Teresa is a leading specialist in planning, environment, administrative and government law, with significant experience as both a private sector lawyer and as a senior executive lawyer for the NSW Government. In these roles, she has helped both her private and public sector clients achieve ambitious goals in a range of complex policy areas and delivered substantial packages of legislative reform.
Teresa has a particular interest in planning (including planning pathways, certification, infrastructure contributions and major projects), environmental due diligence and statutory processes, climate change, energy, local government and water law. She also regularly assists Government departments, as well as local councils with complex procurement processes and advised them on probity and process issues.
Client focused and passionate about delivering outstanding legal services that are innovative, practical and robust, Teresa helps to deliver solutions that meet her client’s objectives. Prior to joining Maddocks, Teresa practised inhouse at both the Department of Planning and Environment and the Department of Industry.
Teresa has built on her NSW Government experience at Maddocks to expand her practice to now provide regular advice on complex procurement and contract processes, due-diligence, contaminated land, and waste issues. She has a keen interest in the climate change crisis and the role that law can play in helping to respond to this issue. As part of this, Teresa is also a member of the Law Society’s Climate Change Working Group.
Teresa has acted as the probity adviser for a range of Government Departments and local councils. She also regularly advises local councils, Local Government Procurement and Government agencies on probity and procurement requirements and processes, the development and design of appropriate probity frameworks and proposed contracts as well as the application of various legislative frameworks including the Public Works and Procurement Act 1912, as well as the tendering, public-private partnership, and joint venture frameworks under the Local Government Act 1993.
Her recent matters include the disposal of an aged care business, a highly contentious sea wall project and two significant water matters, which are set out in more detail below:
- Improving Floodplain Connections Program –Teresa is the probity adviser for this ongoing fast tracked compliance program across the northern Basin in NSW being undertaken by the State Government to bring unapproved and non-compliant flood works into compliance. Without this program, this program would take at least 15 years to complete. This has included assisting the State Government in the development of its probity framework for the Program, as well as confidentiality and probity declarations, negotiation protocols and plans, as well as training.
- Probity review of the process for issuing floodplain harvesting licences in the Gwydir Valley in February 2022 – Teresa undertook a probity review of the process of the issue of the replacement floodplain harvesting access licences in this valley to determine whether the process was transparent, well documents, ensured landholders were given procedural fairness, conflicts were managed appropriately and that the final decisions to grant the licences were supported by evidence.
Advised the Commonwealth on the drafting of bilateral agreements between the Commonwealth and the State and Territory Governments to enable a single environmental assessment and approval process where the EPBC Act assessment and approval process would otherwise apply concurrently with the state and territory process.
Teresa also has extensive experience in the application of the Protection of the Environment and Operations Act 1997, including environment protection licences and their conditions, environment protection notices including the successful recovery of clean up costs related to pollution events. She has provided extensive advice on environmental duties and obligation, contaminated land management and remediation projects, licensing and approvals issues as well as the management of disputes.
Planning and approval processes
Teresa has extensive knowledge of the NSW Planning system, having worked for the Department of Planning and Environment and been a key player in many of the recent reforms to the planning framework, including the development contribution framework as well as changes introduced to facilitate temporary accommodation, and repairing and rebuilding after natural disasters.
For both her government and private sector clients, Teresa has provided extensive advice on appropriate planning pathways including exempt and complying development, Parts 4 and 5, as well as major project, the certification requirements for all types of developments including fire safety for major road and rail projects, the Building Code of Australia and the development contribution framework including voluntary planning agreements.
Teresa is a trusted advisor to local councils, and regularly provides advice in respect of a range of regulatory matters, development assessment, compliance and enforcement, code of conduct, heritage, waste (including the implementation of the food organics and garden organics waste collections), water supply (including asset transfers), procurement road and crown land issues.
Teresa is a highly experienced water law specialist having worked extensively in water law for the NSW Government. Teresa regularly advises private sector and government law clients on a range of water law issues including the Water Act 2007 (Cth), Water Management Act 2000, the Water Act 1912, and the Water Industry Competition Act 2006.
Some of her recent matters at Maddocks include providing advice to a local council related to locational requirements for a new bore, as well as assisting a government entity in purchasing a water access licence to supplement a town’s water supply. This included complex strategic advice on the purchasing options, a feasibility analysis and risks associate with the purchase.