Environmental law

Kellehers Australia is at the forefront of national climate change and environment law. Our advice is comprehensive and commercial, drawing on a close knowledge of federal, state and local government policies and controls.

We value achieving real and sustainable environmental protections for a diverse group of stakeholders, including private landowners, corporations and not-for-profit organisations.

Achievements in Environmental Law include:

Climate change

  • Practical and ‘cutting edge’ advice on national and international climate change law, principles and policy, including ESD and ESG, financial accounting and directors duties.
  • Climate-related financial disclosure and reporting, including guidance on standards, guidelines and timeframes.


  • Review of Victoria Planning Provisions relevant to bushfire and their application to construction requirements, including Australian Standard construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas.
  • Development in Bushfire Management Overlay affected areas, including native vegetation requirements and exemptions.


  • Major review of Victoria Planning Provisions and aligned Supreme Court and VCAT caselaw concerning land use and development adaptation to climate change.

Environmental law

  • Advice on compliance of major project approvals including federal environmental law obligations and avenues for merits and judicial review.
  • Advice to Authority regarding Port Phillip Bay channel deepening including environmental and cultural heritage impacts of proposed dredging activity.
  • Advice as to Taxation Ruling concerning deductions for expenditure on environmental protection activities.
  • Advice as to sustainable development and governance principles and associated developer and director obligations.
  • Advice as to restraining wood-chipping in Victorian state forests.
  • Advice and VCAT review concerning access to and obstruction of solar access.
  • Preparing and review of environmental conditions, including site clean up requirements within contract of sale of land.


  • High value settlement of negotiations between neighbouring landowner entities, government and councils with regard to injunctive claim for anticipated nuisance.
  • Influenced early wind farm policy and planning controls.

Contaminated land

  • First ever successful clean up of land abutting petrol station impacted by sub-ground petrol leakage in Victoria.
  • Management of agricultural spray drift.
  • Reviewing impact of undisclosed former Council landfill emitting pollutants on major adjoining development site and action to compel enforcement of compliance with emission standards, including review of audit history, PANs and other EPA action.
  • Advice to owner of a former closed landfill as to its consequent land management obligations and strategies both onsite and offsite.


  • Review of landfill design and siting guidelines, including legal issues associated with effectiveness of landfill caps.
  • Director’s liability:
    • for site contamination and its cleanup;
    • for spread of contamination to adjoining properties, including within soil, watercourse and groundwater;
    • for contaminated soil subsidence causing damage to buildings and works.
  • Legal elements of audits, including assessments and landfill gas emissions monitoring.
  • Toxic tort litigation.


  • Advice regarding damage to – and damage caused by – trees, including trespass by trees, roots, trunk and canopy to land, drains, fencing and buildings.
  • Status and ownership of trees, plantations, timber and forestry produce on land.
  • Removal of dangerous trees and local government tree removal powers.

Native flora and fauna

  • Strategic and comprehensive planning advice concerning state flora and fauna regulations, ecological vegetation classes, threatened and endangered species classifications, vegetation offsets, and native vegetation planning controls.
  • Federal vegetation offsets scheme and Nature Repair Act 2023 (Cth), including consequential strategic advice.


  • Monitor and review of House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia, 2019.
  • Review of the South Australian government Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Report, 2016.
  • Reviewing the ‘Switkowski Report’ Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy – Opportunities for Australia?, 2006.


  • Complex residential and owners corporation nuisance in relation to industrial and agricultural uses, breach of development covenants, inappropriate land use and planning blight, noise, odour, air quality and asbestos contamination.
  • Strategic nuisance litigation, including private nuisance, public nuisance, injunctive relief, damages and self-help remedies, to mitigate or cease polluting activities by neighbouring land users.

Locus standi

  • Test case litigation on the law of ‘standing’ (i.e., what persons can bring a case before a court) for environmental advocacy groups.
  • Identification of appropriate litigation parties and advising on the nature of ‘special interest’.
  • Drafting and amending constitutions for public interest organisations.
  • Leverage of Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) processes in the assessment of major development.


  • Environmental prosecutions and injunctive proceedings, both prosecution by government authority and defence by company or individual.