths at Kings Park and improve the visitor experience this financial year.

“There will be lots of time between now and the end of February to tell stories and collectively smile. There’s lots to do as well … I look forward to continuing to work with you on a range of projects before I go.”

READ ALSO Committee approves $137.5 million Commonwealth Bridge upgrade, but concerns remain

In a statement released on Thursday (19 October), Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories Kristy McBain thanked Ms Barnes for her work at the helm of the institution responsible for developing and maintaining the national capital and Canberra’s unique cultural significance.

“Under Ms Barnes’ leadership, the NCA has delivered on a range of significant projects that continue to lift the prominence of the nation’s capital and directly benefit the community,” Ms McBain said.

“These include the Lake Burley Griffin Wall Renewal Program and upgrades to the Merchant Navy War Memorial. Work is also underway on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge upgrade and the Scrivener Dam Dissipator Strengthening project.

“Ms Barnes also led the installation of several commemorative statues, such as the Dame Dorothy Tangney and Dame Enid Lyons sculptures, that help to remind us of the rich history of our capital.

“I would like to thank Ms Barnes for her leadership and dedication to public service and wish her every success for the next stage of her career.”

NCA chair Terry Weber also thanked Ms Barnes for her work over the past six years.

“During her tenure, Ms Barnes has demonstrated passion and commitment in delivering important projects that helped nurture Canberra’s future,” he said.

“The Authority would like to thank Ms Barnes for her significant contributions and wish her the best in her next role.”

READ ALSO Look who’s in contention to be the ACT’s Australian of the Year

Ms Barnes previously held positions as the director of National Parks at Parks Australia and CEO of the Office of Environment and Heritage in the NSW Government.

She was awarded the Australian Capital Territory Excellence in Women’s Leadership Award in 2017 in recognition of her contributions towards the advancement of gender equality across Australia.

Ms Barnes will step down from her role on 29 February 2024.

The government has said it will appoint a new chief executive of the NCA in due course.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
Stephen Saunders5:52 am 20 Oct 23

Ms Barnes has been perfectly adorable, on boutique planning issues, seaplanes and statues. When it came to the light rail upgrade, she just threw one log after another under the wheels. Gosh, one must be careful of the “sight lines”.

Bonne chance et meilleurs voeux!

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.