Toondah Decision Landmark For Nature And People

The Australian Conservation Foundation has warmly welcomed Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s draft decision to reject Walker Group’s proposal to build a high-rise apartment and retail complex on the wetlands at Toondah Harbour on Moreton Bay.

The Minister intends to reject the proposal because of its unacceptable impacts on a Ramsar-listed wetland, migratory birds and local threatened species.

“This is a landmark decision for nature and people,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“Moreton Bay, on Brisbane’s doorstep, is an essential feeding site for eastern curlews, a critically endangered migratory bird that flies from Australia to Russia and back every year.

“Every summer eastern curlews, grey-tailed tattlers and other shorebirds recuperate at Toondah Harbour following their epic flight back from the northern hemisphere.

“Walker Group’s marina and high-rise apartment plan would have destroyed irreplaceable feeding grounds for migratory birds, a big chunk of the Ramsar wetland and mature eucalypts that are home to koalas and other wildlife.

“This draft decision is a testament to people power. More than 24,500 people have directly contacted Minister Plibersek, urging her to reject this proposal.

“Thousands have taken to the streets calling on the Albanese government to save Toondah.

“ACF, BirdLife Australia and the Toondah Alliance, along with local groups, have long campaigned to stop this bid to replace a living ecosystem with a concrete wasteland.

“The truth is, a proposal for a massive real estate project on a Ramsar wetland should have been rejected when the department recommended that to then Minister Frydenberg in 2015.

“This is a classic example of why Australia’s revised environment law needs to allow for a ‘fast no’ to proposals that would have unacceptable impacts on threatened species – and why the minister should not have powers to override the decision of an independent EPA.

“Some places are too precious to be left vulnerable to the pressures of politics.

“We commend Environment Minister Plibersek for standing up for wetlands, wildlife and community by announcing she intends to reject Walker’s destructive real estate proposal.”

Header pic by Nikki Michail

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