Across the past 50 years, the City of Gold Coast has developed as the preeminent tourism economy in Australia. Tourism contributes $6 billion annually to the Gold Coast economy. SPG Lawyers have been an integral part of the  development of the tourism industry on the Gold Coast across these 50 years, and has worked hand in hand with peak tourism industry groups as the city has grown.

Tourism is the driving force of the majority of commerce on the Gold Coast.  SPG have decades of experience to be able to partner with you in order to guide you through all aspects of the legal landscape.

One of our original founding partners, John Punch OAM, was responsible for the establishment of the Gold Coast Tourist & Visitors Bureau (now known as  Destination Gold Coast). Our firm has worked closely with key bodies in the development, accommodation, hospitality, retail and entertainment space.

We have also worked closely with Governments at Federal, State and Local levels to lobby on behalf of Gold Coast tourism industry groups and businesses to ensure more streamlined regulation of busines activities.

SPG is proud to have helped contribute to the dynamic tourism economy that now exists on the Gold Coast. Through the broad range of the legal services that we offer, we can cater for business and personal legal requirements of clients who wish to be part of the continuing and exciting potential that the City of Gold Coast will continue to unlock.

Whilst our legal services have been integral to the development of the tourism economy of the Gold Coast for the past 50 years, we are positioned to be part of the next phase of that economy over the next 50 years

COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020

Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Directives

The spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 has undoubtedly touched all of us one way or another. It will come as no surprise that our Wills & Estates department have been inundated with enquiries and requests for Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney to be prepared on an urgent basis. The recent changes to the movement of residents between the Queensland and New South Wales border, increased shutdowns and isolation restrictions have made the logistics of seeing client’s face to face even more difficult especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus.

On 22 April 2020 the Queensland Government passed the COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 as a step towards addressing the legislated requirements for estate planning documents such as Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Directives to be signed as original paper documents and witnessed by authorised people. The Bill contemplates that regulations will be made in relation to the requirements under current legislation for the physical attendance of witnesses for certain documents and to temporarily facilitate the witnessing of documents by audio-visual link.

As at today’s date those regulations have not yet been published. However, it is anticipated that the regulations will address the witnessing of signatures, certification of matters by witnesses and the verification of identity of persons signing documents.

The Cabinet Explanatory Notes suggest that the regulations will apply to Wills, Powers of Attorney including Enduring Powers of Attorney, Advance Health Directives, Statutory Declarations and Deeds and will make use of “a range of communication technologies”.

It should be noted that on 22 April 2020, the Supreme Court of Queensland published Practice Direction Number 10 of 2020, which is pertinent to the witnessing of Wills by audio-visual link. Subject to the conditions below, the Practice Direction empowers a Registrar of the Court with the Court’s power to dispense with the requirement under the Succession Act 1981 (QLD) that to execute a valid Will, the witnesses must physically be in the presence of a testator when they sign their Will.

For the Registrar to dispense with that requirement, satisfactory evidence must be produced that:-

  • the Will was drafted by a solicitor, or a solicitor is one of the witnesses or person supervising the execution of the Will;
  • the deceased intended the document to take immediate effect as their Will (or as an alteration or revocation of their Will);
  • the testator executed the Will in the presence of at least one witness by way of audio-visual link;
  • the witnesses were able to identify the document executed; and
  • the reasons for the testator being unable to execute the Will in the physical presence of two witnesses in the usual way was due to COVID-19.

At this stage, the Practice Direction only applies to Wills executed between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020.

While this change will be most beneficial during the pandemic, we caution our client’s against preparing their own “Coronavirus Will” and having it witnessed using their mobile phone. We strongly recommend that you contact Jasmine Rath of our Wills and Estate Department on (07) 5538 2277 if you are interested in discussing and/or updating your estate planning documents and will be sure to keep you informed as more information comes to light.

We wish you and your family all the best during this time.

Meet Our Team

John Punch


John is a founding partner of the firm and has practiced on the Gold Coast since 1969. He practices in all forms of real property and commercial matters with emphasis on:

  • Management of Strata Title Schemes
  • Land and Strata Title Developments
  • Hotel and Tourism/Hospitality Projects
  • Residential and Commercial Property Subdivisions
  • Consulting to Bodies Corporate
  • Development Site Acquisitions
  • Acquisitions of Commercial Operations, Joint Ventures and Partnerships
  • Management Rights Transactions and Arrangements
  • Residential Purchases and Sales
  • John has assisted with the development and sale of more than 50 major high rise and low rise developments within the Gold Coast.

Qualifications & Memberships

  • Admitted Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Queensland since 1969
  • Member of Queensland Law Society
  • Founding Member and Life Member, Honorary Secretary/Board Member of Gold Coast Tourism
  • Formerly a Chairman Surfers Paradise Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army, Director of Listed Public Company SEA FM Ltd and Consultant to REIQ
  • Life Member Australian Resident Accommodation Managers Association
  • Board Member of Sustainable Development Gold Coast Inc

Awards & Medals

Awarded OAM (Order of Australia Medal) for contributions to Tourism, Commerce and Charity - 1997

Peter George


Peter commenced with SP&G in 1974, became a solicitor in 1979 and was admitted as a Partner in 1981. Peter practices in the areas of Management Rights, Body Corporate and strata matters as well as other civil litigation.

Whilst Peter has had an involvement in most areas of the law involving property and business dispute resolution, these days Peter’s professional commitment is significantly focused on Body Corporate, Strata disputes and consulting, and management rights.

