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Our Expertise

Planning & Environment

Russell Kennedy maintains one of Victoria’s strongest environment and planning law divisions. We provide specialised and comprehensive legal services for key industry groups. We act for more than 40 Victorian councils and most of Victoria’s water businesses (rural, regional and metropolitan) as well as private clients. We also advise many Government departments and statutory authorities.

Recent Planning And Environment Law Articles

As recognised experts in Planning And Environment Law, our statutory planning advice and representation extends from basic residential and multi-unit development through to detailed planning and environmental issues including contaminated site redevelopment.

Russell Kennedy has skills in the development and preparation of legal and environmental compliance manuals and programs. Our environmental experience includes Environment Protection Authority (EPA) works approvals, licence approvals and research demonstration and development approvals in respect of landfills, composting facilities and prescribed industrial waste reuse.

Two lawyers in Russell Kennedy’s Planning and Environment team have been recognised as among Australia’s best in the 2016 Best Lawyers in Australia list.

Contaminated land advice

Russell Kennedy has significant experience dealing with the purchase, leasing and disposition of potentially contaminated land. We provide sound legal and commercial advice taking into account the environmental legal framework and the factual or technical issues associated with land contamination and remediation. We work collaboratively with our clients to achieve a meaningful outcome while also respecting the local community and environment.

Water law advice

Our water law team’s expertise ranges from industry reform, major infrastructure, governance issues, and waste reuse to pricing issues. We advise clients on groundwater licensing, water trading, compulsory water and storage schemes and ocean outfalls. Our river and catchment advice extends to community drainage schemes, discharge to rivers (including wastewater treatment), vegetation establishment, soil conservation, flood plains issues, dry land and salinity issues, irrigation salinity controls, groundwater contamination issues and conservation farming practices.


Russell Kennedy works closely with timber and forestry clients providing advice on timber production compliance, forest property agreements, reclaimed water for plantation sites, advice on carbon credits, acquisition (including assessment) of plantation sites, commercial and property matters and all aspects of approvals relating to timber production and processing. We advise clients on environmental and planning issues for small farming ventures through to large commercial operations including piggeries, fruit canneries, stock farming, abettors and wineries.

Sustainability and climate change

Our sustainability and climate change experience covers commercial advice in carbon trading licensing issues, energy efficiency/emissions reduction projects, fuel credits and government grants, excise and GST, governance and climate change obligations, recycling and waste processing contracts.

Our team includes specialists on the impact of climate change who advise both public and private sector clients on how to deal with climate change impacts from the outset.

Our property, planning and environment related sustainability advice extends to energy efficiency standards, green lease negotiations, carbon sequestration and Forestry Rights Act 1996 advice, water recycling and governance.

Dispute resolution

Russell Kennedy’s commercial disputes team is committed to resolving disputes in efficient and cost effective ways that produce real outcomes for clients.

By anticipating and understanding the needs of our clients, we regularly resolve disputes before the need for litigation and arbitration arises.

However if the circumstances require us to engage in litigious proceedings on our client’s behalf, our dispute resolution team has the experience to deal with all types of matters in all jurisdictions. We assist our clients with litigation, arbitration, mediation and informal settlement negotiations.

We manage cases of great complexity, involving lengthy hearings before VCAT and legal challenges in the Supreme Court. Our solicitors have extensive advocacy experience and will generally represent councils and private clients personally in courts and tribunals.