Planning and Infrastructure

Our expertise encompasses all aspects of resources development including project development, pollution licensing, contamination, water and the interrelationship between each of these regulated areas. Our extensive expertise in heritage, native title, threatened species and compliance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is crucial to our ability to assist clients in the development of their projects.

We have one of the largest and most experienced extractive industry teams in the Asia Pacific and our specialist practice has been rated the best quarrying law firm in Australia in the Australian Financial Review’s Best Lawyers. Australian hard rock, sand and clay quarries continue to experience significant regulatory pressures. We have invested time and effort in understanding all facets of the extractive industry, enabling us to provide innovative and commercially astute advice on a broad spectrum of environmental and planning issues.

All three levels of government in Australia are involved to varying degrees in making and enforcing the environmental laws which provide mines with a licence to operate. For more than 20 years our lawyers have been working with mining companies in all states and territories, to ensure they meet the requirements of relevant State legislation and important federal laws such as the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). This has led to us being named "an exceptional mining practice" (Chambers, 2012).

Compliance with environmental legislation is vital to maintaining a licence to operate any mine in Australia and our lawyers are engaged throughout the life cycle of major resources projects.

Efficient infrastructure delivery requires a careful balance between considerations of public need, private endeavour, and environmental sustainability within the context of population and services growth pressure.Our environmental and planning specialists work closely with our experts in other practice areas, providing strategic advice to a range of public and private sector clients, grounded in a wealth of industry experience and tailored to achieve the best possible outcomes.

For national infrastructure spanning various jurisdictions with differing planning considerations, a major roadblock is the often unwieldy multitude of government agencies that infrastructure projects must operate under. Our extensive experience operating within this inter-governmental framework means that our clients are equipped with the tools required to take multi-faceted and complex infrastructure projects from the concept stage to realisation.

Infrastructure projects that are confined to a particular state or territory are also subject to specific legislative hurdles, with effective environmental management and compliance consent for project outcomes.

Regardless of whether a particular project relates to energy and resources, ports, transport or social infrastructure, our cross-disciplinary teams possess the specialist knowledge to provide the hands-on advice and guidance needed to navigate through these evolving regulatory regimes, as they offer each stage in the life cycle of an infrastructure project.

National quarry projects

Providing ongoing advice to Boral on planning approvals for quarries (Lawnton, Yatala, Roseneath, North Ipswich, Moy Pocket, Mackay (Cedars), Tannum Sands, Redlynch, Redbank Plains and Purga quarries) and conversions of quarries to residential areas (Lawnton), infrastructure contribution levies and greenhouse reporting requirements.

New South Wales Interstate Rail Network Restructure

Advised NSW Government in relation to a major restructure of the State's non-metropolitan rail system which included an investment of A$800 million+ in rail infrastructure by the Commonwealth Government. The arrangements effectively incorporated 3000kms of NSW interstate and Hunter Valley mainline railway track under the same operation and management as the interstate standard gauge mainline railway track. We also subsequently advised on commercial arrangements in relation to the take up by ARTC of the Metropolitan Freight Network and the Southern Sydney Freight Line.

Port of Melbourne Channel Deepening Project

Advised Port of Melbourne Channel Deepening, one of the largest infrastructure projects conducted by the Victorian Government in recent times, seen as critical to the Port and Australia's position in global shipping. As key advisers to the Port of Melbourne Corporation, we advised on many aspects of the project, including the Supplementary Environmental Effects Statement and managed the public hearing process Federal Court litigation over the Federal Government's environmental approval for the dredging, cultural and Aboriginal heritage issues, relocation of essential infrastructure under the Yarra River, the resolution of the alliance dredging contract, and land tenure issues relating to land assets affected by the project.

Lend Lease retail projects - QLD

Advised Lend Lease in obtaining approval for a major extension of the Sunshine Plaza regional shopping centre, valued at $400 million. We are also advising Lend Lease on the integrity of the Cairns Planning Scheme in planning litigation challenging the role of the Cairns Central Shopping Centre.

A$1.75 billion sale and privatisation of Port of Newcastle

The sole legal adviser to NSW Treasury in relation to the $1.75 billion sale (by way of long term lease) and privatisation of Port of Newcastle, which is the world's largest coal export port. The A$1.75 billion restructure and refinancing transaction establishes a new benchmark in transaction preparation and execution, as reflected in the financial outcome which significantly exceeded market expectations. The transaction will free up much needed capital to help the NSW Government fund the revitalisation of the Newcastle CBD, and a backlog of other critical public infrastructure across New South Wales, including hospitals, schools and roads.