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Sonia Mortimer

LLB

Special Counsel - Brisbane

Areas of Expertise

Planning, Environment & Sustainability

Expertise

Sonia has over 16 years’ experience providing legal services to all tiers of government, water/ wastewater distributor retailers, corporate clients and individuals in the areas of property development, planning and environmental law, local government law, waste management and compulsory acquisition.

Having worked ‘in-house’ for Queensland Government and a water/ wastewater utility, Sonia brings a practical understanding of the competing viewpoints of stakeholders that results in achieving practical solutions for her clients.

Sonia’s expertise includes:

  • representing and advising Commonwealth, State and local government on issues of administrative law and judicial review, statutory interpretation, policy, risk management and public interest considerations
  • prosecuting and defending development, land use and vegetation clearing offences
  • Planning and Environment Court, Magistrates Court, Court of Appeal and Land Court Litigation
  • advising on approval pathways and processes, compliance and enforcement, vegetation clearing, waste management and infrastructure charging
  • negotiating infrastructure agreements, land access and environmental offsets agreements
  • advising water/ wastewater utilities on compliance enforcement, corporate governance issues and corporate environmental compliance
  • drafting government policy and statutory planning documents
  • drafting compliance enforcement and incident response guidelines
  • planning and environment due diligence for renewables projects, property transactions or share acquisitions.

Experience

Sonia’s experience includes:

  • Queensland Government Department of Local Government, Infrastructure and Planning (now DSDILGP) – (as a full time secondee to the Department) advising on the implementation of the state assessment referral agency function, reviewing draft state development assessment provisions and IDAS forms. Advising on various planning law issues, including proposed planning law reforms to the draft Cairns Airport Land Use Plan and State Planning Policy
  • Gold Coast City Council – acted in numerous Planning and Environment Court appeals, particularly in respect of conditions of approval and infrastructure charges. Provided various advices on issues arising out of changes to the infrastructure charging regime
  • Gold Coast City Council – advised Council on its draft City Plan, submissions on the draft and compliance with State Planning Policy
  • Brisbane City Council – advised on council’s review of its Brisbane Infrastructure Charges Resolution (No. 6) 2017
  • Sunshine Coast Council - International Broadband Submarine Cable Project – reviewed council’s business case as to the planning approvals required for telecommunications infrastructure
  • Scenic Rim Regional Council – acted in various Planning and Environment Court proceedings, including an appeal against Council’s refusal of an application for extractive industry (sand mining and processing) at Undullah by Pacific International Development Corporation
  • Logan City Council – acted in various Planning and Environment Court appeals and prosecutions in the Magistrate’s Court for land use offences.  Provided various advices on corporate governance
  • Toowoomba Regional Council – acted in various Planning and Environment Court Appeals
  • Indigenous local governments – advised several indigenous councils on development assessment functions and processes
  • Queensland Urban Utilities (as in-house counsel) – delivered a new enforcement capability and various water approval assessment efficiencies, advised on a wide range of issues in the assessment of specific water approval applications including Billbergia’s Skytower in Brisbane, provided a broad range of legal advices, including issues relating to historical infrastructure agreements ‘inherited’ from its local government shareholders, corporate governance and delegations
  • Federal Government Australian Digital Health Agency – advised on agreements with Queensland local governments for the distribution of My Health Record information
  • Sunland Group – acted in numerous Planning and Environment Court appeal and Court of Appeal proceedings
  • Tenix Holding Australia – advised on environmental aspects of various water treatment plant operator contracts 
  • Large private equity firm – advised on waste management practices and planning approval issues on a chain of diagnostic imaging clinics in Queensland
  • Hasting Deering – planning and environment due diligence on property holdings in share acquisition
  • Lendlease – providing strategic advice regarding several development approvals for large commercial developments in the context of joint venture negotiations, including consideration of vegetation clearing regime amendments
  • Frasers Property Australia – advised on development approval requirements, environmental offsets and infrastructure agreements in respect of Frasers’ masterplanned Brookhaven community at Bahrs Scrub
  • Queensland Gas Company Ltd – advised on various issues relating to environmental authorities in the context of arbitration and BCIPA claims relating to its Curtis LNG pipeline project
  • National Storage – completion of planning due diligence on Currumbin site
  • Woolworths Group – completed the Queensland component of a national due diligence investigation relating to Woolworths property holdings
  • Queensland Injectors’ Health Network – successfully appealed (on a pro-bono basis) a local government’s decision to refuse an injectors’ health clinic and needle exchange centre
  • Large financier client – advised on the extensive and complex environment and planning history of a large north Queensland luxury hotel resort and associated residential developments as part of financier due diligence.

Upcoming Seminars