Rory O’Connor


Qualifications: LLB, BA



With over 16 years’ experience in planning and environmental law, Rory has a focus on major projects and infrastructure and large scale infill and growth area development projects. He has experience in planning and environment, including development approvals across a broad scale, compulsory land acquisition, due diligence and risk advice, retail planning, land fill, geotechnical and contaminated land matters, prosecutions, enforcement and water law.

Rory has an excellent understanding of the statutory environmental and planning approvals process for major projects under the Planning and Environment Act, the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009 and associated referrals under the Environment Effects Act 1978 and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. Rory has developed a reputation for being able to cut through and make sense of complex technical issues and planning disputes.

A skilled negotiator and advocate, Rory regularly appears in review proceedings before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) before Advisory Committees and at Planning Panels.


  • Acting for VicRoads on a range of major projects including the Westgate Tunnel, the Horsham Bypass, the Punt Road Public Acquisition Overlay Advisory Committee, the Chandler Highway upgrade at Alphington and O’Herns Road duplication and Hume interchange at Epping. This has involved advising on a range of technical planning, licensing, land acquisition and compensation, interface, regulatory and compliance issues and preparing a range of complex planning and delivery agreements.
  • Advising and acting for Melbourne University and Australian Catholic University in relation to a number of development projects across their respective campuses.
  • Advising and acting for Coles and Bunnings on a range of retail development proposals across Melbourne and regional Victoria.
  • Advising on all aspects of land valuation and land acquisition matters in major state government transport and infrastructure projects for both claimants and authorities, including Regional Rail (acting for Lendlease) and the Desalination Plant pipeline acquisitions (acting for DELWP).
  • Acting for and advising a range of large and small scale property developers in respect of planning scheme amendments and planning permits.
  • Appearing at VCAT in relation to a broad spectrum of planning application disputes.
  • Assisting and advising various hospitals and healthcare facilities, including Cabrini in relation to the Cabrini Hospital New Clinical Building in Malvern, Ramsay Health in relation to ongoing redevelopment of the Warringal Hospital and Calvary Healthcare in relation to their Bethlehem Hospital Redevelopment in South Caulfield.
  • Advising and appearing for Regional Development Victoria regarding the Ballarat Station Precinct Redevelopment Advisory Committee.
  • Advising and appearing for DHHS in Stage 1 of the Public Housing Renewal Project Advisory Committee hearings.

Awards and recognition

Best Lawyers in Australia 2021-2024
Recognised – Planning & Environmental Law
The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2023 & 2024
Recommended – Environment and planning
Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession 2020-2023
Town Planning & Development Lawyers (Victoria)

Professional Membership

  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Victorian Planning & Environmental Law Association,
  • Urban Development Institute of Australia

Latest thinking

Environmental, Social and Governance | 9 Nov 2022

Winds of change: implementation of offshore wind, onshore connections and the social licence to operate

Energy and excitement are in the air, as well as some trepidation, over the development and facilitation of the new Victorian offshore wind sector. We share our insights.