The prominent judicial figure will replace Susan Crennan as justice of High Court, who will leave the High Court in February.
Justice Nettle is currently a judge of the Victorian Court of Appeal.
Attorney-General George Brandis said Justice Nettle has had a brilliant legal career.
"I can tell you that in consulting widely in relation to this appointment, Justice Nettle's name came up time and time again as a particularly eminent candidate for appointment to the High Court," he said.
"So I'd like to take this occasion to congratulate his honour on his appointment."