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Debra in 60 seconds

Debra heads up our Canberra office and is a leading government contracting and procurement lawyer specialising in complex information technology projects, smart card systems, e-health, health services and large scale contestability and outsourcing projects.

Prior to joining HDY, Debra was a partner at an international law firm for over 9 years.

Debra is an ICT procurement and contracting specialist with extensive experience advising major government agencies and the private sector on ICT / services outsourcing and contestability projects, systems integration, cloud computing, managed services, software licensing and smart card systems. Debra's experience includes several years managing a major ICT outsourcing contract with a tier 1 vendor. Her 'hands on' experience provides her with valuable insight into the issues faced by vendor managers and enables her to provide practical and effective advice to her clients in relation to vendor and contract management matters.

Debra is highly experienced in major projects for government and adopts a practical risk management and client focussed approach in the provision of her advice and services to her clients. She is also renowned as a highly experienced probity adviser for complex, sensitive projects.

Debra's long standing clients include the Department of Defence, Australian Taxation Office, National Disability Insurance Agency,  ASIC, Department of Health (Cth), Department of Social Services, Department of Human Services (including Centrelink and Medicare Australia), ACT Electricity and Water (Retail and Distribution), iCare (NSW) and Airservices Australia. She has developed deep relationships with many of her clients over several years. Debra's recent experience (including prior to joining HDY) includes:

  • National Disability Insurance Agency: Advising NDIA on its approach to market for local area co-ordination services to streamline the delivery of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This project is the cornerstone of the NDIS and will support people with disability to transition to the NDIS, including through building trusting relationships and providing accurate and timely information to support informed decision making.
  • icareNSW (NSW Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer): Lead adviser on the outsourcing of policy and claims management services to scheme agents under the Workers Compensation Act 1987, valued at over $1.3bn over the term of the contract. Debra advised the Nominal Insurer on all aspects of this complex project and continued to advise post contract on transition and disengagement issues. Debra was subsequently engaged by the NI to advise on the  provision, implementation and support of an integrated insurance platform (to be procured as a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform),  involving several work streams and ancillary IT solutions for data warehousing, financial management, BI/data analytics and CRM. Debra continues to advise icare on multiple aspects of Scheme reform.
  • Major utilities provider (electricity and gas): Advised on the procurement of software and systems integration services for the replacement and/or upgrade of several core legacy systems, including financial information management and human capital management systems. These systems are critical to this providers' ability to meet its customers' needs and are to be used in a shared services environment. This project involved multiple, interdependent work streams and required the negotiation of separate contracts with multiple software and systems integration vendors. Debra continued to advise through the build, test  and implement stages.
  • Department of Defence (Joint Health Command): Lead legal adviser on the outsourcing of health services for Defence military personnel across Australia. This was a complex and mission critical sourcing project for Defence which involved multiple health service streams (valued at over $1.4bn). Debra assisted Defence with all aspects of this project for over 3 years including strategic procurement advice, preparation of request documentation, evaluation, negotiations and during the critical transition-in period.


  • BA, MLitt, B.Leg.S, LLM (Commercial)

Independent Recognition

  • Listed as a Recommended Lawyer in IT & Telecoms in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2017
  • Ranked in Government in Chambers Asia Pacific, 2016
  • Listed as an expert in Government, Information Technology and Telecommunications in Best Lawyers since 2008
  • Awarded 'Lawyer of the Year (ACT) – Telecommunications' in Best Lawyers 2017
  • Awarded 'Lawyer of the Year (ACT) – Information Technology' in Best Lawyers 2016
  • Awarded 'Best Lawyer (ACT) – Telecommunications' in Best Lawyers 2015

Debra's Recent Insights

Private sector submissions sought on ICT procurement

  • 25 Nov 2016

The Commonwealth's recently-formed ICT Procurement Taskforce has released a Consultation Paper today, Friday 25 November 2016, on the subject of the existing procurement rules as they apply to ...