New Barwon Water chair

Media release issued Tuesday 6 September 2011

Prominent businessman and community leader Michael King has been appointed Chair of Barwon Water.

Dr King is Managing Director of Kings Australia funeral services, deputy chair of St Laurence Community Services and a Board member of the National Small Business Advisory Committee, Gordon Institute of TAFE and Anam Cara Hospice.

The former deputy Mayor of Geelong has more than 30 years experience in management and leadership roles and holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters and Doctorate of Business Administration.

His appointment was announced today by the Minister for Water, Peter Walsh.

Dr King replaces current chair Roger Lowrey, who did not seek re-appointment, and will take up the two-year post on October 1.

Dr King is one of four new Directors appointed to Barwon Water's Board.

The others are City of Greater Geelong councillor and former Mayor Dr Stretch Kontelj, strategic communications specialist Suzie Batten and Colac identity David Harris (please see below).

They will join Managing Director Michael Malouf and current Directors John Bugg, Jodi Heath and Hugh Gleeson.

Dr King said he was honoured by the appointment and welcomed the opportunity to further serve the regional community.

"I am highly conscious of the Board's corporate responsibilities, its strategic direction and the need to address the expectations of customers and the wider community.

"The new Directors will bring to Barwon Water considerable business skills and community experience as well as wide regional representation. This will complement the knowledge and expertise of the Board and management," Mr King said.

Mr Lowrey congratulated Dr King and the three new Directors and urged them to continue the focus on water security, service delivery and innovation.

"Barwon Water has never been in a better position," Mr Lowrey said.

"Record investment in new and replacement infrastructure, a major commitment to recycling and the pursuit of innovative solutions to future water needs will ensure the corporation meets growth and development.

"I leave the corporation comfortable and confident in the knowledge that the new Board, management and employees will continue to serve the various communities right across the Barwon region."

Mr Lowrey also thanked outgoing Directors John McDonald and Diane James.

Mr McDonald served as Deputy Chairman, chairman of the Audit and Risk Management Committee and was a member of the Executive Remuneration Committee. Ms James was chair of the Capital Works Committee and a member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Mr Lowrey said both played a lead role in Board discussions and decisions and were committed to sustainability and environment leadership.

"I thank them for their contribution and support and wish them well in their future endeavours," he added.


Dr Michael King is the Managing Director of Kings (funeral services) Australia (1983 - current) and has an extensive background in the public sector.  He is a member of the Gordon Institute of TAFE (2003 - current), the commonwealth's Small Business Advisory Committee (2010 - current), chair of T20 Regional Victoria (Geelong) Ltd (2010 - current) and deputy chair of St Laurence Community Services (2008 - current).  Dr King has a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Doctorate of Business Administration and Diploma, Australian Institute of Company Directors.  

Ms Suzie Batten is self employed as the Principal of Batten Communications (2005 - current) specialising in strategic communications to support financial transactions, corporate positioning and issues management.  Ms Batten was a founding Director of Hinton & Associates, financial public relations specialists (1996 - 2005).  She is a Board member of the Ski Club of Victoria, ambassador of SecondBite Inc. distributing surplus fresh food and produce to agencies and people in need and a committee member of the Barwon Valley Pony Club.  Ms Batten has a Bachelor of Commerce, Diploma of Applied Finance, is a Chartered Accountant and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.

Mr David Harris is self employed as the Managing Director of Budget Furnishings Pty Ltd in Colac since 1984.  He is an elected non-executive Director of Retravision Southern Pty Ltd since 2006.  Mr Harris has been active in the local community, being a former member of the Rotary Club since 1984. Mr Harris has an Advanced Diploma of Business Management and Master of Commerce and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Stretch Kontelj is the Legal Director Asia/Pacific for Specsavers Optometry Group and a councillor for the City of Greater Geelong since 1998, serving as Mayor in 2002 - 03.  He is also a Specialist Reserve Legal Officer with the RAAF since 2002.  Dr Kontelj previously held senior roles of General Legal Counsel, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager with Sportsco between 2004 - 2008.  Dr Kontelj has practised law for more than 20 years and has undergraduate degrees in economics and law, masters in commercial law and business administration and graduate diplomas in corporate governance, military law and notarial practice.  Dr Kontelj has a long history of community involvement, particularly in supporting ethnic communities for which he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2001 in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.  In 2003, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to local government.


All appointments are for two years, to September 30, 2013.