Wagih Doueihi is a Senior Associate at Clayton Utz specialising in planning, environment, government and administrative law. Wagih advises on the full spectrum of environment and planning law issues relevant to Government agencies and the private sector including planning pathways, environmental impacts, development assessment, developer contributions, environmental offsets, bio banking, heritage, pollution control, contamination, incident management, regulatory compliance and enforcement, compulsory land acquisition and government decision- making and policy. He is an experienced litigator, having acted in the various classes of the Land and Environment Court's jurisdiction. Wagih has advised on environment and planning matters for some of Australia's largest infrastructure projects. Clients have complimented him for his diligence and his pro-active, problem solving approach.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Wagih recently to discuss key challenges and opportunities facing the industry today.
You can find the full Q&A below.
Tell us a little bit about your practice
I have a broad practice servicing a mix of public and private sector clients, including various government agencies and developers. I advise these clients on a wide range of environment and planning law issues relevant to what they do, which is a very interesting and rewarding exercise. My practice has a key focus on major infrastructure projects, urban development, energy generation and distribution, mining and water.
What’s one mistake you see practitioners and planners make when trying to keep up with the changes to the EP&A Act?
The EP&A Act has been amended over 150 times. It's one of the most frequently amended pieces of legislation in NSW so staying on top of the changes can be overwhelming. One of the mistakes people sometimes make when trying to keep up with the changes is not focusing enough on deciphering the key practical implications of the changes from the perspective of their clients.
What is the most noteworthy planning reform that you think practitioners should keep on their radar this year?
On 15 November 2017, the NSW Parliament passed what the NSW Planning Minister has described as the most extensive changes to the current NSW planning framework in almost 40 years. The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Act 2017 (NSW), which commences on 1 March 2018, will restructure the EP&A Act and make broad amendments which will impact on all development applications and modifications in NSW.
You can hear more from Wagih who will be co-presenting with Jonathon Schipp, Director, Policy & Legislation, NSW Department of Planning and Environment at the Environmental and Planning Law Update seminar, being held on Tuesday 13 March at the UNSW CBD Campus, Sydney.