Nicholas is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading infrastructure, government and defence lawyers.
Nicholas specialises in complex transactions involving infrastructure, technology, government and defence. These include city-shaping infrastructure and development transactions, investment attraction and national resilience projects, divestments, social impact and payment for outcome contracts. He has advised on projects across Australia, Asia and the Pacific Islands.
His sector experience includes transport (rail, roads, ports and wharves), energy, education (universities and schools), precincts, utilities, hospitals, social, affordable and disability housing, freight and waste.
He has unrivalled experience in relation to government procurement and unsolicited or market driven proposals, and advises both governments and private sector clients in relation to such matters.
Nicholas has been at the forefront of innovative structures to facilitate private capital into social, affordable and disability housing, including advising on the establishment of NSW Government Social and Affordable Housing Fund, as well as investment structures for Lighthouse Infrastructure and QIC.
Nicholas is also particularly interested in the convergence of infrastructure and technology, and for several years was the deputy chair of the Infrastructure Partnership Australia's Infra-Tech taskforce. He is also a member of the National Transport Commission's Autonomous Vehicle Industry Insights Group.
Finally, Nicholas has extensive experience in relation to defence and national resilience projects, including advising primes and sub-primes in relation to AUSDEFCON contracting suite for materiel, support and services, and related infrastructure.
Nicholas has edited the Australian Chapter of the annual Private Partnerships Law Journal since 2018.
Nicholas is listed in the Best Lawyers categories for Construction and Infrastructure (2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023) and Project Finance and Development (2023).
Nicholas is a member of the HSF Global Council and Risk Management and Audit Committee. He also sits on the Australian Clients and Markets Committee.
Nicholas holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from the University of New South Wales. He has also completed the Australian Institute of Company Director’s ‘Company Directors Course’, a Graduate diploma of Applied Finance from FINSIA and the John Yu Fellowship for Cultural Diversity Leadership through University of Sydney.
He was a member of the Governing Council of the University of New South Wales from 2010-2019.
Experience & expertise
- Transport for NSW on the Circular Quay Renewal project to deliver an upgrade and renewal of the Circular Quay ferry wharves and surrounding precinct;
- New South Wales Government in relation to the construction and full outsourcing of clinical services at the Northern Beaches Hospital and the proposed delivery of several further waves of privately constructed and outsourced hospitals, health facilities and clinical services.
- the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT), through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Fund for the Pacific (AIFFP) on the funding and procurement of numerous projects in PNG and Pacific, including PNG Ports, PNG Roads, Fiji Airport, PNG Power Sector Development Program;
- NSW Treasury and Victorian Department of Finance on the harmonisation of the template PPP project deed for infrastructure projects;
- Hitachi STS Rail in relation to all aspects of its participation in the Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport Stations, Systems Trains, Operations and Maintenance (SSTOM) bid process, including as a part of the Bradfield Metro Consortium;
- the Commonwealth Government’s Department’s of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC) and the Department of Finance on the scoping study for intermodal freight terminals to be constructed in connection with Inland Rail;
- Palisade Investment Partners on the acquisition of a long-term lease of Coffs Harbour Airport and Enterprise Park;
- the Commonwealth Government’s DITRDC in relation its funding contribution to social infrastructure for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games, including A$2.5bn for Brisbane Arena development;
- the Rothesay Life in relation to the acquisition of the base rental stream on the Westlink M7 toll road. The transaction was the first of its kind in Australia, effected through a structured assignment of the Base Rent, involving a SPV master trust structure;
- Transport for NSW on the interface arrangements in relation to the M12 Motorway East.
- a consortium comprised of QIC and Brisbane Housing Corporation on negotiations with the Queensland Government for funding from the Housing Investment Fund to deliver over 600 social and affordable housing dwellings to be project-financed by National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation;
- the New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services and New South Wales Treasury on the establishment and first two phases of procurement of the Social and Affordable Housing Fund, which will increase the supply of social and affordable housing dwellings by 3,400 using an innovative contract structure;
- Lighthouse Infrastructure on its disability housing investments with Summer Housing;
- NSW Land and Housing Corporation on a project leveraging the NHIF Social and Affordable Housing facility as finance, and on a community housing development partnerships program;
- Lighthouse Infrastructure on its affordable housing investments with St George Community Housing;
- St George Community Housing on its partnership to develop affordable housing with AXA Investments.
Other Government experience
- the Energy Corporation of NSW in relation to the governance and assurance framework for the A$1.2bn Transmission Acceleration Facility to fund critical energy infrastructure over the next 10 years;
- the Western Parkland City Authority (WPCA) on the masterplanning and development of the Western Parklands city and the Aerotropolis, including in relation to multi-utilities solutions, establishing the Advanced Manufacturing and Research Facility, establishing the New Education and Training Model and various investment attraction matters;
- NSW Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade (DEIT) on various Funding and Grant Agreements, including a Funding Agreement with Techstars regarding a start up incubator program and presence in Tech Central Sydney, and a Recoverable Grant Agreement with an arts organisation regarding establishing a presence in Sydney;
- DEIT on all aspects of NSW’s trade and investment global expansion;
- NSW Treasury on the NSW Lotteries monetisation scoping study;
- DEIT on a Framework Agreement and Project Development Agreement with the University of Newcastle in relation to the development of the Central Coast university Campus;
- Investment NSW on a Framework Agreement and Project Development Activity with the University of Sydney in relation to the development of the Cumberland Campus;
- NSW Department of Corrective Services on the contracting arrangements Junee Correctional Centre;
- the Port Authority of NSW in relation to the commercial aspects of port operations, including long term deployment arrangements with cruise operators; and
- Transport for NSW on the interface arrangements in relation to the M12 Motorway East;
Social impact and Payment for Outcomes experience
- NSW Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development on the procurement process for the Smart, Skilled and Hired Program, an innovative A$122 million initiative for the delivery of employment, training, skills and service provision outcomes in NSW;
- Berry Street in relation to its social impact bond from the Victorian Government, aimed at improving primary school attendance, particularly for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children;
- Social Ventures Australia in relation to a social impact bond project with the South Australian Government which aimed to reduce the number of children in out-of-home care;
- Social Ventures Australia in relation to a Social Impact Bond which seeks to improve social outcomes for people leaving prison in Victoria who are at risk of homelessness.