Stephen is an experienced advocate with fifteen years of experience appearing before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). In addition, he is currently Planning Editor of the Victorian Planning Reports, the leading reporting service covering decisions of the Tribunal. This background equips him to provide you with authoritative and persuasive representation.
Stephen’s background in local government means that he understands the needs of the sector. Councils need representatives that they can trust to match the investment and skills of their own officers. Stephen’s goal is to provide that confidence, and in so doing become the planning advocate of choice for the local government sector.
If you need technical assurance while still retaining a planner’s “feel” for the issues, Stephen’s background in statutory drafting, planning practice and VCAT reporting gives him the mix of skills you need to be certain that the job will be done properly.
More detail about Stephen’s services for local government is located here.
For Permit Applicants
Permit applicants need representatives that understand their needs, but who also know what planners are looking for when they assess a proposal. Stephen’s background in development assessment means that he innately knows those issues that decision-makers such as Tribunal members look for when assessing an application, and how to communicate those points clearly.
Attention to detail and statutory knowledge are vital to avoiding unwanted surprises at VCAT. Stephen’s grasp of VCAT decisions and the minutiae of the planning system means that he can give you expert representation.
Occasional or first-time users of the system don’t just need representation: they need advice and guidance about how to judiciously present their case. When an application is with Council, Stephen can advise you which issues are most likely to be successful (see planning applications).
When an application progresses to VCAT, it’s important that your advocate doesn’t just “put on a show” for you as their client: their real job is to convince the Tribunal, not dazzle you. Given the cost of advocacy, it’s also crucial that your advocate focuses on only the real issues, rather than wasting time (and hence your money) pursuing frivolous grounds.
Stephen therefore believes the key to advocacy for residents is targeted, concise and clear communication to ensure the best possible outcome.