Andrew Burnett advises clients in the, manufacturing, mining and metals, local government, oil and gas, transport and logistics industries on strategic human resources and industrial relations, and workplace safety.

    With some 35 years of experience in workplace law, Andrew has assisted government and private employers on managing legal, commercial and reputational risks associated with employment, industrial relations and safety.

    Andrew advises on compliance with corporate employment law and negotiation and drafting of employment contracts. With a sound understanding of relevant legislation and regulation, Andrew assists clients in implementing training, compliance, prevention and risk management strategies to minimise the occurrence and impact of OHS incidents.

    As an experienced litigator, Andrew leads litigation in major tribunals and courts including Fair Work Australia, the State Administrative Tribunal, district and supreme courts in Western Australia (WA), the Federal Magistrates Court and the Federal Court.

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    • Conducting a number of investigations and inquiries, mainly concerning employment and disciplinary issues, for both public and private sector clients.


    • Advised the senior executive group at WA's largest energy company on the effect of mergers and takeovers on employment contracts.
    • Advising a national retailer on various employment issues including a dispute concerning the redundancy policy and severance benefits payable to managerial employees, the termination of employment relating to incapacity as a result of a work related injury and termination where an employee concealed an injury and workers' compensation issues when seeking employment.
    • Provided ongoing advice to the receiver of a publicly listed agricultural company regarding employment issues in NSW and WA, including strategies to avoid entitlement claims on the sale of branches in NSW and WA.
    • Drafting employment contracts at senior executive level for both local and international companies.
    • Advising two WA metropolitan local governments in the context of serious disputation between the executive officers and the councilors with particular reference to employment contracts, unlawful termination and damages.
    • Acting for tertiary education entity in the disputed termination of employment of its leadership team; ongoing strategic advice leading to commercial resolution.


    • As a registered migration agent and lawyer, Andrew frequently advised inbound companies on all aspects of employment in Australia, including the preparation of contracts, obtaining Standard Business Sponsorship and understanding long stay visa and sponsorship obligations.
    • Provided advice on standard business sponsorship for a Chinese company and obtaining work visa for senior finance executive.
    • Advised a construction services company on implementation of industrial relation strategies and migration law strategies to deal with significant inbound labour requirements.
    • Assisted individuals to acquire residence in Australia in the Significant Investor and Business Talent visa streams.

    Industrial Relations

    • Advising on the strategy and legal compliance issues in relation to the major restructuring of a public sector agency when it was abolished and reformed after a merger with other statutory bodies.  Involved in all aspects of the transfer of employees, contractual entitlements and the issue of arranging a smooth transition.
    • Advising on dismissal and entitlement claims, union access and industrial bargaining at all levels.
    • Strategic and tactical involvement on the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry.
    • Conducted complex due diligence on all aspects of industrial relations, employment law and occupational safety and health for a major mining company.  Also provided tactical and strategic advice to the company on its IR strategy at completion and the way forward.
    • Providing strategic advice on industrial relations and employment issues to two significant health sector employees in WA.
    • Involved in all employment law, industrial relations and safety aspects of two major due diligence exercises in which international resources companies sought to purchase the business of a WA resources company.
    • Industrial relations advice to a manufacturer concerning bargaining period, industrial action and lockouts in negotiations for an enterprise agreement.

    Workplace Health and Safety (WHS)

    • Advised two major mining companies in relation to occupational safety and health under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act, and advising on industrial relations strategy in light of WA's state industrial relations system and the federal system.  Also advised on the issue of labour hire versus direct employment, which focuses on the distinctions between contractors and employees.
    • Preparation of the occupational safety and health section of the Intranet Guide for all employees of a major energy company, involving the consideration of laws and regulations for Western Australia, Victoria, Northern Territory and the Commonwealth.
    • Preparation of study materials and delivery of training courses in safety for construction companies in the resources sector, including on-site training.
    • Assisting client operating subsea to set aside, in contested proceedings, a Prohibition Notice issued by National Offshore Petroleum and Environment Agency (NOPSEMA).
    • Conducting desktop audit of the safety management systems, policies and procedures for US-based construction company in the oil and gas sector and making recommendations for due diligence defence and strategy for upgrade and ongoing maintenance of internal systems.


