Natalie James

Partner | Deloitte Australia | Melbourne

Natalie James is a workplace relations expert with over twenty years’ experience. She leads Deloitte’s Workplace Integrity practice, helping businesses develop data-driven, risk informed solutions to their workplace relations challenges and opportunities.
She brings deep expertise and insights into helping companies identify and resolve compliance risks, reduce complexity and build fit for purpose, compliant and sustainable workplace practices. She advises on strategies for managing contingent workforce issues and conduct issues in broader networks and outsourced supply chains.
Natalie was the Chair of the Victorian Government’s Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce, producing a report in July 2020 which made groundbreaking recommendations about the frameworks regulating the gig economy.
Prior to her role at Deloitte, Natalie was the Fair Work Ombudsman, leading Australia’s national workplace relations regulator, from July 2013 – July 2018. In this role she was CEO of a national organisation of 800 people and led the organisation’s work in supporting employees and businesses understand and act on their entitlements and obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009.
Natalie led the development of workplace relations laws, including the Fair Work Act, as Chief Counsel in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. In her ten years working for the Federal government in workplace relations, she supported both Coalition and Labor governments to develop and support the passage of workplace relations legislation, 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.
Natalie has also led the delivery of government employment, education and childcare programs in Victoria as the Manager of the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations’ Victorian office.
Natalie has also carried out a range of other roles within the Australian Public and Parliamentary Services including at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Natalie has a Bachelor of Arts Law (James Cook University) and a Masters in Law (Commercial – Labour Law) Australian National University). She is a Fellow of the Institute of Company Directors.
She was named National Small Business Champion by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia for 2018 for her work supporting small business understand and comply with their workplace obligations.