Our environment team advises on land contamination, risk allocation, incident management, prosecutions and environmental litigation, reviewing and advising on environmental site assessments, remediation action plans and construction management plans. We also advise on communicating with environmental engineers, regulatory agencies, local councils and the EPA to ensure environmental risk and liability are appropriately managed. We also act in relation to environmental effects statement processes.
The team is a recommended Environment law firm in the 2015 Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession.
- Advising numerous property developers about the environmental aspects of brownfield and infill development.
- Advising the Commonwealth Department of Defence in relation to significant land contamination and project development issues arising from brownfield sites around Victoria.
- Advising a major oil company in relation to its environmental obligations and liabilities in respect of properties in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
- Advising petroleum companies in relation to refining operations and compliance, negotiating licence renewals, and advising in respect of environmental contamination and incidents.
- Acting as an independent expert for four petroleum companies in providing opinion as to the allocation of liability for environmental contamination.
- Acting for the plaintiff in Premier Building and Consulting Pty Ltd v Spotless Group Ltd – the largest environmental contamination liability case to be tried in Australia.
- Advising a group of metropolitan municipal councils about the environmental rules and regulations associated with obsolete landfill sites and assisting with pollution abatement notices.
- Advising the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on the implementation of a suite of reform recommendations arising from an independent enquiry into the Environment Protection Act 1970.
- Assisting with an Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Effects Act approval process associated with a significant Victorian energy infrastructure project.
- Negotiating a conservation agreement between Parramatta City Council and Federal Office of Environment & Heritage relating to Federal approval for developments that are in the proximity of world heritage listed sites.
- Advising on interpretation of planning instruments that set out ecologically sustainable (ESD) objectives.
- Advising councils and other organisations on tri-generation technology combining cooling, heating and power in the assessment process for buildings proposed for development.
- Acting for a local council in relation to an unlawfully operated recycling plant, including advising the council in relation to its role and responsibilities and the broader legal framework and assisting to develop a position paper used by the authorities to consider the way forward on a significant environmental issue.
- Providing advice on proposed orders to be issued under s.124 of the Local Government Act, s. 121B of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, and notices and orders under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act.
- Providing advice on the management of land contamination affecting or potentially affecting land owned or managed by local council clients, including advice on the operation of the Contaminated Land Management Act and State Environmental Planning Policy No 55 - Remediation of Land.
- Defending numerous prosecutions instituted by the EPA Vic against a civil works contractor.
Thinking| 26 May 2020
The Victorian Supreme Court last week sentenced four companies a total of $380,000 for 12 air pollution offences arising from the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire, the largest and longest mine fire ever to occur in the Latrobe Valley. In handing down fines of $95,000 for each company , the court noted that the fire resulted in health, financial and psychological impacts on the Morwell community and that a large number of people were exposed to the air pollution that occurred as a result of the fire.
COVID-19 Thinking| 27 Apr 2020
The Victorian Government has passed the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020, which amends environment, planning and local government laws to assist with keeping the planning system moving. However, significant amendments to the Environment Protection Act 1970, which were expected to be operational on 1 July 2020, will now be delayed.
Thinking| 23 Nov 2016
A recent decision of the Land and Environment Court of NSW, EMRR Pty Ltd v Murray Shire Council  NSWLEC 144, discusses the definition of ‘temporary use of land’ in the relevant Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and held that activities ancillary to the proposed temporary use of the land should not be included in the calculation of the maximum period allowed for the temporary use of that activity.
Thinking| 11 Oct 2016
The recent Land and Environment Court decision in Haddad v Council of the City of Ryde  NSWLEC 1386 considers the interesting issue of existing use rights and the circumstances in which an existing use can be changed, even if the particular use is prohibited by the relevant planning scheme.