Planning, Environment & Sustainability

With dedicated teams in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, who also work nationally together, we deal with state and Commonwealth laws in their commercial and practical context to deliver outstanding results and client service.

Planning, Environment & Sustainability

Our hands-on experience gained working both with and within planning authorities, coupled with our work for the private sector, enables us to provide practical, strategic and knowledgeable advice in relation to environmental, planning and regulatory issues.


We act for local councils, developers, institutional and other owners, investors, financiers, construction companies, energy and utility and other infrastructure providers, resource companies, government departments and agencies, including the New South Wales Department of Planning, consultants and others involved in the development, management and regulation of property, natural resources and infrastructure projects. We also have a strong reputation in connection with transactional issues, advocacy and mediation.

Our expertise includes:

  • green buildings and infrastructure
  • energy efficiency and renewable energy
  • emissions reporting and trading
  • obtaining, defending and challenging consents, permits, licences and other approvals
  • navigating planning controls and other regulatory requirements and addressing assessment criteria procedures, including the preparation of applications and environmental assessments supporting those applications
  • drafting environmental planning instruments, planning agreements and other planning documentation and statutory interpretation
  • allocation of risk and liability in connection with the acquisition disposal and development of land, including contaminated sites
  • pollution incidents
  • environmental and planning and other prosecutions
  • environmental compliance and due diligence
  • management and remediation of contaminated land
  • environmental risk assessment
  • biodiversity
  • waste management
  • tribunal and court proceedings, including merit appeals and legal challenges, and alternate dispute resolution
  • resumptions, land compensation and the valuation of land
  • heritage laws
  • native vegetation and threatened species legislation
  • the law and practice of government administration
  • other areas of the law concerning the use, development and management of land and resources and the carrying out of infrastructure projects.



  • acting for the owner of a major site in which our client successfully rezoned its land through the Planning Panel process to the Mixed Use Zone to facilitate a major mixed use residential development. The matter involved complex planning issues in relation to heritage, building height and mass, public open space, traffic, community objection and setbacks to the Yarra River
  • acting for a metropolitan council in proceedings at VCAT with respect to the conversion of a former hotel to a multiunit residential development
  • acting for a regional council in numerous proceedings at VCAT including conditions appeals, declaration proceedings, and planning enforcement proceedings
  • acting for the permit applicant in proceedings before VCAT for a $150 million hotel and apartment development at St Kilda Road. The permit was successfully secured through the compulsory conference process
  • acting for ISPT in an appeal to the Heritage Council of Victoria with respect to heritage issues at the former General Post Office building.

Recent environmental experience

  • acting as solicitor advocates for Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group in proceedings before VCAT regarding the Melbourne Regional Landfill and also the Werribee Landfill
  • acting for St Andrews Golf Club in various proceedings relating to groundwater issues involving Peninsula Hot Springs and Southern Rural Water.

Recent transactional experience

  • acting for VicRoads in the preparation of section 173 agreements for Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) work in kind arrangements
  • Providing GAIC advice to a major residential developer with respect to strategies to reduce and defer GAIC payable.
Chris Lovell

Chris Lovell



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Gerard Timbs

Gerard Timbs



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Recent Posts

15 November 2018 - Knowledge

Preparing clause 4.6 requests to vary development standards: An applicant’s guide

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

This article reflects on recent cases and provides a practical guide on how to prepare a clause 4.6 Request to vary development standards

12 November 2018 - Knowledge

Inside track: Planning, Environment & Sustainability

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

Australian company directors nominate climate change as the number one issue they want the government to address in the long-term, in a survey of more than 1,200 business leaders.

12 November 2018 - Knowledge

Key cases: Planning, environment & sustainability

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

In this article, we summarise the key issues in three recent cases before VCAT and the Supreme Court relating to demolition of heritage buildings, DELWP approval of a kangaroo cull, and a loss on sale claim brought after the owner had passed away.

30 October 2018 - Knowledge

Inside track: Planning, Environment & Sustainability

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The CEFC is committing up to $90 million towards Australia’s first large-scale energy from waste (EfW) project – a state-of-the-art plant at Kwinana in Western Australia capable of producing 36MW of electricity, enough to power up to 50,000 homes.

15 October 2018 - Knowledge

Inside track: Planning & Environment

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

Off-the-plan apartment buyers are being hit with the double-whammy of tougher home loan rules and falling property prices, leaving many struggling to complete their purchases.

03 October 2018 - Knowledge

What's News in Planning & Environment? – 3 October 2018

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) has strongly endorsed a federal parliamentary inquiry’s call for the development of a national plan of settlement to help guide the growth of Australia’s cities and regions.

02 October 2018 - Knowledge

Landlords beware: Approved uses

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

Often the permitted uses under leases require a development approval authorising the specific use. This article explains the issue and the risks associated with entering into leases for a permitted use without the appropriate development approval.

19 September 2018 - Knowledge

What's News in Planning & Environment? – 19 September 2018

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

Australian cities are growing rapidly. Echoing international trends, higher-density housing will accommodate much of this growth in the inner city. Such housing – mostly apartments, townhouses and blocks of flats – is usually associated with young urban professionals and the childless elite. But families with children do live in apartments and even more will do so in the future.

19 September 2018 - Knowledge

Profiting from pollution: New measures aimed at recovering the proceeds of environmental crime

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

This article looks at the recent guidelines published by the NSW Environment Protection Authority which explain how and when they will seek to recover monetary benefits from environmental offenders.

18 September 2018 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin - 18 September 2018

#Government, #Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The Court of Appeal has recently overturned the decision of the Supreme Court in Desane. The decision provides clearer guidance for acquiring authorities on what they need to do when issuing Proposed Acquisition Notices as part of acquiring land.

04 September 2018 - Knowledge

What's News in Planning & Environment? – 4 September 2018

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The Government has welcomed the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) draft rule requiring generators to provide at least three years notice of closure. The AEMC also recommended that the three year rule notice requirement be backed up by penalties for non-compliance.

29 August 2018 - Knowledge

Our expert guide to Victoria's new environmental laws

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 (Amending Act) substantively amends the 2017 Act so that the 2017 Act will become the principal environmental legislation in Victoria and the 1970 Act will be repealed.