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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.

Recent Posts

26 May 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Planning, Environment & Sustainability

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The Morrison Government has released independent scientific research to identify and manage environmental impacts from potential gas developments in the Cooper, Isa and Beetaloo basins

13 May 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Planning, Environment & Sustainability

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The Property Council of Australia has called on state and territory governments to consider housing and display home inspections as they look at easing social distancing restrictions.

06 May 2020 - Knowledge

Overview of the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (Vic) – from a planning perspective

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability, #COVID-19

We look at how the temporary legislative amendments under the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 will affect the Victorian planning industry and the measures in place to facilitate the continual running of the business.

29 April 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Planning, Environment & Sustainability

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

There has been a rapid and steep decline in sentiment across the Australian property industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic according to the ANZ Property Council industry survey for the June 2020 quarter.   Economic management (33%) is considered the most critical issue for the property industry that should be addressed by the Australian Federal Government, according to survey respondents

22 April 2020 - Knowledge

Australia’s planning systems and development pipeline continues to function during COVID-19

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability, #COVID-19

The Australian Government Minister for Cities, State and Territory Planning Ministers, and the President of the Australia Local Government Association have entered into a Communique from Planning Ministers.

17 April 2020 - Knowledge

Review of Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 – a chance to refocus our national environmental laws

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) is undergoing a ‘once in a decade’ review (Review).

15 April 2020 - Knowledge

Inside track: Planning, Environment & Sustainability

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The GBCA annual TRANSFORM launched the GBCA’s latest report, Green Star in focus: the business case. From attractive tax concessions to higher asset values, Green Star buildings boast decreased operational costs, lower electricity and water usage, and happier, healthier tenants that hang around for the long term

14 April 2020 - Knowledge

Land valuation objections in Queensland

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability, #COVID-19

If, as a landowner, you do not agree with your recently received statutory land valuation, you can lodge an objection. In order for an objection to be considered, it must provide sufficient information to demonstrate that the valuation is incorrect. This would likely include valuation evidence based on comparable property sales. The objection must be lodged within 60 days of the date of issue of the valuation notice. For the 2020 annual valuations, this date is 5 May 2020.

08 April 2020 - Knowledge

Review of the EPBC Act – Indigenous knowledge and culture focus

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) is currently under review with submissions invited from stakeholders. This article summarises the issues raised in the review in relation to Indigenous culture and knowledge, which is highlighted as a key focus in the terms of reference for the review.

07 April 2020 - Knowledge

Update: Significant changes made to the NSW Independent Planning Commission

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The NSW Government has made significant changes to the NSW Independent Planning Commission off the back of recommendations made by the NSW Productivity Commission.

06 April 2020 - Knowledge

Queensland’s End of Waste Framework – new codes and opportunities

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

In 2020, Queensland introduced waste codes for tyres and concrete, contributing to a new market for reusable waste under the State’s End of Waste Framework.

03 April 2020 - Knowledge

Weekend work authorised by COVID-19 Planning Response Order: What the change means for existing construction contracts

#Construction & Infrastructure, #Planning, Environment & Sustainability, #Property & Real Estate, #COVID-19

In order to give project participants the ability to mitigate the delays inherent in enforcing social distancing on construction sites, the NSW government has removed any constraint on working days in existing and future consents. We look at what the new order may mean for existing construction contracts.