Bill's Media Releases

Fair Work Appointments

Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten today announced three new merit based Fair Work appointments: the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate and a Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission.

Natalie James has been appointed as the new Fair Work Ombudsman starting on 15 July this year.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s role includes the promotion of harmonious, productive and cooperative workplace relations and ensuring compliance with Fair Work laws.

Ms James, currently a senior manager in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).

“Ms James brings a wealth of workplace relations experience to the role having previously been the Chief Counsel, Workplace Relations in DEEWR, as well as having spent time in senior roles at the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman,” Minister Shorten said.

Minister Shorten announced the appointment of Deputy President Val Gostencnik as Director of the Fair Work Building Inspectorate.

“Deputy President Gostencnik is a highly experienced workplace relations lawyer and practitioner.”

Prior to his recent appointment to the Fair Work Commission, he was a Partner at Corrs Chambers Westgarth for 12 years where he led the Workplace Relations practice group. Deputy President Gostencnik has over 30 years workplace relations experience, including having worked at a national construction and civil engineering company.

Deputy President Gostencnik will start his new role on 5 August this year and will retain his appointment to the Fair Work Commission and be available to assist the Commission on matters.

Ms James and Deputy President Gostencnik have both been appointed for a period of five years.

Minister Shorten also announced the appointment of John Kovacic as a Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission.

“Mr Kovacic has over three decades of professional involvement in the workplace relations field and his extensive experience will add to the diverse skill base of the Commission. He has served numerous Governments as a senior public servant and has an outstanding reputation as a skilled and pragmatic workplace relations expert.”

Mr Kovacic has most recently held the role of Deputy Secretary of Workplace Relations at the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) since 2008.

Mr Kovacic will start his new role on 12 August this year.

The appointments follow an independent, merit based selection process conducted by senior representatives of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Australian Public Service Commission and in consultation with the Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations and the States and Territories.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberley Gardiner 0427 138 106