Special Counsel
Leanne regularly provides advice to government and private clients in relation to land access and use, planning and environment matters.

As a special counsel in Cooper Grace Ward’s property, planning and environment team, Leanne brings 14 years’ experience, including nine years as a solicitor representing the State of Queensland in negotiations and litigation across a number of forums. Whilst with government, Leanne held several senior legal roles in government and provided high level advice and representation in land management and resources sector law.

Leanne advises on all aspects of land access, management and use for developers, resource companies and agribusinesses. This includes planning and development approvals and appeals under the Planning Act 2016, compulsory acquisition and valuation law , diversification of land use and income streams (including environmental offsets, carbon sequestration, agistment, timber management, quarries, solar farms) environmental, water, vegetation and biosecurity compliance, native title and cultural heritage, and landholder access and compensation agreements for petroleum and resources.

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  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Laws – University of Queensland
  • Graduate Diploma of Professional Legal Education and Training – University of Queensland
  • Solicitor – Supreme Court of Queensland, High Court of Australia
  • Member – QELA (Queensland Environmental Law Association)
  • Member – QLS (Queensland Law Society) Mining and Resources Law Committee

Petroleum and resources

  • Advising the State of Queensland whilst with government and since working with Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers regarding the regulatory regime and land access code requirements.
  • Representing and advising the State of Queensland regarding due process, regulatory compliance, appeals and objections to grant of tenements.
  • Advising on compliance with mining and petroleum grants and authorities.
  • Advising landholders in relation to land access agreements associated with prospecting and extraction activities for petroleum, gas and mineral resources.

Compulsory acquisitions and valuations

  • Representing landowners and lessees on compulsory acquisitions, including process issues.
  • Negotiating compensation agreements on behalf of landholders with resuming authorities for significant and minor public infrastructure.
  • Providing advice and representation on objections and appeals.
  • Representing the State in over 448 commercial valuation appeals in the Land Court under the Valuation of Land Act 1944 (Qld).
  • Advising the State of Queensland and private clients in relation to objections to statutory valuations.

Planning and environment

  • Responsible for the coordination and management of over 100 planning and environment appeals in the Planning and Environment Court, to which the State was a party and over 20 planning appeals for private clients.
  • Management of 20 regulatory compliance appeals and prosecutions in the Land Court and Magistrates Court for vegetation and water offences.
  • Advising and representing clients in relation to show cause notices and other compliance matters under the:

o Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and Planning Act 2016;

o  vegetation management legislative regimes including the Vegetation Management Act 1999, the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and Federal and Local Government laws;

o  Environmental Protection Act 1994 (enforcement proceedings and show cause notices, environmental authorities and permits required to undertake certain activities);

o  the Building Act 1975 (both residential and commercial), including Certificates of Classification.
Agribusiness land management and use

  • Negotiating agreements for diversification of income streams and land use including solar farms, agistment agreements, timber harvesting, water use, environmental offsets, carbon sequestration and quarries
  • Negotiating and drafting seed stock agreements for animals and plants
  • Providing advice and representation regarding water entitlements, allocations and licences and vegetation management including applications and appeals.
  • Advising on leasing and leasing disputes, especially where unique environmental and other issues arise, e.g marinas and laboratories.
  • Advising on management obligations on State land, pastoral leases and conservation land, including bush fire management obligations, conservation agreements and land use within waterways as specified by a range of legislation.
  • Advising on the Land Act 1994, including land tenure and use, pastoral holdings, wet leases and dry leases, conversion applications and disputes under leases under the Land Act.

Native title and cultural heritage

  • Negotiating and drafting cultural heritage agreements.
  • Advising government, developers and land owners on complying with native title requirements and on the impact of claims for determination of native title.
  • Representing the State of Queensland in the National Native Title Tribunal and landowners in the Federal Court
  • Representing the State in Indigenous Land Use Agreement negotiations.
  • Advising on complex native title issues.
  • Advising in relation to native title implications in amending legislation.
  • Participating in a number of native title and cultural heritage advisory panels to the State of Queensland.