Rory O’Connor


Qualifications: LLB, BA



Rory has over 10 years’ experience in planning and environmental law and was recognised in 2016 as a “Rising Star” in Planning and Environment, and again in 2018 as a Recommended Town Planning & Development Lawyer in the Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession. Rory has a focus on major projects and infrastructure and large scale infill and growth area development projects. He has experience in 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 primarily acts for private developers and institutional clients, but more recently has worked closely with state government clients and authorities on a number of large scale infrastructure, transport and housing projects. He is passionate about planning and environmental issues in his community and he works closely with his clients to develop strategies that mitigate risk; save them time and money; and achieve outstanding results. Rory provides timely, strategic, commercially-minded advice with a focus on practical outcomes and solutions.

Rory is a skilled advocate and he regularly appears in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), before Planning Panels Victoria and in prosecutions in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. Rory has demonstrated ability in effectively engaging with parties to resolve disputes quickly and efficiently to achieve the best outcome for his clients.

Rory is a member of the Victorian Planning & Environmental Law Association, the Law Institute of Victoria and Urban Development Institute of Australia.


  • 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 2021-2023
Recognised – Planning & Environmental Law
Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession 2020-2022
Town Planning & Development Lawyers (Victoria)

Professional Membership

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

Latest thinking

Public Sector | 7 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.