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Vanessa Maruna

LLB (Hons), BEnvPlan

Partner - Cairns

Areas of Expertise

Planning, Environment & Sustainability, Local Government


Vanessa holds dual qualifications in the fields of town planning and law and has been practicing as an environmental and planning lawyer and town planner for over 10 years. 

During this time, she has had experience working on large scale master planned projects and acted for a number of local governments, major developers, publicly listed companies, private entities and James Cook University providing town planning and legal advice on a large range of matters throughout Far North Queensland. 

Vanessa has extensive experience working in large multi-disciplinary teams, including project managing and advising on approval processes for large scale developments, infrastructure projects and environmental impact assessment matters including completing detailed reviews and assessment of relevant state and federal legislative and local government policy and providing project teams with advice on the impact of legislation and policy on projects as required. 

Due to her complementary skill set, Vanessa is able to clearly identify and communicate legal issues and town planning issues to project teams to ensure that legislative compliance is achieved in the most cost and time effective manner. 


Vanessa provides legal services predominantly in planning and environment law on a large variety of matters: 

  • advice on the Integrated Planning Act 1997, Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and Planning Act 2016 
  • development approval processes 
  • project management and application management 
  • advice on Regional Planning and Master Planning 
  • advice on State Planning Policies 
  • due diligence investigations on large property transactions 
  • Planning and Environment Court Appeals and declaratory proceedings 
  • development offences 
  • drafting and review of Local Laws 
  • drafting and review of Planning Schemes and Temporary Local Planning Instruments 
  • environmental approvals, compliance and enforcement issues 
  • built heritage and Indigenous and cultural heritage advice 
  • advice on vegetation, coastal protection and other environmental matters 
  • local law prosecutions 
  • swimming pool fencing prosecutions 
  • contaminated land issues 
  • compulsory acquisition of land and compensation issues.


17 September 2019 - Knowledge

Inside track: Planning, Environment & Sustainability

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

Data released by Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor show an increase of 0.6 per cent in carbon emissions in the year to March, which he says is due to the growth in Australia's LNG exports

04 September 2019 - Knowledge

Update: Getting ready for the end of interim occupation certificates

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The long-awaited commencement of revised building and subdivision provisions under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act have again been pushed back, this time until 1 December 2019.

03 September 2019 - Knowledge

Inside track: Planning, Environment & Sustainability

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability