Matthew Smith


Qualifications: LLB (Hons), BA



Matthew joined Hall & Wilcox on 1 July 2017, after almost 30 years at Harris Wheeler, most recently as managing partner of the firm and supervising partner of the firm’s Commercial practice.

In addition to advising on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, Matthew has provided advice to a number of Hunter public sector clients including Port Stephens Council, Newcastle City Council, Maitland City Council, Hunter Water Corporation, Hunter Development Corporation, Newcastle Airport Pty Limited, Hunter New England Local Health District, the University of Newcastle, Hunter TAFE and Hunter Resource Recovery.

Matthew’s special knowledge covers legal risk management and the allocation of risk in commercial contracts, contract drafting and negotiation, precedent development, legal audits of insurance cover, procurement, contract tendering and contract administration, corporate governance and probity, trade practices and competition law, the protection and commercialisation of inventions and other intellectual property, technology related contracts, joint ventures & public/private partnerships.


  • Assisting the Cessnock, Maitland and Singleton Councils to secure both interim and final authorisation from the ACCC to conduct a multi-million dollar, joint procurement process for a collection and processing of organic waste services. Matthew was successful in obtaining ACCC authorisation. Advice was also given on the tender documentation for the procurement process.
  • Advising the Hunter Resource Recovery (HRR), a joint venture entity of Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Singleton Councils, that manages kerbside recycling services that cover an estimated 370,000 residents with approx. 142,000 homes serviced each fortnight. This project involved assisting HRR to document a complex, multi-million dollar pricing variation of its recycling collections contract with Solo Waste. The project involved negotiating the terms of a price variation arising from major regulatory changes to waste collection and storage introduced by amendments to the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW). The project included advice on those regulatory changes and any avenue for judicial challenge, advice on whether a new tender process was required, as well as negotiating and drafting the contract variation documentation.
  • Advising on the probity of Lake Macquarie City Council’s major waste tender for collections and processing of green and organic waste.
  • Preparing and delivering an ACCC compliance training course for senior executive and project management staff at Newcastle Airport. This involved preparation of course content and examples, as well as audio visual content.
  • Advising the management boards of many governmental and 'not for profit' organisations covering a broad range of constitutional, structural and governance issues. For example, Matthew has provided from time to time company secretarial and corporate governance advice to Newcastle Airport. This work has included advice on interpretation and application of Newcastle Airport’s constitution and related governance documents. Matthew is currently engaged to provide more complicated advice on the choice of an appropriate legal entity to acquire a significant parcel of aviation related land. This advice has required familiarisation with Newcastle Airport complex group structure and the various state and federal revenue rulings associated with the structure.
  • Advising on high profile corporate governance related matters, including advising on the electoral process for the privatisation of Newcastle Knights under the Tinkler bid.
  • Advising educational institutions, such as the University of Newcastle and various schools, on areas such as access to information under the GIPA Act, as well as internal governance matters and privacy laws.
  • Advising on the commercialisation of intellectual property, including licensing and distribution of products and services. Matthew has negotiated and prepared numerous documents relating to the commercialisation of IP, most particularly international distribution agreements for various clients, as well as developing and managing intellectual property portfolios. Matthew has attended international trade shows in Europe and the United States to meet with key distributors, to undertake intellectual property infringement checks with rival suppliers and to negotiate distribution contracts.
  • Advising upon and negotiating a public/private partnership with Open Learning Global (OLG) for the delivery of various accredited TAFE NSW courses and qualifications via OLG’s proprietary online learning platform. This project involved regulatory advice on TAFE NSW’s legal capacity as an ASQA registered training organisation to deliver both domestic and international training in an online environment in conjunction with a private provider; negotiating the public/private joint venture document (including its worldwide territorial scope); as well as advising upon intellectual property ownership of course materials and content.
  • Assisting TAFE NSW-Hunter Institute to conduct an Expression of Interest tender process for the procurement Electrotechnology and Electrical Supply Industry Training. The project involved preparation of Request for Tender documentation for procurement of three separate categories of training services, advice on procurement process, developing a pricing structure and advice on engagement of training suppliers under an independent contractor arrangement.

Latest thinking

Private Clients | 19 Nov 2020

Trusts and the foreign person duty and land tax surcharge: act before it's too late!

As 2020 nears to a close, advisors should note the impending 31 December deadline in NSW to exclude foreign persons as beneficiaries of discretionary trusts, to prevent these trusts from becoming foreign persons for the purposes of surcharge duty and land tax.