vgso.vic.gov.au

Planning and Environment

We provide advisory and litigation services to the Victorian Government in relation to all aspects of planning, environment, land valuation and compulsory acquisition, building, heritage and Aboriginal cultural heritage regulation, and natural resources.

We act on behalf of government departments and agencies in a range of proceedings, including judicial and merits review and in the context of compulsory acquisition and compensation matters. 

We also advise and act for the State on development approvals and regulatory compliance processes in government projects - from the project planning stage to the long term implementation of approvals, including appearing before planning panels and inquiry and advisory committees. 

We have broad expertise across a range of areas including:

  • project development and implementation
  • planning scheme amendments
  • urban renewal
  • contaminated land
  • mining and resources
  • forestry
  • energy and climate change
  • water
  • threatened species.
  • We advise on all aspects of the decision making, approvals and regulatory compliance processes under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and planning schemes.

    We have significant experience advising the State on:

    • judicial review of decisions
    • Planning Panel and Standing Advisory Committee hearings and processes
    • pathways for major infrastructure development approval and implementation
    • options for amendments to planning schemes (including expedited amendments)
    • infrastructure contribution schemes under planning scheme provisions
    • the interaction of heritage, environment and other issues with the planning regime
    • the enforcement of statutory agreements, including section 173 Agreements under the Planning and Environment Act 1987
    • agreements under s 69 of the Conservation Forests and Lands Act 1987.

    We also assist government departments and authorities with:

    • merit review applications and appeal proceedings relating to planning permits, particularly where there are multiple government parties
    • proposed legislations, regulations and other subordinate legislation and instruments, including delegations and authorisations
    • drafting and interpretation of planning scheme provisions
    • understanding and exercising their functions.
  • We advise government on all aspects of environmental legislation and regulatory compliance and enforcement. We have a deep understanding and extensive experience advising on matters in relation to both Victorian and Commonwealth environment and resources legislation including:

    We have significant experience advising the State on:

    • approvals and decision-making processes
    • land management in forests including timber harvesting and Regional Forest Agreements
    • environmental risk and regulation, including of contaminated land, waste facilities, bushfire risk and liability for and options to manage water overflows
    • the environment protection regime under the Environment Protection Act 2017, including review and advice on the new regulations, determinations, compliance codes and environment reference standards; and advice on transitional arrangements from the previous Act 
    • natural resources, energy and climate change issues, including approvals and regulatory process
    • the powers of water corporations and the imposition of drainage contribution and in relation to water resource plans under the Water Act 2007 (Cth).

    We also act on behalf of the Victorian Government in judicial review proceedings in relation to authorisation decisions.

  • We have specialised knowledge in relation to built heritage and Aboriginal cultural heritage. We provide advice in relation to registration, compliance, and enforcement issues under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and the Heritage Act 2017

    We have experience in dealing with the interaction of heritage framework with related statutory regimes including, in particular, under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, planning permits and the Victoria Planning Provisions.

  • We provide comprehensive advice and litigation services to statutory authorities in relation to compulsory acquisition and compensation matters under the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 and the Planning and Environment Act 1987

  • We advise the Victorian Government on the regulation and clean-up of contaminated land under the Environment Protection Act 2017. Our expertise includes assisting the State in relation to:

    • compliance with the duty to report and duty to notify,
    • draft and final notices
    • environmental audit requirements
    • improvement plans.

    We provide advisory and litigation services in relation to liability for clean-up costs and environmental and human health impacts of contamination.

    We also advise on regulation of contamination on, or emanating from, Commonwealth land.

  • Our litigation practice specialises in representing the State and its agencies in judicial review and merits review of administrative decision-making proceedings, and proceedings relating to statutory compliance issues affecting departments and agencies.

    We also act in proceedings before Planning Panels Victoria in relation to proposed amendments to the Victorian Planning Provisions and inquiry and advisory committee hearings under the Environmental Effects Act 1978.

Reviewed 02 July 2021

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