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Thomas is a specialist in planning, environment, administrative and government law with over 15 years’ experience helping both private and public sector clients achieve ambitious goals. Thomas’ expertise is particularly sought where clients are faced with complex legal problems requiring clear thinking and a confident pathway forward. With significant experience in the private sector and as a senior executive lawyer in the NSW Government, including as General Counsel of a government authority, Thomas deploys his expertise and experience to find practical and robust solutions for clients when it matters most.


Thomas’s experience includes:

  • advising on the legality of a unique suite of consent conditions, providing the client with a clear pathway to grant consent for a prominent development in the resources and energy sector
  • unlocking significant value for a client in the education sector by confirming the permissibility of a unique and complex, multi-faceted precinct development
  • leading the drafting of major legislative amendments to the Mining Act 1992 and the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991
  • advising on permissibility and regulatory issues in relation to aged care and seniors living for a prominent institutional developer
  • advising on a range of complex rezoning, planning and development issues for a high net worth emerging developer
  • leading on prominent and successful major litigation to defend the validity of a development consent granted for the demolition phase of a social infrastructure redevelopment
  • preparing a successful prosecution relating to the dumping of waste in waters, under a provision of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 which had not been previously tested
  • being brought in for his specialist expertise in the drafting of legislation and government instruments, to review and overhaul the EPA’s draft Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval and Protocols, and to provide a final to ensure robust internal consistency of drafting and usability ‘in the field’
  • drafting various instruments and agreements for Government clients, including unique transitional agreements relating to the legislative overhaul of the coal mine subsidence regime, and key constitutional and procedural documents for agencies, such as instruments of delegation.


17 November 2023 - Knowledge

Not so fast: New guidelines for the withdrawal of development applications in NSW

#Property, Planning & Development

We look at what the new guidelines mean for the development application assessment process and explore practical steps councils can take to ensure compliance.

26 October 2023 - Knowledge

Tiptoeing around the ‘tipping point’ – limits to amending a development application before it is determined

#Property, Planning & Development

Two recent cases remind us of the ‘tipping point’ where proposed amendments to a development application push development into being a new application altogether. We examine five principles of the case in detail.

12 October 2023 - Knowledge

10 key takeaways from the incoming amendments to clause 4.6

#Property, Planning & Development

From 1 November 2023, development applications seeking an exception to a development standard will need to address an amended clause 4.6 of the Standard Instrument. Although not too different from the existing requirements, the development industry and government should keep a close watch on how these minor changes are addressed going forward.

05 October 2023 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin: Same site, different DA: Dealing with multiple consents for the same land

#Government, #Property, Planning & Development

As Councils continue to deal with multiple development applications being lodged for the same development, or additional development applications being lodged for land where an existing consent operates, we explore the various ways Council can accommodate multiple development consents to avoid inconsistencies.

27 September 2023 - Knowledge

Reminder on the limits to imposing conditions when modifying development consents

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

A recent court case considered whether a council had power to impose a ‘deferred commencement condition’ when approving a modification to a development consent. We look at the key findings and broader scope of the power to impose conditions.

17 May 2023 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin: Housing supply crisis in NSW – challenges & opportunities in planning

#Government, #Planning, Environment & Sustainability, #Property, Planning & Development

The challenges outlined in the State of the Nation's Housing Report highlight the pressing need for legal and regulatory change to address the housing supply crisis in NSW. In this edition, we discuss some opportunities for government from a planning perspective.