Matt Brown – Director

Matthew Brown of Perception PlanningMatt Brown is a highly experienced and qualified town planner. Matt is the Director of Perception Planning Pty Ltd.

Matt founded Perception Planning back in 2007 with a vision it would one day lead to big things.

Matt’s passion lies in the behavioural and cultural dimensions of town planning – at the end of the day it is still a human interaction, despite the best made policy or plan. Matt has led projects previously that have won various industry awards including the Planning Institute of Australia, NSW Premiers and Local Government Awards. Matt is a renowned key note speaker at planning seminars and events and enjoys any chance to talk about planning culture.

Matt previously worked for four different Local Councils over 15 years, the last two in a senior management capacity, whilst operating his private town planning consultancy via approved secondary employment. This gave Matt a deep ingrained appreciation of the real customer experience and a what Matt felt was a strong sense of injustice occurring in many instances. Matt took the plunge from part Council worker and part consultant to 100% consultant and Perception Planning (PP) has gone from strength to strength during this time.

A recent highlight for the PP team was being awarded the Dungog and District Chamber of Commerce 2018 Award for Best Professional Services.

Outside of work Matt enjoys camping, fishing and four wheel driving with the family and with four young children there is never a dull moment.

Natasha Brown – Business Manager

Natasha BrownTash has been involved with Perception Planning since inception back in 2007 and has been an integral part of the firms development.

Tash has a very diverse skill set, with tertiary qualifications in both education and accounting/book keeping. This experience is fundamental in the day to day business management of a busy and multidisciplinary organisation.

Tash is responsible much of the financial management, system and process development work that ensures we can produce quality work and service our customers to the highest of levels. She has experience in leading teams and projects across a range of disciplines.

When not working Tash enjoys cooking, reading, travelling and spending time with her four young children.

Erin Daniel – Principal Planner

Erin Daniel, town planner NewcastleErin started working at Perception Planning in April 2019.

Prior to this, Erin worked as a Development Planner and Strategic Planner within Local Government since graduating with a Bachelor of Development Studies at the University of Newcastle. During these roles, she was responsible for the assessment and determination of development applications (DA’s), policy formulation and review and provision of planning advice. Some exciting DA’s that Erin determined during this time include medium to high density residential development, commercial and industrial premises and large lot subdivisions. Through this, Erin developed well-rounded and skilful expertise in the Town Planning field, and brings to the team detailed and working knowledge of the town planning system.

Erin is a dedicated planner with a passion for sustainable development and community and stakeholder consultation. Erin encompasses strong communication and interpersonal skills, and is passionate about obtaining the desired outcome for the client.

Outside of work, Erin loves to travel (particularly in the campervan), spending time with her partner Zac, family and friends and (trying) to run the energy out of her and Zac’s young kelpie Finn.

Peta Harris – Senior Environmental Planner

Peta, senior environmental plannerPeta started her role as Senior Environmental Planner with Perception Planning in March 2019, returning to work with a little one at home.

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management, Peta has worked in local government and private consultancy in varied roles across the fields of strategic planning, environmental science and environmental auditing.

With a commitment to the people behind the projects, Peta will commit to working through all the details of your development to achieve the best result.  Peta lives in Tenambit with her partner, son and two spoilt dogs. She loves beach days with her family.

Andrew Ashton – Senior Building Surveyor

Andrew is a highly experienced and qualified Building Surveyor for over 20 years. Prior to Building Surveying, Andrew spent 15 years in the construction industry as a builder and construction estimator.
Andrew has a strong interest in all things construction and loves to see adaptaive reuse of heritage buildings. Andrew is a recipient of various industry awards including NSW Premiers Awards (for Making Housing More Affordable), awards from the Planning Institute of Australia, and Local Government Awards. He also has experience in planning, environmental health and compliance aspects of development.

Andrew has worked for two different Local Councils over the last 20 years; both in middle management capacities leading teams of Building Surveyors; whilst working with Perception Planning via approved secondary employment. This gives some fantastic insight and understanding of all aspects of the industry from both sides of the fence.

Outside of building surveying and planning, Andrew enjoys building and mechanical work, a good whiskey, and motorsport; or as Matt says, watching cars go around in circles.

Roxy White – Senior Town Planner

Roxy, senior town plannerRoxy, Senior Town Planner, joined the team at Perception Planning in 2020 where she commenced her balancing act journey of career/motherhood life balance with a little one at home.

Prior to joining us, Roxy was employed at Maitland City Council and was involved in development assessment and town planning during a period of significant LGA growth and development. Her role included the assessment and determination of a variety of projects from medium scale and commercial projects to new greenfield or infill estate developments aiming to provide affordable housing and land options for the Lower Hunter Region.

Roxy has achieved a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management at the University of Newcastle and since graduating has been employed as an environmental scientist/planner since 2007. Her roles have allowed her to gained experience in local and state development projects, environmental compliance and management combined with exemplary project management skills with both private and government perspectives.

Roxy is a great communicator and passionate about achieving great planning outcomes that are feasible and sustainable. Roxy loves a challenging project and always endeavours to deliver quality customer service and development outcomes.

Born in the iconic location of Port Stephens, outside of work Roxy spends her time with her young one Maya and her loving husband Perry, spending time in the sun, surfing, camping and dreaming of travelling the world.

Ashlee Rutherford – Senior Town Planner

Ashlee, town planner
Ashlee joined Perception Planning with a strong background in certification and customer service having worked for certification and building companies.

Ash continues to demonstrate exceptional skills in project management, coordination and delivery of multifaceted projects. Ash is highly organised, a great communicator and a pleasure to have in the team.

