Debra Townsend

Debra Townsend

Debra specialises in environment and planning and is experienced in both litigation and commercial property work. Debra has provided advice on all aspects of environmental, town planning and local government law, and has also advised extensively on environmental due diligence audits and in relation to the compulsory acquisition of land.


  • Advising in relation to planning and environmental approvals at State, local and federal level for projects ranging from greenfields industrial developments in Western Sydney, waste treatment in Newcastle, aged housing in Northern Sydney and land release adjoining the ACT
  • Litigation concerning contaminated landfill at sites including Homebush Bay, Oyster Cove and Alexandria
  • Acting in relation to the proposed rehabilitation and residential redevelopment of a number of major contaminated sites in the Sydney area
  • Advising in relation to regulatory approvals for significant remediation projects including groundwater capture and treatment, sediment dredging, treatment and encapsulation and soil treatment projects
  • Acting in environmental compliance litigation in the Land and Environment Court
  • Acting for both landowners and acquiring authorities in relation to the compulsory acquisition of land.


Legal insights

Recent developments in the water space, including the NSW Government's Water Reform Action Plan and the Murray-Darling Basin Water Compliance Review.

31 May 2018

The draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill is the next step in the development of standalone legislation governing Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW.

16 April 2018

Guidance and expectations of how non-government entities responsible for a PFAS release or contamination should respond.

13 March 2018

Key learnings and developments in Australian environmental law enforcement and regulatory compliance across real estate, resources, energy and major projects.

23 January 2018