Public Sector

 
The Hall & Wilcox team brings deep expertise and a fresh perspective to our public sector clients, providing the full range of legal services to our government clients. We partner with clients at all levels of government, adding real value to each engagement.

Public sector organisations operate in a unique legislative and regulatory environment, with complex legal, commercial and political concerns. We have been advising government entities for many years, and our people understand the culture and dynamics of the public sector environment. We are practised model litigants, appreciating that the solution to a problem often requires a careful balance of policy, administrative and strategic imperatives.

Working with Government is a strategic priority, and our significant expertise has resulted in our practice continuing to expand nationally. We are on whole-of-State government legal services panels in Victoria, New South Wales and the Northern Territory, and we advise a large number of local governments across Australia. We support State and Commonwealth Governments on tax technical disputes and pre-litigation advice.

We wholeheartedly support government initiatives, from sustainability, gender equity and support for local business, to SMEs, First Nations organisations and vulnerable groups through our Pro Bono and Community practice. We have a dedicated Public Sector Industry Group, led by Partner Kathryn Howard, and provide a specialist quarterly publication, Public Law, for our public sector clients.

We provide a snapshot of our recent expertise and achievements below.

Partner Brad Marland discusses some of the key issues facing local government in South East Queensland, including human capital, digital transformation, infrastructure and transport projects and a booming population.

State Government

Redevelopment of Pasminco smelter site for the Hunter & Central Coast Development Corporation (HCCDC), NSW

Advised  HCCDC in relation to the redevelopment of the former Pasminco smelter site at Boolaroo, which involved two separate projects – a proposed multi-staged residential development by Green Capital Group and Costco Wholesale Australia’s first NSW regional warehouse. The NSW Government estimates that the projects will inject approximately $300 million into the local economy.

Brompton Lodge, defence of financial loss claim for Head, Transport for Victoria (TfV), Victoria

Advised the Head, TfV in its successful defence of a $35 million claim for alleged financial loss on sale under s 106 under the Planning and Environment Act. At first instance and on appeal, the Court held that an owner must demonstrate actual loss as a consequence of the reservation. The owners received no award of compensation from the Court, and are obliged to pay the Head, TfV’s costs. Brompton Lodge is now one of the leading authorities in Victoria on s 106.

Life Journeys Program for the Department of Customer Service, NSW

Advising the Life Journeys program team, which uses digital platforms to enable NSW citizens to have seamless and connected interactions with the NSW Government at key life events, on programs such as the Australian Death Notification Service and the ‘End of Life’ (EOL) phase of the program.

Advice on industrial action and enterprise agreements for public sector rail operator, Victoria

Acting for a public sector regional rail operator in section 418 and 424 applications to stop unprotected industrial action and protected industrial action threatening the health and safety of the community. Drawing on our strong technical understanding of Fair Work Act, our litigation expertise and our extensive experience advising clients on industrial strategy and stakeholder management, we successfully assisted our client to prevent the most disruptive forms of industrial action from occurring. We subsequently provided legal support regarding bargaining for the new enterprise agreement, including advising on applicable State specific public sector industrial relations policies, applicable constitutional principles including the Melbourne Corporation principle and requirements under the Fair Work Act.

Solar Homes Program for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Victoria

Advising the Victorian government on its $1.5 billion Solar Homes Program, under which grants and loans are made available to home owners to fund domestic solar installations (including recent battery installations). Innovative features of the scheme include making available loans and grants for tenanted properties and for distributed control of batteries (ie ‘virtual power stations’). We drafted the project framework and guidelines, as well as the various documents that recipients of funding enter into, and advised on compliance with energy regulatory requirements and matters such as the residential tenancies legislation.

Local Government

Concord Oval redevelopment for the City of Canada Bay, NSW

Advising City of Canada Bay on the $75 million redevelopment of Concord Oval, transforming it into a world-class sporting, recreation and community facility.

Werribee City Centre redevelopment for Wyndham City Council, Victoria

Advised Wyndham City Council on its largest development project undertaken, which will deliver two commercial buildings and two residential apartment buildings, including 3,000 square metres of Council space, a new public library and learning centre and approximately 1,000 new car parks. This was a complex project with multiple stakeholders.

Employment advice – COVID-19 and WHS for Tweed Shire Council, NSW

Advised Tweed Shire Council on COVID issues associated with the management and rental of council properties, liability issues that could arise in the event of a failure to apply or comply with COVID safety plans and advice regarding public liability and WHS connected with public events.

Providing advice on Local Government Code of Meeting Practice, for a local council, NSW

Providing a Council with ongoing advice regarding proposed Notices of Motion on a high profile and significant project. Political sensitivities associated with the project resulted in a complex Notice of Motion that required urgent legal advice on its legality and efficacy, including the power of the General Manager under the Code of Meeting Practice. We provided a matrix analysis that aided Council’s Executive Team to deal with the proposed notice of motion in a respectful and timely manner. There was a highly positive outcome that allowed Council to move the project to the next stage.

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Webinars

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Public Law National Webinar Series 2022

Hall & Wilcox is delighted to bring you a series of webinars that will explore and offer practical insights on a range of key issues facing the public sector.

Public Law publication

Public Law is Hall & Wilcox’s key quarterly publication for our government clients. Edited by Industry Group lead, Kathryn Howard, it has a national readership and profiles topics of interest to our government readership.

If you have an initiative you would like us to profile, Kathryn would love to hear from you.

Key contact

Kathryn Howard

Partner

Head of Public sector

Kathryn leads the Public Sector industry group at Hall & Wilcox, and is a commercial dispute resolution practice partner.

Our team

Hall & Wilcox Partner Natalie Bannister headshot
Natalie Bannister

Partner & Commercial National Practice Leader

Headshot of Hall & Wilcox Partner Alison Choy Flannigan 900x500 pixels
Alison Choy Flannigan

Partner & Leader, Health & Community

Hall & Wilcox Partner John Gray headshot
John Gray

Partner, Technology and Digital Economy Co-Lead & NSW Government Co-Lead

Hall & Wilcox Partner Ben Hamilton headshot
Ben Hamilton

Partner & Tech Week Leader

Rhett Slocombe

Partner & Insurance National Practice Leader

Hall & Wilcox Senior Commercial Counsel Peter Jones headshot
Peter Jones

Senior Commercial Counsel

Related thinking

Public Sector| 04 Aug 2022

Key issues for local government in South East Queensland

Partner Brad Marland discusses some of the key issues facing local government in South East Queensland.

Public Sector| 07 Jul 2022

Electric vehicles charge contractual and procurement issues

The transition away from traditional diesel-operated vehicles within bus networks exposes issues with current contractual and procurement frameworks.

Public Sector| 07 Jun 2022

Risky business: strengthening fraud and integrity controls over local government grants

In a recent assurance report directed to the Victorian Parliament, the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office has strongly criticised the lack of consistent use of fraud controls within several Victorian councils.

Public Sector| 30 May 2022

Public Law – Issue 14

In our autumn edition of Public Law, we find out more about the inspiring work HousingFirst is doing in the social and affordable housing area, and much more.