Catherine Whitby

Norton Rose Fulbright Australia

Catherine Whitby

Catherine Whitby


Related services and key industries


Catherine Whitby is a recognised government lawyer based in Canberra.

Catherine provides strategic legal advice on commercial issues, including those arising from contracting and procurement processes. Acting for government clients, she also has extensive experience in probity and governance matters, and in relation to data sharing by government.

Her primary sectors of focus include health, social services, education and employment. Catherine regularly presents seminars to clients in relation to key issues affecting government, and has a longstanding interest in the use of data to develop cost-effective and defensible solutions to manage legal risk.

Catherine brings particular insight and experience through her previous senior legal and policy roles within Commonwealth Government. Prior to returning to private practice in 2015, Catherine was a Principal Government Lawyer for the Department of Health and the inaugural Director, Policy at the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority. In those roles, Catherine was responsible for drafting, negotiating and advising on a range of major commercial agreements including agreements for the supply of essential vaccines and specialised pharmaceuticals; drafting the inaugural National Efficient Price Determination (which sets the price of public hospital services nationally); and drafting and advising on intergovernmental and interagency agreements.

Professional experience

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  • Certificate IV in Government Investigations (2018)
  • Master of Science (Law and Accounting) (Merit), London School of Economics and Political Science (2002)
  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons I), Bond University (2001)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Journalism), Bond University (2001)
  • High Court of Australia 2015
  • Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory 2006
  • Supreme Court of Victoria 2004
  • Major Australian Government Department: Advised on a range of complex transactions, and related regulatory regimes. Assisted in developing a process to enable operators of certain diagnostic imaging facilities to offer Medicare-eligible services. Advised in relation to the procurement of medical supplies and personal protective equipment for the National Medical Stockpile; for the purchase of vaccine for the National Immunisation Program and for other purposes; for the purchase of prosthetics; and for the purchase of pharmaceuticals for rare metabolic disorders.
  • Major Australian Government Department: Advised on the development, establishment and operation of a regulatory framework to enforce provisions of a key piece of portfolio legislation. Responsible for preparation of the Department's revised industry guidance on the interpretation and application of the legislation.
  • Hearing Services Provider: Advised on the acquisition of medical devices and accessories. Advised on liability in relation to the use of those devices.
  • National Collecting Institutions: Advised a number of National Collecting Institutions on catering and liquor licensing arrangements; on a range of governance issues and on the grant of an indemnity to a potential donor in respect of his personal collection.
  • Major Australian Government Department: Advised on and negotiated a range of intergovernmental agreements including in relation to migration and use of data and in relation to environmental/safety-related issues.
  • Various Australian Government Departments: Advised on a number of complex government funding initiatives including those in relation to primary care infrastructure and establishing volunteering opportunities for jobseekers.
  • Major Australian Government Department: Advised the Department on transitional arrangements for the establishing population-based screening register including undertaking a review of program and project governance and preparing privacy-related documentation to support the operation of the register.
  • Associate Fellow, Australasian College of Health Service Management (2018 – present)
  • Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors (2014 – present)