Donna Charlesworth is a partner in the Perth office, specialising in construction and major projects, procurement and contract claims management.

    Donna has extensive experience in drafting and negotiating construction and engineering contracts and in structuring projects. She advises on key project documents, including the preparation and evaluation of requests for tender, procurement contracts, power purchase agreements, offtake agreements, EPC contracts, operation and maintenance contracts, farm-in and farm-out agreements, supply and installation agreements, lender direct agreements, performance bonds and guarantees.

    She also assists clients in relation to arbitrations and adjudications arising from major construction projects.

    Donna advises clients on construction issues arising across a range of sectors, including resources, infrastructure, energy, renewables and commercial development projects.

    She has worked in private practice at major Australian and international law firms, as well as in-house senior legal counsel at multinational corporations in Japan and the Middle East.

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    • Advising a lithium mining company on an AU$512 million lithium mine expansion project, including project structuring advice, drafting and negotiation of key contracts for the chemical grade lithium crushing and processing plants, including the design and construction contracts for the processing plants, water treatment plant, tailings retreatment plant, substation, and 132kv powerline to the local substation, as well as providing ongoing advice in relation to operational issues.
    • Advising a major Australian iron ore miner on various project contracts, including drafting the EPC contract for a power station, and construction and supply contracts for key equipment and processing facilities for a US$2.6 billion magnetite project.
    • Advising a mining contractor in relation to the review and negotiation of various mining services agreements, including for Nova Nickel Mine, Hanking Cornishman Mine and Cockatoo Island Mine.
    • Advising a chemical and fertiliser manufacturer in relation to the construction contract for an ammonia plant.
    • Advising a chemical and fertiliser manufacturer in relation to the negotiation of take or pay offtake contracts for the supply of various ammonia products, including transportation.
    • Advising the owner on the suite of project documents, including consultancy agreements, EPCM contracts and long lead purchase contracts for the construction of a lithium processing plant.
    • Advising the owner and operator on an AU$60 million EPC contract and associated supply contracts for a filtration plant at an alumina refinery.
    • Advising the owner in relation to the drafting of an EPCM contract for a vanadium crushing, milling and beneficiation plant.
    • Advising a family-owned dairy operation on the construction of a milk processing and packaging facility.


    • Advising on the demolition and remediation of the former Princess Margaret Hospital site in Subiaco, and the Subi East redevelopment.
    • Advising in relation to the AU$57.4 million Scarborough foreshore redevelopment, including advising on the project delivery model, drafting the project contracts and tender documentation, and the negotiation of contracts.
    • Advising an international contractor on the drafting and negotiation of project documents for the design, procurement and construction of the Bangkok Skyrail.
    • Advising a statutory public transport operator in relation to an engineering consultancy panel, including drafting the contract and negotiation of terms with 12 consultancy firms, as well as advising on alliance agreements between it, another statutory body and a state government.
    • Advising in relation to train station upgrade works on the Joondalup line and the Fremantle line.
    • Advising a statutory water utility on its suite of template contracts for construction and procurement.
    • Acting in relation to the drafting and negotiation of the project documents for the AU$170 million upgrade of the Marine Support Facility at Henderson for the submarine floating dock and transfer system.
    • Advising a Commonwealth government department and agency in relation to an expert determination in respect of various claims against the contractor relating to the construction of an immigration detention centre.
    • Advising a contractor in relation to its contract with a state government department for the development of park roads and upgrades to tourist sites at a national park.
    • Advising a state government department in relation to drafting the project documents for the WA Container Deposit Scheme.


    • Reviewed and advised on the Western Power standard electricity access contract, other contracts and policies.
    • Advised an international contractor in relation to the EPC with an electricity producer and distributor in Ireland to construct a 400MW combined cycle gas turbine power generation plant.
    • Advised an international contractor in relation to a dispute with a consortium partner in relation to two coal-fired power stations in the UK, including advice on step in rights, termination of subcontracts, limitation of liability issues, set off and bankruptcy applications, and calling on performance bonds.


    • Advising a power purchaser on the EPC contract for a thermal waste-to-energy plant in Western Australia.
    • Advising developers in relation to a planned 128MW solar farm in Western Australia, drafting the EPC contract and advising on the associated asset purchase and electricity access transfer contracts.

