Statement: Toondah Harbour

Last week I announced my proposed decision to reject an application for development in Toondah Harbour near Brisbane.

Today Walker Corporation advised me that they are withdrawing their application for approval under national environment law.

This means the project will not go ahead.

The wetlands where this project was proposed are rare, unique and are important to prevent the extinction of animals.

These include loggerhead and green turtles and the critically endangered eastern curlew, which migrates 12,000 kilometres from Russia to Australia and relies on Moreton Bay as habitat for feeding and roosting.

The project would also have had significant impacts on a range of other species including iconic Australian animals like dugongs and dolphins.

The proposed dredging and land reclamation would have also destroyed and disturbed 58.7 hectares of the internationally protected wetland of Moreton Bay – that’s around 24 times the size of the Gabba.

But this project should never have got this far.

Toondah Harbour, part of an internationally protected wetland, was declared a Priority Development Area by the Newman LNP Government in 2013.

In 2018, the application was referred to then Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg. Huge amounts of difficulties, delay and expense could have been avoided if he had done his job and said that this project was “clearly unacceptable” and could never be approved under federal environment law.

Instead, Josh Frydenberg ignored that advice from his Department and proposed to reduce the protections of this important wetland so this development could proceed.

Labor’s Nature Positive Plan will help take the politics out of decision making and give faster, clearer decisions for business.