Ash is finalising her Diploma in town planning studies and continue to impress with her work ethic and results for clients.
Outside of work Ashlee enjoys camping, beach days and travelling with her partner Jarrod.


Cara Stoltenberg – Senior Town Planner

Cara, Town Planner

Cara joins us from sunny Narrabri, where she currently lives with her husband, two children and two dogs.

She completed her Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of New England in 2010, and started her planning career shortly after as a Development Planner with Tamworth Regional Council.

After having her children, she ventured into the realm of Strategic Planning at Narrabri Shire Council and enjoyed being the lead planner on a variety of complex projects.


Jack Peterkin – Town Planner

Jack, town planner
Jack has completed a degree in Environmental Science and Management and is currently studying a Master of Environmental Law. Prior to this, he was employed in the region as an environmental consultant involved with community, stakeholder and government engagement. This role involved exploring rehabilitation and sustainable development options, engaging with and updating agencies, landholders and politicians on various projects working toward desired outcomes for the community as a whole. These projects have given him firsthand experience working alongside various local councils and the communities to achieve collaboratively beneficial developments.

Jack’s expertise lies in connecting with a client and understanding their objectives in a project, finding the route to a result. From Gresford originally, he has made his way to the big smoke in Newcastle, enjoying the outdoors in his time off- mostly camping and fishing.

Lauren Power – Town Planner

Lauren joined Perception Planning with a strong background in customer service working in various community facing roles including 5 years’ experience working in the Local Government sector.

Lauren is passionate about developing and learning new skills whilst studying her Bachelor in Urban and Regional Planning through the University of New England.

Being a strong communicator, Lauren’s key focus is providing her clients with the best outcome and a positive experience throughout their planning journey.

Lauren has strong work ethics and is highly organised, with a can-do attitude / approach to all projects that come her way.

In her spare time Lauren loves being outside in nature with her husband Blake and little dachshund Ollie, from bush hikes to exploring waterfalls along with spending quality time with her family and friends.

Tahlia Thompson – Bushfire Planner

Tahlia, bushfire planner
Tahlia has completed a degree in Environmental Science and has joined the Perception Planning team as a Bushfire Planner. Prior to this, she was working as an Ecologist and Bushfire Consultant within the local area involving ecological and environmental impact assessments, vegetation management plans and associated field work including BAM plots, plant identification and flora and fauna surveys. Tahlia also demonstrates knowledge in bushfire planning and design for complying and development application assessments.

Tahlia prides herself on being organised and committed to providing the best outcome possible for her clients. Tahlia is a great communicator and always eager to learn and develop new skills.

Outside of work, Tahlia enjoys boxing, snowboarding, fishing on the boat and afternoon strolls on the beach with her partner and rottweiler, Bosco.

Cooper Ashton – Project Planner

Cooper, project planner
Cooper joined the Perception Planning team after his university studies. Cooper has an engineering and building surveying background.

Cooper brings a great energy to the team, keen to learn and get results for our clients. A whiz on GIS platforms and understanding project needs, Cooper is committed to getting the job done.

Cooper is also currently studying a Diploma in Town Planning.

Outside of work Coop enjoys pub trivia, camping and travelling.


Noah Ashton – Building Surveyor

Noah, building surveyor
Noah joined the Perception Planning team after completing his Bachelor of Physics at The University of Sydney and moving to Newcastle to complete further study in Aerospace Engineering at The University of Newcastle.

Noah has a breadth of knowledge and skills in numerical problems, physical systems, and energy based modelling. Noah utilises these skills to provide a deep complex analysis of projects and their requirements, as well as providing novel yet well grounded solutions to any problems.

Noah is using his skills working with Perception Planning on BCA reports and (BCA) Section J energy assessments to apply his specialist skills to get great results on our projects.

Outside of work Noah enjoys spending time with friends, DIY electro-mechanical projects, and archery.


Jordan Long – Project Planner

Jordan has joined the Perception Planning team as a project planner after completing his Bachelor of
Architecture at the University of Newcastle.

He is keen to get to know clients and understand their needs to make the planning process as
seamless as possible.

With a passion for architecture and design, Jordan is committed to helping clients convert their
projects from ideas to reality and contribute to the development of the Hunter region.
Outside of work Jordan enjoys playing soccer, golf, swimming, and taking his dog Milly running.

Keely Tanner – Project Planner

Keely is currently studying a Bachelor of Development Studies, majoring in urban and regional planning. Her passions lie in the role that urban spaces and conscientious development plays in place-making.

With a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management, her project management experience has allowed her to achieve high customer satisfaction and meaningful community engagement in the retail and social enterprise/development sector in Australia and Malawi (Africa). She has adopted emerging sustainable development principles with a focus on strong customer-stakeholder autonomy and decision-making.
She is looking forward to liaising with clients to achieve the best development outcomes and expanding her experience as a junior town planner.

Keely loves nothing more than travelling, fresh air, the bush, and animals. She thrives as a people person and loves volunteering as a mentor working amongst the Hard of Hearing community to empower young people like her with a hearing loss to live their lives to their fullest potential with a strong connection to their Deaf identity and culture.

Teresa Tratz – Executive Planning Assistant

Teresa has completed a bachelor degree with honours at Newcastle University in the UK. During her studies she volunteered in different roles at the university and with Newcastle City Transport Department. She also did an internship at an architecture office in Austria to develop her practical skills further.

Teresa is currently studying a masters degree in disaster resilience and sustainable development at the University of Newcastle. In her role at Perception Planning, she is excited to get to see the developing world from a non-academic perspective and learn some practical skills.
Originally from Austria, Teresa has been traveling a lot in the last couple of years and lived in four different countries for an extended time. She is passionate about the outdoors and loves to go hiking in her spare time.