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Local government

We have developed a strong reputation for delivering excellent results for local government.

Our team members have acted for regional and metropolitan Councils, and we work hard at building long lasting relationships with Council officers.

Local Government

Our highly experienced team places a strong focus on excellent service and value for money for city-based and regional councils alike. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities that councils are presented with and recognise that, in order to balance the needs of residents and stakeholders with the priorities and legal requirements of local government, a high degree of expertise and engagement is required.

Expertise

Planning law

  • clients benefit from our team’s hands-on experience gained working both with and within local authorities. We act for local government, developers, institutions and others involved in the development, management and regulation of property, natural resources and infrastructure projects
  • in addition to providing advice on planning laws, we have a strong reputation in connection with transactional issues, advocacy and mediation.

Environmental law

  • our environmental specialists act for local government, developers, institutions and others involved in the development, management and regulation of property, natural resources and infrastructure projects. In addition to providing advice on environmental laws, we have a strong reputation in connection with transactional issues, advocacy and mediation.

Statutory interpretation of Acts, regulations, rules and legislative enactments which impact on council activities, powers and functions

  • through our work for government departments and statutory authorities, we have been involved in advising on matters relating to various Acts, regulations and rules, including how they should be interpreted and applied to local governments.

Administrative law advice

We offer the expertise of lawyers who have not only acted for government as legal advisors, but who have also worked within government in the following areas:

  • drafting of by-laws, local laws, delegations and other instruments 
  • judicial review (Federal Court and Supreme Court)
  • prerogative relief in the High Court of Australia
  • merits review 
  • statutory interpretation
  • Royal Commissions and other public inquiries.

Property law issues including conveyancing, leases, licences, Crown Land (Reserves) Act, road discontinuances, land tax and other property related matters

  • all aspects of property acquisition, disposals, leasing and licensing
  • all aspects of landlord and tenant issues
  • conveyancing
  • matters relating to Crown and reserve land management, leases and licences matters relating to acquisition of land, including compulsory acquisition. 

Native title and cultural heritage issues

  • advice on land dealings and infrastructure projects that affect native title and Aboriginal cultural heritage
  • representing local governments as respondent parties in native title proceedings in the Federal Court
  • negotiating indigenous land use agreements and Aboriginal cultural heritage management plans and agreement.

Workplace Relations and Safety

Our Workplace Relations and Safety Partners and lawyers provide a comprehensive and integrated service to local government clients across the areas of employment, industrial relations and safety, including disputes matters.

The expert advice we provide assists clients to reduce legal risks associated with employment relationships, such as potential unfair dismissal, discrimination and bullying claims that might arise during performance management processes or restructures, including minimising public and media scrutiny in litigated matters. 

Procurement

Local government clients have direct access to the specialists in our National Procurement Team.  

We provide procurement advice to local governments on the conditions of tendering including  reviewing councils’ Request for Tender and other procurement documents to ensure that they:

  • comply with the requirements of the relevant state legislation and regulations, and local government procurement policies
  • appropriately describes the relevant scope of work and desired outcome
  • provide flexibility as required by the process
  • are consistent in all respects, both internally (i.e. its component parts), but also with other project documentation and tools such as the Probity Plan, Probity Protocol, EOI, and evaluation plan
  • are able to be sensibly responded to by the bidders, particularly in relation to non-conformances, alternatives, and valuable innovation
  • contain appropriate Schedules to facilitate the best response having regard to the form of process being undertaken.

Experience

Our team has extensive local government experience, having acted for a range of local councils across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

Recent Posts

28 July 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

It will take many years to restore the economy and infrastructure of bushfire-impacted areas and for their animal and vegetation biodiversity to recover. The Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook: July 2020 will be used by fire authorities to make strategic decisions such as resource planning and prescribed fire management to reduce the negative impacts of bushfire.

13 July 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

With the first two stages of the Local Government Act 2020 delivered, local councils should now consider whether their instruments of delegation need to be updated, and to do so by 1 September 2020.

16 June 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

In this edition, we examine FMG’s failed challenge of the Western Australia’s Yindjibarndi people’s exclusive native title rights.

02 June 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

We outline the temporary modifications introduced to the Local Government Act, including changes to tender publication provisions, as a result of COVID-19.

20 May 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

Local Government Areas hit by the 2019-20 bushfires and Covid-19 restrictions may experience GDP declines of up to 23 per cent, a new report suggests

06 May 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

Regional mobile coverage will be improved with 182 new base stations planned under Round Five of the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program

20 April 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

The Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment (Department) is looking to improve the review processes of s7.11 local infrastructure plans (Plans) as part of a suite of proposed changes to the infrastructure contributions system in NSW

06 April 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

In May 2019, a new section 161 of the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 (Qld) (Act) commenced which requires local governments in Queensland that supply a reticulated water service or sewerage service (Services) in all or part of its local government area (Relevant Councils) to declare service areas for those Services.

25 March 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

As the threat of COVID-19 continues to escalate, local governments across Australia have taken swift action to combat the virus, including recent legislative changes to elections and planning laws. In this article we examine some of those measures and other implications for Councils.

11 March 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

As the Queensland local government election date approaches, councils have entered a caretaker period during which certain decisions must be deferred until after the appointment of the new council. In the following article, we examine the business that councils can and cannot conduct during this period.

25 February 2020 - Knowledge

Local government procurement in the bushfire aftermath

#Procurement, #Local Government

As the fires begin to ease, many councils in fire-ravaged regions are grappling with the aftermath of the bushfires. A new legislative change may bring some help to those councils who need to quickly enter into new contracts for goods or services to assist with the bushfire response and recovery.

24 February 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Local Government

#Local Government

The Local Government Bill 2019 was recently passed by the Lower House. If enacted, the Bill will come into force through a staged process, with the first suite of changes commencing on or before 1 July 2020.