EMM appoints experienced statutory, strategic and environmental planning specialist Debra Butcher

 EMM is pleased to announce the senior appointment of Debra Butcher as Technical Lead - Planning, based in our Melbourne office. 

Debra brings to EMM a distinguished career spanning over three decades, marked by expertise in statutory, strategic, and environmental planning. She has worked across a broad range of projects including wind farms, transmission infrastructure, rail and road projects as well as re-zonings and planning permit applications for a variety of land uses including greenfield subdivisions, school master planning, major sporting precincts, commercial and tourism developments, and quarries.

With Bachelor of Planning and Design (Honours) from the University of Melbourne, Debra commenced her career with Melbourne-based consultancy Collie Planning. Since this appointment, Debra has worked extensively within planning, landscape, architecture and environmental specialist firms, holding various senior positions primarily in Australia. Most notably, Debra held a Technical Director role with Environmental Resources Management (ERM) where she was the lead consultant on a range of projects, including a number of different large-scale environmentally sensitive projects. She later established her own consultancy, Debra Butcher Consulting in December 2015.

Recognised for her leadership and expertise within the field, Debra is also an appointed Sessional Member of Planning Panels Victoria and prior to being a Sessional Member, appeared as an expert witness at both Planning Panels Victoria and VCAT.

EMM Director and Division Leader Nicole Armit welcomes Debra’s extensive planning and approvals experience to the team.

“I am so excited to welcome Deb to our expanding environmental approvals team. Her wealth of experience in statutory, strategic, and environmental planning, coupled with her proven leadership in the field, will further enrich our capabilities, and contribute to our continued success in delivering innovative approval strategies. This appointment reinforces our commitment to strengthening and diversifying our environmental planning expertise as we continue to drive positive change through effective communication and strategic solutions."

This senior appointment is in line with the company’s execution of its strategy to strengthen and geographically diversify its environmental planning expertise. With a growing team of over 90 approvals specialists in Australia, the collective success on high-profile resource, renewable energy, transport, and infrastructure projects has been consistently driven by an innovative approach to approvals strategy, cumulative assessments, and the effective communication of intricate scientific matters.


Headshot of Debra Butcher 
Connect with Debra

Debra Butcher
Technical Leader - Planning