Natalie James is the Secretary of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations – commencing her role on 11 July 2022. She is driven by a desire to ensure Australians have access to secure and meaningful work, addressing the gap for First Nations Australians and women.
Natalie is a workplace relations expert with over twenty years’ experience. Prior to commencing her role as Secretary of the department, Natalie was a Partner at Deloitte Australia where she established the firm’s Workplace Integrity practice to help businesses develop data-driven, risk informed solutions to their workplace relations challenges.
Natalie was appointed as the Fair Work Ombudsman in July 2013 for a period of five years. She led the organisation’s work supporting employees and businesses understand their entitlements and obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009.
Between 2000 and 2013, Natalie held various roles in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, including State Manager Victoria and Chief Counsel Workplace Relations.
Her achievements include leading the development of workplace relations laws, including the Fair Work Act, and supporting successive governments to reform workplace relations legislation. Natalie also oversaw critical policy-based interventions in the courts, including the High Court challenge to the Work Choices laws, and provided legal and policy advice within Government.