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Jessica Wood

Special Counsel
Fax +61.2.9513.2399
Ms Wood is a planning and environmental lawyer with more than 15 years experience advising on planning and environmental approvals, local government law, pollution law and environmental and planning litigation.

Professional Background

Prior to joining K&L Gates, Ms Wood was the Executive Manager, Industrial Relations and Legal at Local Government NSW, the peak industry association representing local councils. Before this, Ms Wood held other roles as: 

  • a senior lawyer at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • a lawyer with Environmental Defenders Office NSW - a community legal centre specialising in public interest environmental law
  • a part-time lecturer in environmental law at the University of NSW Law School and as a part-time academic at Southern Cross University's School of Law and Justice and an author for Thompson Reuters' Local Government Law and Practice publication

Ms Wood was also a Tipstaff to Justice Lloyd of the Land and Environment Court in 2000.

  • Numerous NSW councils including the City of Sydney Council, Burwood Council and Tweed Shire Council on: (prior to K&L Gates)
    • a wide range of planning matters under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW), including defending planning appeals, the enforcement of conditions of development consents and the interpretation of environmental planning instruments
    • prosecutions for unauthorised vegetation clearing and breaches of water access licences and
    • Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) processes, powers and procedures including issues relating to the code of conduct, council elections, procurement and tendering, public land and Crown land management; approvals, powers and delegations, rates and charges, funding agreements, public inquiries and enforcement.
  • The Department of Planning and Environment (now the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment) on a wide range of matters including: (prior to K&L Gates)
    • State significant infrastructure and Critical State significant infrastructure declarations
    • acting in judicial review proceedings, including in relation to planning approvals granted for an intermodal terminal and an expansion of a coal mine 
    •  planning enforcement action, including prosecutions for breaches of planning approval conditions and illegal clearing of native vegetation 
    •  voluntary planning agreements 
    •  funding agreements 
    •  preparation and amendment of State environmental planning instruments 
    •  amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (NSW) 
    •  the drafting of the Coastal Management Act 2016 (NSW) and the State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2018
    • the update of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
    • the development of a code of conduct for short term rental accommodation (together with the Department of Fair Trading) 
    •  leasing issues for national parks, including Fort Denison and the Quarantine Station, and
    • land use agreements, licences and contracts for the Planning Ministerial Corporation.
  • A wide range community groups and individuals on public interest environmental and planning litigation including: (prior to K&L Gates)
    • acting in a number of significant judicial review cases relating to planning assessments and approvals under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) in the Land and Environment Court, and
    • acting in merits review cases in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and judicial review proceedings in the Federal Court under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).