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Nicholas Carney

Global Co-Head of Infrastructure
Partner Head of Practice
Sydney Australia

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. Nicholas has advised on projects across Australia, Asia and the Pacific Islands.
Nicholas’ sector experience includes transport (rail, roads, ports and wharves), energy, education (universities and schools), precincts, technology, utilities, hospitals, social, affordable and disability housing, freight and waste. 

With unrivalled experience in government procurement and unsolicited or market led proposals, Nicholas advises both governments and private sector clients in 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 defence and national resilience projects, including advising primes and sub-primes in AUSDEFCON contracting suite for materiel, support and services, and related infrastructure.


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. 

Nicholas is listed in the Best Lawyers categories for Construction and Infrastructure and Project Finance and Development.

Experience & expertise

Selected matters

  • Transport for NSW on the Circular Quay Renewal project to deliver an upgrade and renewal of the Circular Quay ferry wharves and surrounding precinct;
  • 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;
  • QIC and Brisbane Housing Company on a new project under the Queensland Housing Investment Fund to deliver 1200 new social and affordable homes; 
  • 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;
  • NSW Government in relation to the each of the following Social and Affordable Housing Fund, the Social Housing Management Transfers Program, Communities Plus.