Environment and Planning

Minter Ellison's environment and planning team is renowned for its depth of expertise and comprehensive on-the-ground resources throughout Australia and in New Zealand, with client comments in Chambers publications describing our team as:

"Excellent in terms of its knowledge, service and responsiveness."

"They have expertise in every aspect of law: if things spill over into fresh areas, Minters will have an expert there too. Their greatest strength is their diversity. They also report frequently on developments and are very responsive."

"The lawyers' experience and understanding of law is impressive."

We work as a team across all jurisdictions, with the benefit of strategic and commercial advice that comes with thorough local knowledge.

Our team is at the forefront of policy development and many of our lawyers have first-hand experience working in environment, resource and planning agencies, and engaging with industry bodies. With the increasing focus on environmental impacts, our public and private sector clients rely on us to provide strategic advice in an area of law that is rapidly evolving and has a significant impact on business operations.

Our environment and planning law practice encompasses project design through to approval, implementation and operation. We advise and assist in obtaining the necessary licences and permits for projects or business operations., and we regularly advise clients on environment and planning approvals; environmental regulation and compliance; climate change and renewable energy; land resumptions; compensation and valuation; native title and aboriginal land claims; heritage; vegetation and biodiversity management.

Our experience spans a diverse range of environmentally sensitive industries, including mining, waste management, urban renewal and retail, industrial, commercial and residential development. We provide realistic response strategies to minimise risks associated with environment and planning litigation, investigations and prosecutions.

We provide a range of advice and representation on matters arising under the various state and territory laws and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act). This includes the preparation of due diligence advice for the acquisition of major infrastructure with potential effects on native vegetation and biodiversity values, advice on vegetation clearance approvals regimes, and negotiation of vegetation and biodiversity management agreements.

Development projects require legal solutions from advisers who understand how the industry operates. Over the past five years we have been the legal and strategic adviser to more than 80 major water projects in Australia and Asia. We advise water industry participants, developers and the public sector on issues including reforms, access rights and transferability, environmental impacts and construction of new infrastructure (particularly using innovative methods of project delivery and funding). Furthermore, our environmental law specialists advise owners and operators of water and sewerage infrastructure on their regulatory rights and obligation for water resource management planning and compliance.

We also advise on a variety of waste management related issues, including preliminary planning, environmental approvals, licences or permits, stakeholder engagement, negotiations with authorities, project financing, ongoing compliance, climate change obligations and opportunities, litigation and dispute resolution, and project decommission.

Our key point of difference is our ability to provide tailored and cross-disciplinary teams for the life cycle of a project and our experience and depth of capability enables us to provide advice that is practical and commercially sound.

6 August 2014

The Queensland government has released consultation drafts of the Planning and Development Bill 2014 and the Planning and Environment Court Bill 2014, proposing to replace the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld). The Bills seek to implement a new land-use planning and development assessment system to promote prosperity across the state.

12 September 2013

Australia has a new federal Government, but we may yet face another year or so of uncertainty in the carbon arena as the Coalition Government seeks to deliver on its carbon policy commitments. One of the Coalition Government's key election promises is the abolition of the outgoing Labor Government's Carbon Pricing Mechanism (CPM) by 1 July 2014 or sooner if possible. The Coalition intends to replace the CPM with its 'Direct Action Plan'.

30 July 2013

Minter Ellison has contributed the Australia chapter for the publication The Energy Regulation and Markets Review, published by Law Business Research Ltd in the UK.

28 June 2013

On 21 June 2013, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) was amended to include a new matter of national environmental significance in relation to coal seam gas (CSG) and large coal mining development - the 'water trigger'. As a result, more CSG and coal mining developments will require EPBC Act approval.

24 June 2013

The government has recently released its National Food Plan, a roadmap for the future development of Australia's food and agriculture industry. Its key focus is on ensuring that Australia has 'a sustainable, globally competitive, resilient food supply, supporting access to nutritious and affordable food'. We review how the National Food Plan responds to the trends, opportunities and challenges facing Australia's food and agriculture industry in the 21st Century.