Proposed rejection of Toondah Harbour mega marina the right call

  • AMCS welcomes federal environment minister Tanya Plibersek’s landmark proposed decision to refuse mega marina-resort
  • Mega marina-resort would destroy internationally significant wetlands on Brisbane’s doorstep
  • Development would have huge impacts on dugongs, dolphins and threatened loggerhead and green turtles

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) welcomes federal environment minister Tanya Plibersek’s proposed decision to refuse the outrageously massive marina-resort in an internationally significant wetland at Toondah Harbour in Moreton Bay, ahead of a two-week consultation period.

The development would destroy 40 hectares of mangrove and seagrasses to build 3,600 apartments, hotels, retail outlets, and a 200-berth marina, wiping out vital feeding grounds for green turtles and dugongs, which are threatened with to extinction, as well as a nursery for juvenile fish and prawns. Australia has committed to protect these wetlands under the Ramsar convention.

AMCS acting chief executive Tooni Mahto said: “Federal environment minister Tanya Plibersek’s landmark proposed decision to refuse an application to dredge the critical wetland areas of Toondah Harbour for a massive marina and resort is absolutely the right choice for nature, and reflects the massive community outcry over the proposed development.

“The proposed mega marina-resort would wipe out 50 hectares from the Moreton Bay Marine Park, which includes internationally renowned Ramsar wetlands, which Australia is committed to protect under an international convention. It includes seagrass meadows and mangroves where vulnerable green turtles and dugongs feed.

“The minister’s proposed decision notes that the development would have ‘unacceptable impacts’ on threatened loggerhead and green turtles and ‘significant impacts’ on dugongs and dolphins.

“Mangrove and seagrass habitats are vital for marine life. They are nursery grounds for fish and other animals, and critical for healthy coastal ecosystems.

“They are critical carbon sinks, storing carbon in high quantities, helping to slow global warming. Seagrass meadows and mangrove forests can store 2-4 times more carbon than tropical rainforests, helping to slow global warming.

“As we face the twin biodiversity and climate crises, now is not the time to be winding back protection for these blue carbon habitats that also support species vulnerable to extinction.”

The proposed decision reflects the overwhelming community opposition to the proposal, led by Redlands 2030 and the Toondah Alliance, the Australian Conservation Foundation and BirdLife Australia. Multiple groups have campaigned for many years to stop this mega development in critical wetland and marine ecosystems.

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