By Tanya Plibersek

09 April 2024



Tuesday 9 April 2024

Proposed decision to refuse development in Toondah Harbour

Minister for the Environment, Tanya Plibersek, has made a proposed decision to refuse an application for a development on Toondah Harbour, near Brisbane. Toondah Harbour is part of the Moreton Bay Ramsar Site, which is recognised as a wetland of international importance.

The Minister is inviting comment on her proposed decision before she makes her final decision. Over 26,000 comments were made on the development when its Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released to the public.

Walker Corporation is proposing to develop a mixed use residential, commercial, retail and tourism precinct. Construction was proposed to occur through dredging of the wetland with the sediment obtained through dredging used for a process of land reclamation over a 15 to 20 year period.

The Minister’s proposed decision finds that the removal of 58.7 hectares from the internationally protected wetland is an unacceptable impact.

She also finds that the development would have an unacceptable impact on a range of threatened and migratory species including loggerhead and green turtles, the eastern curlew and the grey-tailed tattler. It will also have a significant impact on dugongs, dolphins and other shorebirds.

For these reasons, the Minister proposes to refuse the application.

The Minister has formally advised Walker Corporation who have 10 business days to respond to the Minister’s proposed decision.

The Minister will assess feedback on the proposed decision before making a final decision.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and Water the Hon Tanya Plibersek:

“I have made my proposed decision, which is to protect Moreton Bay from unacceptable impacts from a proposed development.

“These wetlands are rare, unique and important to prevent the extinction of animals like the eastern curlew and loggerhead turtle.

“My proposed decision says that we can’t destroy portions of this internationally important wetland.

“I made my proposed decision after considering the relevant assessment material, visiting the site and meeting with the company as well as local residents, businesses, representatives of the Quandamooka people and environmentalists.

“I am making my proposed decision public so that the tens of thousands of people who have made public comments on this have a chance to respond. I want to hear from them before I make my final decision.”