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Matthew Smith

Principal Lawyer // Head of Employment, Safety & Regulatory, Brisbane

Matthew is a Principal Lawyer in DWF’s Brisbane office. He leads DWF's Australian Employment, Safety and Regulatory practice.
Principal Lawyer | Principal Lawyer | Australia | DWF


Matthew advises corporate and government clients on safety, regulation and industrial relations. He specialises in assisting clients to resolve highly-sensitive issues in often acrimonious litigated matters.

Matthew has over 20 years’ experience and works predominantly with government and major corporate entities in the transport, construction, mining and resources, manufacturing and retail industries He has extensive experience in the legal and strategic management of serious safety incidents, advising on incident management from the day of incident up to and including management of safety prosecutions and coronial inquests. Matthew has successfully defended dozens of regulatory matters including several large safety, transport and environmental prosecutions. He is skilled at resolving workplace issues and restoring relationships between unions, the workplace and regulators with minimal business disruption.

Matthew draws on his significant career experience as a highly trained industrial relations practitioner and advocate for industry and government, and as counsel in various courts and tribunals, to settle disputes in highly confrontational circumstances. He regularly appears in safety, industrial and employment matters before various state and federal courts and tribunals.

Matthew is a father of three, including young twins. When time allows, he enjoys fishing.


  • Included in The Best Lawyers Australia for Occupational Health & Safety, Editions: 2014 - 2023
  • Recommended by Doyle’s Guide as a Leading Workplace Health & Safety Lawyer (Queensland), 2021
  • Recommended by Doyle’s Guide as a Leading Employment Lawyer (Employer Representation) (Queensland), 2020
  • Matthew and his team were finalists in the 2019 Australian Law Awards for Workplace Relations and Employment Team of the Year


Matthew is a member of the Queensland Law Society.


DWF Quarterly Safety Bulletin. December 2020.

Significant increase in compliance activities by Queensland's building regulator, April 2019.

Fair Work Commission Overhauls Annualised Wage Clauses, April 2019.

Full Bench confirms the Fair Work Commission’s broad anti-bullying powers, April 2019.

Victorian workplace deaths push employers to take greater care for their employees. February 2019.

PCBU successfully challenges prohibition notice - Byrne Demolition Pty Ltd v SafeWork NSW [2019] NSWIRComm 1008. February 2019.

Major Development - 72 year old woman to serve 6 months imprisonment for health and safety breach. January 2019.