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Norman Waterhouse
Sean is the Chair of the Board at Norman Waterhouse and specialises in major commercial, infrastructure and property projects as well as foreign investment law and transactions.

About Sean

Sean has a wealth of experience gained from over 25 years of legal practice both internationally and in South Australia.

Over that period Sean has also held a number of high profile National and State based public and private sector leadership roles – a testament to his capacity to drive exceptional results in a sound, risk managed way. Coupled with his recognised expertise in commercial strategy and governance, Sean’s legal skills have seen him hold a range of high profile Board and Advisory Group leadership positions.

In addition to his National and State based public and private sector leadership roles, Sean has a particular interest in local government and is recognised as one of the South Australia’s leading practitioners in this area. Over many years Sean has led the South Australian local government sector’s growing role in key infrastructure, development and commercial projects and is a leading voice on the critical economic development role that Councils play to grow local economies and communities in South Australia.

Sean is the current Chair of Study Adelaide - South Australia’s peak body promoting Adelaide as Australia’s premier learning city and growing South Australia’s second largest export industry.

As Chair of the South Australian Tourism Commission for 4 years until July 2019, Sean presided over the most significant period of growth in the visitor economy in the Commission’s history. Sean’s tenure as Chair coincided with the attainment of new benchmarks in government and industry collaboration, job creation, and helped to shape the future of the tourism industry.

Sean is currently a National Board Director and South Australian State President of the Australia China Business Council – Australia’s peak bilateral business investment and trade organisation. Sean is a recognised opinion leader around Australia’s engagement with China with a particular focus on South Australia’s economic transformation through improved trade and investment dealings with China. Sean was a co-author of South Australia’s China Engagement Strategy in 2012 and served as the SA Government’s advisor on China, providing strategic advice to the Premier, Ministers, Local Government and Industry Bodies to facilitate closer bilateral links between South Australia and China until July 2018.

Sean is also the Chair of Norman Waterhouse’s business consulting arm, NW Alliance, which oversees advises and supports international investors regarding Australian investment projects, as well as strategic buyers seeking to purchase and export South Australian products. He also supports local South Australian businesses to partner with international exporters and investors to realise their business goals in Australia and abroad.

Sean was the recipient of an Australian Government Scholarship to study intensive Mandarin in China in the late 1980s prior to commencing a double degree in Law and Arts at the University of Adelaide. As a highly competent Mandarin speaker, Sean plays a pivotal role in trade and investment deals involving Chinese Parties.


  • Property, Infrastructure and Development
  • Commercial Projects
  • Procurement/Contracting
  • Probity and Governance
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Foreign Investment


  • Chair, NW Alliance
  • Chair, StudyAdelaide
  • National Board Director of the Australia China Business Council Ltd
  • SA President of the Australia China Business Council
  • Board Member, Salisbury Water Management Board
  • Immediate Past Chair, South Australian Tourism Commission
  • Chair, St Ignatius College Adelaide Ltd

Sean's Areas of Practice

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