    Oil and Gas

    • Advising an international drilling contractor in relation to a proposed offshore drilling services contract.
    • Advising in relation to the construction contract for a key gas transmission pipeline in Western Australia.
    • Advising a US oil and gas company in relation to major facilities EPC, Mud Plant EPC, Waterflood pilot EPC, O&M agreements, import/export pipeline construction contracts, service orders and purchase orders for a project in Qatar.
    • Advising an international oil and gas contractor in relation to onshore and offshore drilling contracts.
    • Advising a US oil and gas company in relation to various farm-in and farm-out agreements, rig assignment agreements and equipment loan agreements.
    • Advising a US oil and gas company on the major facilities EPC contracts for the development of a US$1.6 billon heavy oil plant using thermal enhanced oil recovery techniques. This included drafting, reviewing and negotiating EPC contracts for mechanical vapour compression station, central processing and satellite facilities, supply and installation contracts for steam generator units, a facilities supply contract for a reverse osmosis water treatment plant, various letters of intent and performance guarantees.
    • Advising an international contractor in relation to the drafting and negotiation of a US$250 million EPC contract for the Altamira LNG storage and regasification terminal.

    Commercial Property Developments

    • Advising the developers in relation to the development, design and construction contracts for the redevelopment of Garden City Shopping Centre.
    • Advising the owners in relation to the redevelopment of the QV1 precinct, including a new retail precinct, end of trip facilities, childcare centre and oculus.
    • Advising on the development, design and construction contract for the Novatel Perth Hotel and an adjacent residential apartment.
    • Advising the developer on the design and construction of an AU$90 million 23-story tower being Perth’s first inner-city student accommodation facility.
    • Advising a major Australian health insurance fund in relation to construction contracts for the upgrade of its retail offices.
    • Acting in relation to the design and construction of a new residential university accommodation, Rodgers Wing and Arcus Court, adjacent to existing heritage college buildings at St Georges College, UWA.
    • Advising a property investment management company in relation to defective work issues arising under a construction contract for a twin tower commercial development.
    • Advising an independent real estate advisory business on its upgrade projects (building services, end of trip facilities, ground foyer rebuild) for a commercial development in Western Australia.
    • Advising a property investment fund in relation to service level agreements, purchase and service orders, and construction contracts for upgrade projects in relation to its shopping centre portfolio.
    • Advising in relation to consultancy services for the redevelopment and upgrade of the Parmelia Hilton Hotel.
    • Advising in relation to the redevelopment of the Galleria Shopping Centre and the water basin relocation project.
    • Advising in relation to the design and construction contracts for the AU$15 million redevelopment of The Beach House.


    • University of Melbourne, LL.M., Construction Law, 2020
    • Australian Institute of Company Directors, GAICD, 2014
    • University of Edinburgh, LL.M., International Commercial Law, 1999
    • University of Western Australia, LL.B., 1994


    • High Court of Australia, 1996
    • Supreme Court of Western Australia, 1996

    Memberships and Affiliations

    Board Roles

    • Member, WA Electricity Review Board Panel of Legal Practitioners
    • Vice Chairperson, Board of Women’s Legal Services of Western Australia


    • Law Society of Western Australia
    • Society of Construction Law Australia
    • Australian Institute of Company Directors
    • National Association of Women in Construction
    • Australian Mining and Petroleum Association
    • Recommended by Doyles Guide – Leading Front End Construction and Infrastructure Lawyers, 2021

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    • Speaker, “Successful Delivery of Renewables Projects”, client seminar, 2021.
    • Author, “WA Government Caretaker Period: the implication for agencies”, client update, 2021.
    • Speaker, “Reining in risk in Government contracts”, client seminar, 2020.
    • Speaker, “Implications of WA’s proposed security of payment reforms”, client seminar, 2020.
    • Speaker, “Managing and maintaining probity in your Government department”, Legalwise Seminars, 2020.
    • Author, “WA Procurement Bill 2020 to fundamentally change the way WA Government procures goods, services and works”, client update, 2020.
    • Author, “WA keeps business moving: Covid-19 Response and Economic recovery Omnibus Bill 2020”, client update, 2020.
    • Speaker, “Australian Standard Forms of Contracting – Key Trends in Western Australia”, Society of Construction Law in Australia, 2019.
    • Speaker, “The collaborative contracting comeback and the future of disputes”, Resolution Institute, 2020.

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