Why our clients prefer working with Hunter Employee Relations

Our client service philosophy is based on building long term partnerships with our clients and is founded on cost effective professional advice provided in a timely manner.

So, what makes Hunter Employee Relations different?

  • Professional client focussed service tailored to your business needs.
  • Practical, cost effective, risk managed solutions giving you peace of mind.
  • Expertise and experience that comes with over 30 years of employee relations and employment law experience across multiple industries.


'Can do'- managing risk in a proactive manner

As a trusted advisor, business clients seek Michael's guidance on managing current employee issues or planning future strategies. With a practical innovative approach, many issues can be dealt with in a more proactive manner often resulting in:

  • Less cost.
  • A quicker result.
  • Less stress and interruption to you and your business.


How We Work with You

You can engage Hunter Employee Relations in the following ways:

  • Hourly consultation charge at the standard rate.
  • A negotiated monthly retainer with no locked in contracts.
  • Talk to Michael about alternative including project arrangements.

New clients are encouraged to contact Hunter Employee Relations to talk through their issues or concerns. There is no charge for this.

After the initial consultation, I normally meet with clients to explore their situation in more detail and look at options. This will result in the development of an appropriate strategy and action plan.


Michael Schmidt

Michael Schmidt

The Director and Principal Consultant of Hunter Employee Relations

Michael has over 30 years' extensive experience gained through senior Employee Relations and Human Resources Management roles in operational business environments. He has also consulted to clients while working for national industry associations and industrial relations consultancies. Michael established Hunter Employee Relations in 2008.

Michael has assisted employers across industrial, manufacturing, not for profit, service, and professional sectors. This has included small family owned businesses through to large multi-site employers across Newcastle, the Hunter Valley and NSW.

Immediately prior to establishing his own consultancy Michael worked with Tomago Aluminium for a period of 8 years initially focussing on managing a very turbulent industrial relations climate at the site. Key achievements at Tomago included:

  • Achieving zero industrial action lost time through a concentrated strategic change management approach.
  • Guiding senior management through several difficult enterprise agreement negotiations and complex business improvement programs.
  • Key roles in a Human Resources SAP project.
  • Undertaking an investigation into Potlines to Cast house metal flow work practice restrictions.
  • Implementing a range of staff engagement initiatives.

More recently Michael undertook a longer-term consulting assignment with Challenge Community Services, a large NSW based not for profit disability and foster care provider.

Michael’s formal qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Commerce – Industrial Relations Major (University of Melbourne)
  • Graduate Diploma in Labour Relations Law (University of Melbourne)
  • Studies in Master of Law & Legal Practice (University of Technology Sydney)
  • Master of Human Resources Management (Graduate School – University of Newcastle)

Michael provided us with a strategy that saved us thousands of dollars

My business partner and I first met Michael many years ago over a complex employee relations issue. In one short meeting we developed a strategy that saved us tens of thousands of dollars in compensation payments. Since then we have been relying on Michael’s specialist advice and guidance. While we may be dealing with various complex legal employment questions he provides us with plain English options and recommendations. Michael always seeks to look after our business interests in a proficient manner.

Robin Fridell , Managing Director, The Modern Group Newcastle

Protecting our business interests in a very professional and practical manner

Lampson Australia operates in a heavy industry environment which often provides for some interesting workplace challenges. Michael has guided us through many complex industrial relations and employment law issues since 2008. This has included performance terminations, negotiating several Enterprise Agreements and business restructuring resulting in redundancies. He has always a shown a strong personal interest in protecting our business interests in a very professional and practical manner. He is easy to work with and has become an essential part of our business.

Vicki Wilson , HR Manager, Lampson (Australia) Pty Ltd

Eight Enterprise Agreements across our Group – the process went very smoothly.

ATB Morton is a vertically integrated construction business with a range of different work environments. We engaged Hunter Employee Relations to develop eight Enterprise Agreements across our diverse group of companies. Michael’s professional approach and sound knowledge of the legal complexities of the Fair Work Act, ensured the process went very smoothly.

John Dodd , Group Resources Manager, ATB Morton Group of Companies

Comprehensive knowledge ensured a complex Agreement was approved by Fair Work

Scenic Tours engaged Hunter Employee Relations to re-negotiate several Enterprise Agreements for the Tour Delivery team. This was a difficult exercise as the employees involved were working remotely across Australia and New Zealand. Michael did more than just provide advice - he actively facilitated the making of the Agreement ensuring open communication and driving the negotiation to its conclusion. He has a comprehensive knowledge of the legal requirements which ensured that a complex Agreement was approved by the Fair Work Commission.

David Gilford , Product Delivery Manager, Scenic Tours

Excellent drafting ability and quick turn-around time

Hunter Employee Relations assisted Youth Express with the development and approval of our Enterprise Agreement. Michael actively and professionally directed the whole staff consultation process through to approval for an organisation that did not fit easily into any current awards system. Michael proved a high level of professionalism demonstrating excellent drafting ability, a quick turnaround time and a thorough knowledge of the legal process. I can definitely recommend Hunter Employee Relations to other employers.

Julie Eldridge , CEO, Youth Express Association Inc.