Peter works closely with clients, experts, and Counsel, and with more than 40 years of experience advises on a wide range of litigation matters, including:-

  • Body Corporate and Management Rights matters
  • Property matters, vendor and purchaser matters such as specific performance, rescission and associated reliefActing for developers in contract disputes
  • Compensation claims for acquisition of land matters
  • Business structuring, corporate creation, shareholding agreements and joint ventures
  • Strata development site amalgamations

Peter has been involved in many matters of significance throughout his career, in the Supreme Court, Federal Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, and Privy Council, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Cases of interest include:-

  • Coastalstyle Pty Ltd v Surf Regency BUP 4246 [1995] 1 Qd.R:132 (Court of Appeal)
  • Birstar Pty Ltd v Ocean Breeze BUP 4747 [1997] 1.Qd.R 117 (Court of Appeal)
  • Oceana on Broadbeach CTS 24163 v Searle [2003] QCA 325 (Court of Appeal)
  • Magog (No. 15) Pty Ltd v The Moroccan CTS 17574 [2010] QDC 70 (District Court)
  • Henderson v Merrimac Heights CTS 19463 [2011] QSC 336 (Supreme Court)
  • Schmidt v Landers [1983] 1 Qd.R 188 (Full Court)
  • Coast Securities (No.9) Pty Ltd v Stack [1983] 154 CLR 261 (High Court)
  • Coast Securities (No.9) Pty Ltd v Bondoukou Pty Ltd 61 ALJR 285 (Privy Council)
  • Special Projects v Michael Simmons as Trustee for the Fate Trust (Qld) Pty Ltd [2012] QCA 205 (Court of Appeal
  • Pacific Mirage Limited v Le Breton (2014) FCAFC 64 (Federal Court of Appeal)

Qualifications & Memberships

  • Queensland Law Society
  • Australian College of Community Association Lawyers
  • Strata Community Australia
  • Queensland Society of Notaries
  • Gold Coast District Law Association

Tony O'Connor


Tony was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1986 and commenced employment with SPG Lawyers in 1990 in the Litigation Division and became a Partner in 1991.

Through his time with SPG Lawyers, Tony has been involved continually in the management of common law litigation through all State Courts as well as the Federal Court of Australia.

He has significant experience in a wide range of litigation matters including but not limited to the following:

  • Litigation disputes arising out of commercial transactions and insurance claims.
  • Disputes arising under deceased estates.
  • Building contract enforcement and defect rectification.
  • Personal Injury Claims connected to work accidents, motor vehicle accidents or public liability claims (Plaintiff & Defendant).
  • Hearings in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and the Fair Work Commission.

Tony has also tracked the ever changing industrial law landscape and provided advice (predominantly to employers) in respect of Awards, Award Flexibility and Common Law Contracts.

Qualifications & Memberships

  • Admitted Solicitor of Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Admitted Solicitor of the High Court of Australia
  • Member of Queensland Law Society

Michael Webb


Michael joined SPG Lawyers in 1982 as an articled law clerk. He was admitted as a solicitor in January 1989 and has been a Partner of the firm since July 1991.

Michael’s areas of practice include:

  • Acting for franchisors and franchisees;
  • Acting for lessors and lessees in Retail and Commercial leases
  • Acting for shopping centre owners;
  • Acting for small business owners,
  • Preparation of shareholder agreements and buy sell agreements
  • Acting for parties in the sale and purchase of businesses;
  • Shopping centre sales and purchases;
  • General conveyancing;
  • Joint Ventures and Development Agreements
  • Establishment of Companies, Partnerships and Trusts

Qualifications & Memberships

  • Bachelor of Laws (QUT)
  • Completed Practice Management Course
  • Admitted Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Admitted Solicitor in the High Court of Australia
  • Member of Queensland Law Society

Paul Jones


Paul practises in commercial matters with particular emphasis on

  • Specialised Corporate and Individual Structuring
  • Commercial Property and Business Acquisitions and Partnerships (specialising in Pharmacies)
  • Body Corporate and Management Rights matters
  • Commercial and Retail Leasing
  • Corporate Finance

Qualifications & Memberships

  • Bachelor of Laws (Bond University)
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Bond University)
  • Completed Practice Management Course
  • Admitted Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Admitted Solicitor in the High Court of Australia
  • Member of Queensland Law Society
  • Member of Gold Coast District Law Association

Matthew Brook


Matthew joined SPG Lawyers in 2008 and is a Partner of the firm and practices in the area of property development, working with private and public developers in Queensland.

As Matthew practices in property development, he works with a range of clients in order to assist and advise them in a wide range of property matters, including:

  • Strata Title Development Projects including Mixed Use Projects, Staged Projects and Projects with Layered Arrangements;
  • Land Developments and Subdivisions;
  • Body Corporate and Community Management issues;
  • Commercial Finance (acting for Borrowers and Lenders);
  • Commercial and Retail Leasing;
  • Site acquisition and disposal;
  • Joint Ventures and Development Agreements
  • Establishment of Companies, Partnerships and Trusts

Recent matters that Matthew has been involved in include:

  • Advising on the structure of, and establishing, one of the Gold Coast’s largest layered Community Titles Schemes;
  • Advising on the structure of and assisting with all aspects of acquisition, subdivision, financing and disposal of a $150 million Community Titles Scheme project on the Gold Coast;
  • Assisting with the acquisition of a large resort that is subject to the Mixed Use Development Act, and providing advice in relation to its titling and operation arrangements;
  • Assisting with the acquisition of a number of car dealerships from a listed public company;
  • Shopping Centre establishment, acquisition and disposal.

Qualifications & Memberships

  • Admitted Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Admitted Solicitor in the High Court of Australia
  • Member of Queensland Law Society