List G Mt 4473

Matthew Townsend

Bar roll 1997 Admitted 1994
  • Commercial Law Public Law
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Matthew Townsend has nearly 20 years’ experience as a planning and environment law barrister

Matthew practises almost exclusively in planning and environmental law, the modification and removal of restrictive covenants and liquor licensing.  He teaches in the Trial Practice and Advocacy program at Monash University and lectures in planning and environmental law at the Leo Cussen Institute. Matthew regularly supervises students for legal research and work experience. 

In 2000 Matthew was awarded the Public Interest Law Clearing House Pro Bono Award by the Governor of Victoria for his work in environmental litigation. He was Dux of International Environmental Law at Leiden University in Holland in 1992 and was the inaugural winner of the JF Kearney, QC prize in environmental law in 1991. 

Matthew maintains Restrictive Covenants in Victoria, a website providing casenotes and resources about the modification and removal of restrictive covenants in Victoria.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under the Professional Standards Legislation


Chambers & Clerk

Owen Dixon Chambers East
Level 13 Rooms 4 and 5

205 William Street

Melbourne VIC 3000

View map

Jane King

03 9225 8558


Commercial Law
  • Energy & Resources
  • Real Property
Public Law
  • Environment
  • Planning & Local Government



Bachelor of Laws (Hons)



Entitled to practise in

State and Territory Courts and Tribunals

Federal Court of Australia

High Court of Australia

Recent Cases

Restrictive Covenants

Clare & Ors v Bedelis [2016] VSC 381 (for Defendants)

MacLurkin v Searle[2015] VSC 750 (for Defendants)

Prowse v JohnsProwse v Johnstone (No. 2)one (No. 2) [2015] VSC 621 (for Defendants) 

Gardencity v Grech & Ors [2015] VSC 538 (for Defendants)   

Re Morrison [2015] VSC 269 (for Defendants)

Wong v McConville & Ors [2014] VSC 148 (for Plaintiff)

Mark William Suhr & Ors v Andrew Gordon Michelmore & Ors [2013] VSC 284 (for Defendants)

Prowse v Johnstone & Ors [2012] VSC 4 (for Defendants)

Fraser & Ors v Di Paolo & Anor [2008] VSC 117 (for Plaintiff) 

Re: Milbex [2006] VSC 298 (for Plaintiff) 

Re Pivotel [2000] VSC 264 (for Defendants)

Fitt v Luxury Developments Pty Ltd [2000] VSC 258 (for Plaintiffs)

Advertising Signs

Eyecorp Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC & Ors [2012] VCAT 1918 (for Council)

APN (Outdoor) Trading Pty Ltd v Melbourne City Council [2012] VSC 8 (for Council)

APN Outdoor Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC (Red Dot) [2010] VCAT 1759 (for Council)

Tewlen Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC (Red Dot) [2010] VCAT 535 (for Council)

Asia Pacific Hotels Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC [2009] VCAT 2492 (for Council) 

Central Equity v Melbourne CC [2009] VCAT 2075 (for Council) 

Melbourne Central Custodian Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC [2006] VCAT 276 (for Council)

Aged/community Care Facilities

Brecat Holdings Pty Ltd v Kingston CC & Ors [2012] VCAT 1321 (for Applicant)

Talbot v Melton SC [2011] VCAT 196 (for DHS)

Director of Housing v Moorabool SC [2009] VCAT 882 (for DHS) 

Melbourne C117 (PSA) [2007] PPV 14 (for DHS)

​ Brothels/Sexually Explicit Entertainment Venues

Ferraro v Kingston CC [2015] VCAT 2015 (for objectors)

Plenty River Hotel v Greater Geelong CC [2006] VCAT 674 (for permit applicants) 

Primelife Corporation Pty Ltd v Port Phillip CC [2004] VCAT 325 (for permit applicants) 

Babalis & Ors v Glen Eira CC and Ors [2003] VCAT 667 (for objectors)

Cancellation of Permits

Brown v Mornington Peninsula SC [2006] VCAT 744 (for permit holders) 

Ruane & Ors v Swan Hill CC & Anor [2002] VCAT 1355 (for permit holders) 

Cooper v Surfcoast SC [2000] VCAT 2180 (for permit holders)

Chicken Broiler Farms

Schembri v Cardinia SC [2006] VCAT 2042 (for objectors) 

Baird & Ors v Golden Plains Shire Council [2003] VCAT 668 (for objectors) 

David Proctor v Shire Melton [2001] VCAT 630 (for council)

Development/Open Space Contributions

Melbourne CC v Minister for Planning [2015] VCAT 412 (2 April 2015)  (for Council)                                                     

Callea Property Developments Pty Ltd v Wyndham CC [2014] VCAT 446 (23 April 2014) (for permit Applicant)                 

Dexel Engineering Pty Ltd v Maribyrnong CC [2014] VCAT 231 (3 March 2014) 

Carson Simpson Pty Ltd v Casey CC [2006] VCAT 1725 (for permit applicant) 

Curry v Melton Shire Council [2000] VSC 352 (for council) 

