With dual qualifications in science and law, my role is not to focus on pure legal issues but to apply critical and robust thinking to the intersection between fact, expert opinion, policy and law.
This is particularly important in environment and planning law when advising on such matters as environmental impact assessment, opportunities under planning law and environmental risks in a context that is subject to public scrutiny and political discretion. In the realm of compulsory acquisitions, it is important that the planning potential and environmental risks be considered in the valuation of land.
I have provided complex planning, environment and government advice to both public and private sector clients in the property, development, infrastructure, energy, resources and manufacturing sectors since 1999. I also advise landowners and tenants on valuation matters relating to compulsory acquisition and land tax objections.
Westpac head office — advised Mirvac on its redevelopment of the ground plane and podium for 275 Kent Street, Sydney. This site has complicated titling and planning approvals. My role has included ensuring that a new voluntary planning agreement replaced earlier commitments by the former developer, advising on floor space ratio controls, considering the underlying and overlying TfNSW and RMS ownership issues.
Mt Gilead/Figtree Hill residential — advised the landowner on the planning proposal pathway, biobanking agreements, biodiversity certification and voluntary planning agreements for this large future residential subdivision in south western Sydney that will house 1,500 homes. I was also involved in defending a legal challenge to the validity of the rezoning by a community public interest group.
Compulsory acquisition of leased and freehold premises — advised multiple tenants and landowners on claims for compensation as a result of the compulsory acquisition of their premises (in whole or in part) including Specsavers, Chemist Warehouse, Gillespies Cranes, Inner West Council, City of Sydney Council, owners corporations (both residential and commercial strata schemes), childcare centre operator, rural property owners, civil engineering businesses, auto repair business, retail store, motel, property development companies and sites e.g. Dexus, Mirvac and Coombes Property Group. I have given advice on the ability to claim compensation, engaged appropriate experts to assess the claim for compensation, negotiated with the resuming authority and settled terms of agreement with resuming authorities and liaised with and made submissions to the Valuer-General on behalf of our clients. Whilst most matters result in a negotiated settlement or a suitable determination by the Valuer-General, I also have experience in running objections to determinations of compensation in the Land and Environment Court.
Apartments/boarding houses — advising Gannet/Aranda Developments on its residential flat building and boarding house developments on the northern beaches. Acted in multiple Land and Environment Court appeals most of which were settled at conciliation conferences.
Investigations and prosecutions — advised on show cause notices, investigations and interviews by regulatory authorities and prosecutions for a variety of clients including development sites, mines and waste facilities.
Alexandria Landfill compensation case — acted for Alexandria Landfill in Land and Environment Court proceedings relating to a compensation claim for the resumption of 15 hectares of land in St Peters for Westconnex. This complex case required consideration of the environmental risks posed by historical landfilling balanced with the future redevelopment potential of the land including its ability to continue to be used for landfilling and recycling purposes.
Mirvac land tax — acted for Mirvac in relation to a land tax valuation appeal for land that is a heritage item within Australian Technology Park.
Macquarie Park — advised Dexus and Stockland on its office redevelopments in Macquarie Park including negotiations with Council and RMS on the approval and in respect of the Stockland development – a voluntary planning agreement.
AkzoNobel — acted for AkzoNobel on the remediation and divestment strategy of land at Grand Avenue, Camellia. The land was listed on the significantly contaminated land register and was subject to a voluntary management agreement at the time of its disposal.
Civil enforcement — acted for a landowner in defending Land and Environment Court proceedings brought by a neighbouring owner that allege breaches of planning laws and the Water Management Act in relation to earthworks and use of the land.
Eastwood Mall — advising Yuhu on its development application for the redevelopment of the Eastwood Shopping Mall precinct including the clause 4.6 objection and voluntary planning agreement.
UDIA NSW — Distinguished Service Award — NSW — 2018
UDIA NSW — Commendation at the UDIA NSW Women in Leadership Awards for Excellence — NSW — 2015
Asia Pacific Legal 500 — Recommended Lawyer, Real Estate — NSW — 2017
Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession — Leading Environmental Lawyer — 2018 - 2020
Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession — Recommended Environment & Climate Change Lawyer – New South Wales — 2020-2021
Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession — Leading Town Planning & Development Lawyer - New South Wales — 2021
The Best Lawyers in Australia — Planning and Environment Law — NSW — Since 2014
Committees and memberships
Committee Member, NSW Law Society Planning and Development Committee
Alternate Member, City of Sydney Planning Panel (NSW)
Vice Chair, Urban Development Institute of Australia (NSW Planning Policy Committee) (NSW)
Member, Australian Sustainable Business Group
Member, Environmental Planning Law Association
Member, Property Council of Australia
Energy & Resources
Mining, Oil & Gas
Property and Commercial Development
Other areas of expertise
State significant development
Valuation and compulsory acquisition
Bachelor of Laws, Macquarie University
Bachelor of Science (Resource & Environmental Management), Macquarie University
“Penny did an excellent negotiation with [confidential] for us and turned a polarised situation into a cooperative move forward. Penny is a great asset to your team.”