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Liam Bartlett leaves Sixty Minutes
Liam Bartlett leaves Sixty Minutes

Sixty Minutes journalist Liam Bartlett is heading back to WA after a surprise resignation announcement this morning.

He told 6PR he was leaving Channel Nine's flagship current affairs program, where he had worked since 2006, for family reasons and would return to Perth.

“(It’s a) funny sort of job like that, it’s a fantastic gig but it’s really built for a 25 to 30-year-old who hasn’t got any responsibilities or anything to worry about,” Bartlett said.

“But when you’re that age you don’t have the experience or maturity to carry it off either.”

“So you don’t get picked till later on and when you do get a tap on the shoulder and by that time you have other people to worry about.”

Bartlett, whose career spans 25 years in print, radio and television, said he hoped for the sake of his colleagues that Channel Nine could avoid receivership.

There were unconfirmed reports last night that the Nine Network had staved off administration, with lenders agreeing on a debt-for-equity deal where two US hedge funds and investment bank Goldman Sachs will take a stake in the broadcaster.

Nine did not confirm the deal but the Australian Financial Review reported yesterday that the lenders had reached an agreement on the $3.3 billion debt that threatened to cripple the network when repayments fell due in early 2013.

Negotiations were expected to continue today.

“I just hope for the sake of people there, people left behind, that’s the entire staff, that’s a lot of people and a lot of families, that they can manage to get through these negotiations and not be sent into receivership because if they have to put an administrator in it will make it very tough on a lot of staff,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett has worked for the ABC and 6PR and as a columnist for The West Australian and The Sunday Times.

He told 6PR he was considering “a few options” for work back in Perth.

Channel Nine has been contacted for comment.