Survey Group Earth Tech Engineering v Port Phillip CC [2005] VCAT 2638 (for permit applicant) 


Central Northeast Development Pty Ltd v Whittlesea CC [2009] VCAT 643 (for Council)

Upmark Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC [2008] VCAT 2245 (for Council)

Dennis v A J Baxter Pty Ltd [2008] VCAT 2360 (for objectors)

Environmental Crime

EPA v Exhaust Control Industries (2006, for defendant)

EPA v Capral Aluminium Ltd (2002, for defendant)

EPA v Envirogen (2001, for defendant)

​Existing Use Rights

Islamic Museum of Australia v Darebin CC [2014] VCAT 1204 (30 September 2014) (for permit holder)

The Dandenong Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church (Abroad) v Greater Dandenong CC[2014] VCAT 1071 (2 September 2014) (for Council)

Longwarry (Eastbound) Pty Ltd & Ors v Cardinia SC & Ors (Correction) [2011] VCAT 1851 (for objector)

Patty Malonnes Bar Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC [2010] VCAT 554 (for Council)

Asia Pacific Hotels Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC [2009] VCAT 2492 (for Council)

Kraan v Cardinia SC [2006] VCAT 1629 (for objectors)

Freeway Service Centres

Hocking v Cardinia SC [2011] VCAT 1793 (for applicant)

Bredix Pty Ltd v Greater Geelong CC [2009] VCAT 1984 (for applicant) 

Carwoode Pty Ltd v Cardinia [2008] VCAT 1334 (for applicant) 

Bredix Pty Ltd v Greater Geelong CC [2007] VCAT 818 (for applicant)


Yarra C149 (PSA) [2013] PPV 41 (for objector to heritage overlay)

Duster v Boroondara CC [2012] VCAT 21 (for objectors)

Windsor Hotel (for Council)

Hurtob Homes Pty Ltd v Campaspe SC [2010] VCAT 1241 (for applicant)

Urban Design Architects Pty Ltd v Banyule City Council P1098/2009 (for applicant)

Landfill and Rehabilitation

Wheelahan & Anor v City of Casey & Ors (No 5) [2011] VSC 62 (for City of Frankston)

Dennis v A J Baxter Pty Ltd [2008] VCAT 2360 (for objectors)  

Skye Environmental Services Pty Ltd v Frankston CC [2006] VCAT 2596 (for Minister for Planning)

​Panel Hearings

C89 to the Latrobe Planning Scheme (for landowners)

C196 into the built form controls for City North (for planning authority)

C190 into the built form controls for Arden Macaulay (for planning authority)

C171 into height limits in Southbank (for planning authority)

Kingston C143 (PSA) [2015] PPV 44 (11 May 2015) (for land owners)

Permit Extensions

Yarra Valley Grammar School v Maroondah CC [2008] VCAT 1172 (for school) 

Fraser v Macedon Ranges SC [2008] VCAT 1822 (for permit holder)

Tylden Nominees PL v Macedon Ranges Shire Council [2004] VCAT 1655 (for permit holder)

Licensed Premises and Place of Assembly

Robertson v Yarra CC [2014] VCAT 571 (for applicant)

Righele v Darebin CC [2012] VCAT 829 (for applicant)

AA Holdings Pty Ltd v Boroondara CC [2013] VCAT 437 (for applicant)

Orangechapel Pty Ltd v Director of Liquor Licensing [2010] VCAT 110 (for Director) 

The Friendly Backpacker Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC [2008] VCAT 669 (for Council)


BAB Developments Pty Ltd v Whitehorse CC [2016] VCAT 103 (for applicant)

Dexel Engineering Pty Ltd v Maribyrnong CC [2014] VCAT 231 (for applicant)

Politis v Mornington Peninsula SC [2013] VCAT 1768 (for applicant)

Melbourne CC v Minister For Planning [2013] VCAT 1277 (for Council)

Director of Housing v Manningham CC & Ors [2013] VCAT 541 (for Director)

Brand Pty Ltd v Yarra Ranges SC [2012] VCAT 1604 (for applicant)

​Roads and Rail

Casey C102 (PSA) [2009] PPV 62 (16 July 2009) (for Department of Transport) 

Vic Roads v Nillumbik SC & Ors [2002] VCAT 1003 (for VicRoads) 

Bevacqua v Casey CC [2001] VCAT 2264 (for Department of Infrastructure)

Section 173 Agreements

Solid Investments Australia Pty Ltd v Greater Geelong City Council [2004] VCAT 2356 (for respondents)


Kennedy Plant Hire Pty Ltd v LaTrobe CC [2015] VCAT 53 (for applicant)

Off The Long Run Pty Ltd v Moreland CC [2014] VCAT 1203 (for applicant)

Davies v Maroondah CC [2015] PPV 44 (for permit applicant)

Wind Energy Facilities and Windfarms

Perry v Hepburn SC [2007] VCAT 1309 (for applicant) 

Dollar Windfarm (PCI) [2005] PPV 72 (for applicant)

Bald Hills Windfarm (EES) [2004] PPV 73 (for objectors)



Supreme Court Victorian Compensation and Planning Users' Group