    • University of Natal, LL.M., 1984
    • University of Oxford, M.A., 1978
    • University of South Africa, LL.B., 1976
    • Rhodes Scholar, Oxford, 1970
    • Rhodes University, B.A., 1969


    • Western Australia, 2001
    • South Africa, 1977
    • High Court of Australia
    • Supreme Court of Western Australia

    Memberships and Affiliations

    • Board Member and Chair of Corporate Governance, Diabetes WA
    • Member, Law Society of Western Australia
    • Graduate Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors


    • English
    • Afrikaans
    • Dutch
    • Recognised by Best Lawyers in Australia in Labour and Employment Law since 2013
    • Recognised by Best Lawyers Australia 2016 for Labour and Employment Law
    • Recognised by Best Lawyers Australia 2013-2015 for Occupational Health and Safety Law
    • Lawyers Weekly finalist in The Pro Bono Award 2013
    • Nominated for recognition of exceptional performance by the Lawyers Weekly 2013 Australian Law Awards

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    • Safety Training Workbook prepared for Kiewit Australia Pty Ltd, March 2015.
    • When disaster strikes – Anecdotes & Lessons learned from safety Incidents, 26 November 2014.
    • Safety Training Manual for Fluor Australia Pty Ltd, June 2013.
    • “Drafting Transparent and Enforceable Social Media Policies”, HR Law Masterclass, 18 April 2013.
    • “Global Mobility”, seminar, 17 April 2013.
    • Jimblebar Mine and Port Hedland Inner Harbour Project Safety Training Manual for FAST JV, August 2012.
    • “Navigating the Growing Area of Social Networking Cases”, Akolade’s Workplace Law Fundamentals, 26 March 2012.
    • “OSH Harmonization”, Legalwise seminar, 2 June 2011.
    • “New IR laws for HR Managers”, conference, 24 March 2011.
    • “Appropriate Workplace Behaviour”, seminar, 10 March 2011.
    • “Employment Law Issues for Schools in 2010”, Legalwise seminar, 2 June 2010.
    • “Executive Remuneration in Australia”, Chartered Secretaries of Australia, 25 May 2010.
    • “Key Developments in Workplace Bargaining”, Legalwise seminar, 30 March 2010.
    • “Workplace Safety in the context of the Fair Work Act”, Australasian Oil and Gas Conference, 24 March 2010.
    • “Performance Managing Unwell Employees”, CPDS Seminar, 26 May 2009.
    • “The New Workplace Laws effective 1 July 2009 – Implications for Employers”, Tonkin Corporation seminar, 5 May 2009.
    • “Fair Work Bill 2008 (Cth) Workshop”, VDM Group Limited, 26 February 2009.
    • “Employment Law Update – Forward with Fairness”, CPDS Seminar, 29 July 2008.
    • “Collective Bargaining and Industrial Relations”, Legalwise seminar on 10 April 2008.
    • “Rio Tinto Iron Ore Expansion Projects”, HSE Forum for Rio Tinto, 12 September 2007.
    • “Risk Management in the Workplace”, City of Perth, 5 September 2007.
    • “Managing Occupational Health and Safety – Current Legislation and Personal Liability”, Legalwise Mining Law Seminar, 2 May 2007.
    • “Making Work Choices Work”, CPA Week 2006 Seminar, 21 November 2006.
    • “Safety Culture in the Workplace”, City of Melville, 20 October 2006.
    • “Independent Contracting Labour Hire Arrangements – Proposed Legislative Reform”, ALB Masterclass Series 2006, Employment Law in Perth, 7 September 2006.
    • “Establishing a risk management protocol in the context of Santos' directors' and officers' liability for offshore safety”, Santos, Adelaide, 27 July 2006.
    • “Parental leave: scrutinising your obligations to employees returning to work from parental leave through latest court decisions”, 5th Annual Employment Law Intensive conference, 19 June 2006.
