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Act Now for Toondah Harbour!

The embattled nature of Toondah Harbour once again needs your voice of support– this time by April 23rd.

Toondah Harbour is not safe yet. Nature needs you to show your support once again.

A Proposed Decision by Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to refuse the Toondah Harbour Development in Moreton Bay was announced on 9th April, 2024. Widely publicised in the media, the news will have come as great relief to all who care about threatened species, and the need to respect Australia’s national and international obligations.  But it's not over yet!

What's happening now?

In order to conform with the present Commonwealth EPBC Act, 10 business days have to be given to the development's Proponent to comment on the Proposed Decision.  The Minister has said that because of the wide interest in this issue, she has invited the public to comment also. 

The deadline for comments is 23rd April, 2024.

The developer, Walker Corporation, has already announced that it intends to lodge a revised application. The Redland City Council has announced its disappointment with the Proposed Decision and indicated that it will write to the Minister with a statement of ongoing support for the project.

Here's what to do, before April 23rd

It is crucial that all those who believe this development should not be approved thank the Minister for her nature-positive decision, and request that she confirm it as final, and reject any revised application. There are a few ways to have your say:

Facebook Users: You’ve been invited to add a Comment to the announcement video, here on Minister Plibersek’s Facebook page.

Emailers: You can send comments to this e-mail address:

Web Users: The Department’s EPBC online Portal accepts your comments. Here are some thoughts you may wish to build on in your comments:

  • Support and endorse the Minister's proposed decision under EPBC, to refuse and reject this development application.

  • Request that the Minister confirm their decision as the final decision.

  • Request that the Minister refuse any revised application submitted by the developer on nature-positive principles.

BACKGROUND: Why is Toondah Harbour so special?

The tidal flats of Toondah Harbour are on the shore of Moreton Bay, near Cleveland in the Redland Bay region. You may have been there yourself, as its adjacent the North Stradbroke Island Ferry Terminal. The area lies within Moreton Bay Marine Park, the shores of which are listed as Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, the international treaty signed by Australia and 169 other nations to protect valuable wetland habitat. Australia also has international obligations as a signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species (the CMS). Under the CMS, as a nation we are obliged to protect the marine turtles that inhabit the area and the migratory shorebirds that feed and roost over the summer period, before they embark on their epic 12,000km journey back to the Arctic to breed over our winter. Along with our international obligations, federal and state protections need to be enforced to conserve the area's state and federal-listed threatened species, including Australian humpback dolphins, dugongs, plus a number of shorebird species. The area is also home to Priority Species on the Federal Government’s own Threatened Species Action Plan 2022-32 .These include koalas (Endangered), green turtles (Vulnerable) and eastern curlews (Critically Endangered).

The Proposed Development

Walker Corporation’s plans for this site would see 60 hectares of Ramsar-listed wetlands replaced by over 3000 residential apartments, commercial, retail and tourism precincts, a new ferry terminal and marina. It would involve extensive dredging of the surrounding area, with the resulting impacts on seagrass meadows.

Approval of the development would signify a grievous breach of Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Convention, a cornerstone international treaty intended to protect significant wetlands around the globe, and in turn add to Australia's international reputation as poor environmental managers.

Before (top left)... and after...

Why has this process taken so long?

This current round of proposed development was first mooted almost a decade ago.

The advice of the Environment Department to its then Minister was that the development was “clearly unacceptable”.  However, the Minister Josh Frydenberg overruled this and returned the proposal to Walker Corporation for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment. Years then passed while this Assessment was being prepared.  Meanwhile, over 26,000 concerned people submitted objections to the development.

An open letter of March 2024 from Scientists and Experts to the Environment Minister, called for the protection of Toondah Harbour, not just for local nature but also for the community and wildlife across the world:

Many community groups have worked tirelessly over the years to campaign in favour of preserving this precious area, in spite of being told that they would not win against the might of a huge corporation such as Walker. 

As the Minister is welcoming public comment on this Proposed Decision, it is critical that as many of us who want the preservation of this Ramsar Site for the vulnerable wildlife which depend on it, express their support to the Minister for this Proposed Decision and urge that it become final.

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