Luke Walker
Partner, Sydney
I am an environment and planning specialist with over 13 years' experience in the planning and delivery of multifaceted projects.

I have a strong understanding of how to solve complex environmental issues that arise in large projects and also how to deliver timely and robust planning approvals in both the private and government sectors.

I am a regarded specialist in matters relating to contamination, water licensing, waste, pollution control, heritage and ecology. I have unique expertise in planning and environmental litigation and in dealing with regulators such as the Environment Protection Authority in respect of environmental incidents.

Career highlights

  • Advising on all planning and environmental aspects for Infrastructure NSW and NSW Treasury to deliver the fit for purpose fully outsourced New Grafton Correctional Centre, including planning approval pathways, land access and acquisition. The successful procurement involves a 600 bed greenfield correctional centre as part of a phased infrastructure expansion program to meet the needs of the prison system with respect to efficiency and growth. Specifically I:
    • Acted as the environment and planning lead on the project, utilising his extensive experience advising to the public sector and obtained planning approval for stage 1;
    • Advised on the acquisition procedures necessary to secure the subject site.
  • Defending Benedict Industries Pty Ltd in one of the largest prosecutions in the Land and Environment Court of NSW. The charges were brought by Sutherland Shire Council in respect of alleged environmental offences at the Sandy Point Quarry including the alleged unlawful construction of a bund wall and alleged clearing of trees and bushland vegetation. All charges were dismissed.
  • New Intercity Fleet: Supporting the NSW Government to procure 55.5 new state-of-the-art intercity trains. The project involves the procurement of rolling stock, but also interfaces with the existing network, including maintenance depots and stabling yards. The trains are the next-generation fleet of intercity trains, which will give long-distance customers a more comfortable ride and for the first time make all state trains air-conditioned. Luke is the lead environmental advisor to Government and advised on the pathway required for this project (at State and Commonwealth levels) and on project specific issues such as ecology and heritage matters.
  • Advised ACTEWAGL on the planning approvals required to undertake the Murrumbidgee to Googong Water Pipeline which is a water transfer project designed to ensure sufficient water for the ACT and immediate surrounds. This required consideration of whether the project needed an approval under the Commonwealth Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as well as a range of other state and territory environmental approvals including environment protection licences and water licences.
  • Acting as the planning specialist and advisor to Roads and Maritime Services on the redevelopment of the Wentworth Point urban activation precinct. Luke is providing comprehensive planning advice including in relation to development contributions, access issues; planning approval pathways and the significant environmental issues relating to the site including remediation of land.
  • Advised NSW Treasury on the environment and planning law issues associated with the landmark long term lease of Port Botany and Port Kembla. He provided advice on managing risk relating to environment and maritime issues such as contamination and pollution. Luke was also involved in drafting and negotiating the Development Deed and associated documentation and issues between Sydney Ports Corporation and Patrick Stevedores.
  • Provided advice to Infrastructure NSW (INSW) in relation to the design excellence requirements contained in the local environmental plan and NSW Department of Planning and Environment's Design Excellence Guidelines for the Western Sydney Stadium development.
  • Advising Rio Tinto and Yancoal on all planning and environmental issues arising from their respective mining operations in the Hunter Valley.