Minter Ellison

John Whitehouse
John is a leading planning and environmental lawyer specialising in planning, environment, local government and mining law. He is the co-author of New South Wales' Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, the Land & Environment Court Act and the Heritage Act, and he has reviewed various other state legislation.
  • +61 2 9921 4285
  • +61 412 130 457

His extensive knowledge of all aspects of environmental management stems from his roles as special adviser to the Minister for Planning and Environment, Assistant Director of the New South Wales Department of Environment and Planning and Director-General of the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

John has experience working with government, in formulating policy and in progressing complex development schemes on public land. He is frequently called upon to advise government authorities in the development of planning policy and the implementation of that policy.

Career Highlights

  • Caroona Coal Project exploration and access advice
    Advised Coal Mines Australia (a BHP Billiton subsidiary) on the Caroona Coal Project, the largest coal exploration project in Australia. We advise on strategic planning, environmental, mining and exploration access issues. We also acted in proceedings in the NSW Land and Environment Court and the NSW Supreme Court on several mining law matters.
  • Expansion of Kooragang and Carrington Coal Terminals
    Acting for Port Waratah Coal Services Limited (a privately owned facility, the largest shareholder of which is Rio Tinto Coal Australia Limited) in the redevelopment and expansion of the Kooragang Coal Terminal and the Carrington Coal Terminal in the Port of Newcastle.
  • 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.
  • Port Kembla Harbour Expansion
    Advised Port Kembla Port Corporation in relation to its project to expand the cargo handling facilities at Port Kembla. The project involved the expansion of cargo handling facilities, redevelopment of the terminal and construction of a new wharf which required dredging in the Inner Harbour. This transaction was widely considered to establish a new benchmark in transaction preparation and execution.
  • 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.