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Environment and Planning
Major infrastructure projects
Brendan has had more than two decades' experience advising on environmental impact assessments and approvals under State and Commonwealth legislation for major infrastructure projects, covering rail, road, airports, water, electricity generation and transmission, urban renewal and social infrastructure projects. Examples include:
Brendan has advised numerous NSW rail agencies on environmental and planning issues in respect of major rail projects and operations. In particular, Brendan acted on:
- the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link project
- the Chatswood and Parramatta Transport Interchanges
- the CBD Metro project
- Newcastle Light Rail project
- Sydney Metro Northwest
- Sydney Metro City & Southwest
- Sydney Metro West
Work included advising on land acquisition strategies and all issues relating to the compulsory acquisition of land for the purpose of those projects. Brendan also acted in Supreme Court proceedings challenging the validity of acquisitions of sub-strata land.
Brendan has advised on environmental impact assessment (EIA) processes concerning the M5 East and M7 motorways, and EIA processes in respect of various bridge and road upgrades. He has also advised and acted for Transport for NSW in appeals against determinations of compensation for the acquisition of land for numerous linear road developments including:
- North-West Transit-way
- Cross City Tunnel
- Pacific, Oxley and Olympic Highways upgrade projects
- Sydney Gateway
- M12 Motorway
- M6 Motorway
- Western Harbour Tunnel
- Beaches Link project
- Barangaroo: Brendan advised on complex project planning approval and environmental licensing issues relating to the $7bn Barangaroo urban renewal project, including advising on planning approval pathways, the application of transitional provisions under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) on a concept plan approval under the repealed Part 3A, defending a number of challenges to the validity of project approvals, and advising on land contamination issues.
- Sydney International Convention Centre: Brendan advised Infrastructure NSW on environment and planning assessment issues associated with the $2.5bn SICC project, including planning approval pathways and the application of transitional arrangements under the EP&A Act, land contamination and remediation issues. He is also advising on planning approval and appeal pre-conditions to financial close in the project deed. Brendan advised on the establishment of the temporary convention facility at Glebe Island, including environmental licensing.
- TransGrid: Brendan is advising on environmental assessment and planning approval requirements in respect of numerous new transmission line and upgrade projects, including:
- NSW-Queensland Interconnector project
- New England Renewable Energy Hub
- Snowy 2.0 project
- Project Energy Connect
- Delta Electricity: Brendan advised on planning approvals and defending challenges to validity of project approval for Munmorah Power Station refurbishment and Vales Point power station turbine upgrade.
Brendan has advised a large number of corporate and government clients on land contamination and remediation issues including obligations to report contaminated sites and site audit processes. In particular, he regularly advises on contamination issues in the context of the disposal or acquisition of industrial sites, and has acted in some of the largest brownfield redevelopments in NSW.
Clients include Multiplex, BP Australia, Generator Property Management Limited, Delta Electricity, OneSteel, Toyota, Origin Energy, AGL, Alcoa, Boral, Barloworld, HRL, Syngenta and various financial institutions and State Government agencies.
Other areas where Brendan regularly provides advice include:
- Environmental and pollution incident management and investigation
- Environmental licensing and compliance
- Environmental and planning litigation including challenges to project approvals, defending public interest litigation through civil enforcement and judicial review proceedings
- Heritage and Aboriginal heritage
- Biodiversity protection and offsets
- Energy and resource projects
See Environment and Planning
Climate Change and Sustainability
Brendan advises clients on reporting obligations under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS), trading in carbon and other green rights through various sequestration projects including reforestation and soil carbon projects, design of carbon capture and injection legislation, environmental upgrade and energy performance agreements for commercial buildings, energy efficiency schemes and sustainability programs. He has also advised on issues relating to the various proposals to introduce a price for carbon in the Australian economy including the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), the Carbon Price Mechanism (CPM), the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) and more recently the Carbon Solutions Fund and Safeguard Mechanism.
Clients have included various Commonwealth and State agencies, Qube Logistics, Macquarie Generation, EnergyAustralia, Delta Electricity, Sibelco Australia, Alcoa Australia, Liberty OneSteel, Ecogen, Hydro Tasmania, Brickworks, Leighton Contractors, Origin Energy, Sydney Water, HRL Limited, Woolworths Limited and Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Brendan has also acted in numerous legal challenges to project approvals and environmental licences on the basis of climate change impacts.
Brendan was a founding director of the Carbon Market Institute, and co-Chair of the Australian Legal Sector Alliance.
Brendan has attended, as part of the Australian business delegation COP14 (2008), COP15 (2009), COP21 (2015), COP23 (2017) and COP25 (2019) which demonstrates his strong commitment to and investment in staying at the forefront of this important area of law for our clients – current and future.
See Climate Change
Administrative and Public Law
Brendan has advised numerous NSW Government agencies on their statutory powers and functions, administrative decision-making processes, government information disclosure obligations and compliance with Legislative Council calls for papers under Standing Order No. 52. Clients include Roads and Maritime Services, Transport for NSW, Centennial and Moore Park Trust, Barangaroo Delivery Authority, Greater Sydney Commission, NSW Rural Fire Service, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Sydney Water Corporation, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Department of Planning and Environment, Office of Sport, Venues NSW and Office of Environment and Heritage.
See Administrative and Public Law
Investigations and Crisis Management
Brendan has advised a large number of corporate and government clients on environmental and pollution incidents. He regularly advises clients on investigations into environmental incidents and other regulatory actions, including responding to statutory notices and defending actual or threatened prosecutions.
See Investigations and Crisis Management