Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The News comes in from the cold

Acting general manager Brian Barrett, left, speaking at last
month's Derwent Valley Council meeting.
THE Derwent Valley Council's blacklisting of the New Norfolk News has been reversed by acting general manager Brian Barrett.

Late last month, the council said it did not recognise the New Norfolk News as a media outlet and would not respond to its requests for information for publication.

"Information requests that don’t come from an official media outlet will be denied and the requestor encouraged to attend council meetings and ask their questions as part of Public Question Time," a council spokesperson said at the time.

However in a phone call to journalist Damian Bester late last week, it was confirmed that the latest acting general manager had since reviewed the council's position in relation to media requests.

"As long as the requestor is an accredited journalist the information requested will be provided, notwithstanding the usual privacy, closed meeting and commercial-in-confidence considerations," the spokesperson said in a follow-up email.

Mr Barrett is in his third week as acting general manager and is the third person to fill that role while general manager Greg Winton has been on medical leave. He has so far been in the chair next to mayor Ben Shaw at two open meetings and two closed meetings.

Mr Barrett is the former general manager of the Marrickville Council in New South Wales which in 2016 was forcibly merged with two neighbouring councils. He impressed many in the public gallery at the November 21 Derwent Valley Council meeting by personally introducing himself and shaking hands with those present.

This week's issue of the Derwent Valley Gazette reports that Mr Winton is back at work today. The New Norfolk News understands this is not the case.


  1. How refreshing to finally have some sense being enacted at council management level! Good luck with the continuation of the standards Mr Barrett.

  2. Trust its a sign of the times with more engagement from senior executives who act on behalf of ratepayers

  3. Excellent observation & if you please I would like to contribute this...

    Open and honest dialogue between everyone is essential.

    It’s important to lay solid foundations of trust, loyalty,
    and collaboration.