    • “Effect of WorkChoices on remuneration”, (with David Southall of the Hay Group), AHRI Special Interest Group on Performance and Reward, 24 May 2006.
    • “Industrial Relations in the Current Climate – WorkChoices and its Implications”, National Conference of the Local Government Managers Association, Perth, WA, 23 May 2006.
    • “WorkChoices up Close”, Deloitte briefing, 26 April 2006.
    • “WorkChoices up Close”, Australian Corporate Lawyers Association briefing, 21 March 2006.
    • “The WorkChoices Bill – for Accountants”, Bentleys MRI partners and staff, 22 November 2005.
    • “WorkChoices up close”, firm briefing, 10 November 2005.
    • “Changes to Safety Regulation in the Mining Sector in WA”, Legalwise Mining Law Seminar, 20 September 2005.
    • “To Contract or Not to Contract that is the Question or Would Hamlet have been happier as an Employee”, Bentleys MRI, July 2005.
    • Editor, Volume 10, Mining and Petroleum Legislation Services (with specific reference to the 2005 amendment of the Mines Safety and Inspection Act), Thomson Law Book Company.
    • “The Milkman with the Hole in his Boot” and “Requiem for an OSH Manager”, Safety WA IFAP Conference, October 2004.
    • “The TCR Case 2004 and Outsourcing”, Key Media Master Class, Perth, August 2004.
    • “The Duty to Consult Prior to Redundancy”, Industrial Relations and Management Letter, Octomedia publication, April 2004.
    • “Don't call us – we'll call you”, IPA Personnel Breakfast Seminar, February 2004.
    • “Transmission of Business Issues”, Western Australian Business Brokers Association, February 2004.
    • “Transferring and terminating existing staff at takeover - finding your way through the maze”, Western Australian Business Broker Association, February 2004.
    • “Employer's duty of care”, workshop for managers, City of Perth, February 2004.
    • “Employee issues in Insolvency”, KPMG Credit Recovery division, August 2003.
    • “Industrial Relations in Western Australia”, senior management, Mitsui Australia, July 2003.
    • “Recent changes in HR & IR law”, National Independent Retailers Association, May 2003.
    • “Hold Harmless issues in Labour Hire Contracts”, Local Government Insurance Service (WA) Conference, Perth, November 2002.
    • “Contractual Obligations of Employers and Employees in Professional Practice”, Australia College of Legal Medicine, August 2002.
    • “The Contract of Employment” and “Equal Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination”, Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations Workshops, Perth, June 2002.
    • “The Labour Relations Reform Bill 2002”, “Workplace Agreements”, “EEA's and union access pattern bargaining and the right to strike”, CLE program, 2002.
    • “Unfair Dismissal in WA – A Comment on Remedies Available”, Brief, journal for WA lawyers, February 2002.
    • “The Labour Relations Reform Bill 2002 – The Amended Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 (WA), good faith bargaining and new remedies for unfair dismissal”, CLE program.
    • “Trends in Industrial Relations in Western Australia after a change of power”, Employment Law Seminar, November 2001.
    • “The Contract of Employment in Local Government”, training course, Shire of Augusta Margaret River, 2001.
    • “Terminating Employment Contracts”, THC Press Public Seminar, February 2001.
    • “Outsourcing – The Effects of the Transmission Provisions”, breakfast briefing for chief executive officers, September 2000.
    • “Performance Management – Dismissals for Incapacity”, seminar, July 2000.
    • “Performance Management Training for Local Governments”, seminar, City of Albany, June 2000.

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