People

Sarah Macoun - Partner

Sarah Macoun Sarah is recommended in Doyle’s Guide to Leading Queensland Environment Lawyers.

Overview Experience Publications Contact

Sarah brings to the team extensive experience in the areas of planning approvals, litigation and dispute resolution, together with many years of expertise and a keen interest in environmental legislation and policy. Her practice involves advising developers, government entities, and mining and infrastructure proponents across the spectrum of planning and environment related legislation.

Sarah provides front end advisory services, including project scoping, strategic planning advice and due diligence, through to representing stakeholders in planning and environment litigation, and assisting clients with environmental compliance. In addition to advising across the range of Sustainable Planning Act issues, Sarah regularly provides strategic advice across the spectrum of planning and environmental legislation impacting on projects and compliance. She has a particular interest in the ever-changing environmental offsets framework.

Sarah is Board Secretary for UDIA (Qld) and is the Chair of the UDIA (Qld) Planning and Environment Committee. Sarah is a regular presenter of seminars and presentations on key topics for clients and associated service providers. Recently, Sarah was Recommended in Doyle’s Guide to Leading Queensland Planning & Environment Lawyers in 2015 and 2016, Leading Planning & Development Lawyers – Queensland, 2017 and ranked as a Leading Lawyer in Leading Environment & Heritage Lawyers – Queensland 2017. She has also been recently named in the Financial Review - Best Lawyers in Australia, 2018 for Planning and Environment law. 

Areas of Practice

  • Providing extensive advice to developers and government bodies regarding Integrated Planning Act (and subsequently Sustainable Planning Act) issues and IDAS processes, including existing use rights; development approval requirements; owner's consent and resource entitlements; ‘properly made applications’; identifying referral agencies; lawfulness of conditions; lapsing of development approvals; changing development approvals; and costs in the Planning and Environment Court.
  • Acting for developers, government bodies and submitters in appeals in the Planning and Environment Court, Court of Appeal and High Court.
  • Conducting declaratory proceedings and preliminary points in the Planning and Environment Court and Court of Appeal.
  • Advising industry groups on submissions in relation to the impact of the new policy and legislation, such as the State Coastal Management Plan – Queensland’s Coastal Policy.
  • Advising on regional and master planning issues, including State planning regulatory provision issues and implications of Major Development Area/Master Planned Area designations.
  • Advising Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia on draft legislation and policy including koala policy, air, noise and hazardous materials policy and changes to vegetation management.
  • Extensive advice to energy and resources and development proponents regarding referral requirements and EPBC Act processes.
  • Extensive advice to energy and resources proponents on Queensland and Federal biodiversity offsets policy.
  • Undertaking due diligence for the acquisition of a $4.9 billion coal asset in Queensland, including coordinating and reporting on due diligence in respect of environmental approvals, compliance issues and environmental constraints.
  • Advising a petroleum and gas proponent on the process for obtaining an environmental authority and the consideration of high level risks associated with obtaining the environment authority, including wild rivers and referable wetlands constraints.
  • Formulating a response to the federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities in relation to compliance with Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act processes, involving consideration of referral triggers in the Act and consideration of the environmental assessment undertaken during the processing and ultimate approval of the development.
  • Advising on due diligence, project scoping and planning, environmental and other licensing requirements for major projects and infrastructure development.
  • Advising on infrastructure charging mechanisms, the lawfulness of infrastructure conditions and charges, and infrastructure charging reform.
  • Providing advice regarding the proposed development of the Ormeau Town Centre adjacent to the Brisbane – Gold Coast railway line at Ormeau and acting for Coles Group Property Developments in Planning and Environment Court appeals by submitters opposing Council’s approval of its town centre development at Ormeau.
  • Advising Lewani Springs Resort on the development of its West Coomera centre, including acting in numerous Planning and Environment Court proceedings, and in court of Appeal and High Court proceedings.
  • Advising WA Stockwell on the planning strategy for the development of the Noosa Civic Shopping Centre, and subsequently acting for the client in Planning and Environment Court appeals.
  • Advising Coomera Resort on the master planning of approximately 148 ha of land intended to accommodate significant planned residential growth in the area immediately surrounding the planned Coomera Town Centre. This included attending a series of master planning workshops in relation to this project, which were held in conjunction with representatives of the Council, the Department of Local Government and Planning, and Coomera Resort. Sarah also advised in relation to Coomera Resort's development of an industrial estate on adjacent land.