A new head of the watchdog for fair workplaces has been appointed, with Natalie James signing on as Australia’s new Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

Ms James had been a senior manager with the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, she was officially appointed by Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten.

Ms James is replacing Michael Campbell, who has held the FWO position for just three months, she has reportedly signed a contract for at least five years.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten says he FWO’s role is promoting harmonious, productive and cooperative workplace relations while ensuring compliance with Fair Work laws; "Ms James brings a wealth of workplace relations experience to the role having previously been the Chief Counsel, Workplace Relations in the DEEWR, as well as having spent time in senior roles at the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman," Shorten said in a statement.

In addition, John Kovacic has been appointed deputy president of the FWC, he was previously deputy secretary of Workplace Relations and Economic Strategy.