Brent Lillywhite

Partner. Brisbane.

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Brent Lillywhite

Brent is a specialist strategic legal advisor to local government, developers, State government authorities, GOC’s and resource companies on all aspects of planning and environment law.

Adopting a true ‘cradle to grave’ approach, Brent is involved from project inception to create a rigorous legal strategy that ensures an efficient and commercial outcome for his client.

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Brent is a specialist strategic legal advisor to local government, developers, State government authorities, GOC’s and resource companies on all aspects of planning and environment law.

Adopting a true ‘cradle to grave’ approach, Brent is involved from project inception to create a rigorous legal strategy that ensures an efficient and commercial outcome for his client.

Brent is well known for his track record in complex planning litigation including appeals, applications, declaratory proceedings and enforcement proceedings – particularly when multiple proceedings and jurisdictions are involved.

His experience extends into approval frameworks for major projects, environmental strategies, native title and cultural heritage, infrastructure agreements, land resumption, statutory valuation, planning scheme drafting, corporate governance and judicial review.

Brent is the President of the Queensland Environmental Law Association, a not-for-profit organisation representing around 500 multi-disciplinary professionals in the environment and planning jurisdiction.

“Leading Planning & Development Lawyer, Queensland” Doyle's Guide, 2018
Brent Lillywhite

Brent's Expertise

  • Bayview Heights enforcement, Cairns Regional Council Acted for Council in seven separate Court proceedings relating to unlawful operational work and building work for the erection of a large retaining wall on steeply-sloping landslide hazard land at Bayview Heights. With Cyclone Debbie forming in FNQ, urgent enforcement proceedings was brought against the owners, resulting in undertaking being provided and works ceasing. Ultimately, the matter included four P&E Court proceedings and three Magistrates Court prosecutions, resulting in enforcement orders, rehabilitation requirements, appropriate approvals being obtained, and Council recovering costs from the owners.
  • Oakey PFAS contamination, Toowoomba Regional Council Acting for Council in relation to the PFAS contamination of groundwater at Oakey from the historical use of firefighting foams at the Army Aviation Centre Oakey. This includes Supreme Court proceedings against the Department of Defence for negligence, nuisance and breach of statutory duty, causing damages associated with Council-owned water infrastructure (bores etc) servicing the residents of Oakey.
  • The Avenues Highfields, Toowoomba Regional Council Successfully defended the first contested appeal against Council refusal of an infrastructure conversion application. Without the benefit of any legal precedent, this case involved a detailed analysis of the legislative provisions relating to conversion applications, and the development of new jurisprudence in an area of law previously untested. Complicating factors in the case included that the works had commenced (and were complete by the time of judgment), therefore obscuring Council’s abilities to impose ‘necessary infrastructure conditions’ for the roadworks if converted to trunk. The hearing of the appeal was supplemented by a separate declaratory proceeding brought by The Avenues. Council was successful in both proceedings.
  • Teak Lane Appeal (IVL & Lanrex), Redland City Council Acted for Council in a highly politically sensitive appeal involving the redevelopment of a ‘green’ wildlife corridor into a carpark for a shopping centre at Victoria Point. Council had original encouraged the lodgement of the application, including relinquishing trusteeship of the park, but subsequently refused the application (against officer recommendation for approval). With a number of complex ecological, CPTED and planning issues in the appeal, Council was ultimately successful in defending its refusal.
  • North Lakes Golf Course redevelopment, Village Retirement Group Advising on the redevelopment of the North Lakes Golf Club into a range of potential uses, including retirement village, aged care facility, and community uses. The proposal includes a significant portion of the site to be established as an environmental offsets ‘receiving’ area, to be rehabilitated and transferred into public ownership over time. Preparation of approval strategy for variation request to replace 20 year old development control plan still applicable to the site.
  • Queensland Alumina Limited Advising QAL on the preparation, drafting and implementation of its 5-Year Environmental Strategy associated with one of the world’s largest alumina refineries at Gladstone. This included multiple advices on a range of matters, including approvals frameworks dealing with EPBC Act, Environmental Protection Act, Vegetation Management Act, Fisheries Act, Coastal Protection and Management Act, and historical legislation establishing the refinery.

    Acting for QAL on a range of environmental incidents, including defending prosecutions, responding to statutory notices, assisting in Department of Environment and Science interviews, and making submissions to the Department.

What others say

  • “Being proactive and giving us a heads up on developing or emerging issues is what Brent does well. It’s not just his proactivity that gets him the job; it’s the previous performance and having the right people doing the right job.” Chief Executive Officer, local government client
  • “It’s very quick to get a turnaround from Brent if we have a question. He’s very authoritative in his responses, and it’s always clear.” Manager Regulatory Services, local government client

Brent's Thinking

Brent's Leadership

  • Queensland Law Society Planning & Environment Committee Member
    2014 - present
  • Queensland Environmental Law Association President | 2018 - present
    Vice President | 2016 - 2018
    Management Committee Member | 2014 - present
    Various Sub-Committee appointments | 2010 - present