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 WHS 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 lawyer, Andrew advises 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.
  • Providing advice on standard business sponsorship for a Chinese company and obtaining work visa for senior finance executive.
  • Advising a construction services company on implementation of industrial relation strategies and migration law strategies to deal with significant inbound labour requirements.
  • Assisting 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 workplace health and safety 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), representing a client in the first breach of Safety Case prosecution under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Storage Act in Australia.
  • 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 Western Australia, Ph.D., 2020
  • 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
  • Federal Court of Australia

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Graduate Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors


  • English
  • Afrikaans
  • Dutch
  • Consistently recognised by Best Lawyers in Australia 2013-2022 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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