The proposed Toondah Harbour residential development project, for 3,600 apartments on dredged Ramsar listed wetlands, conflicts with policies set out in the Labor Party’s current policy platform.
Labor Party policies
Labor’s 2017 policy platform was approved at the Party’s conference in July. Hundreds of policy statements are set out in a 127 page booklet.
A number of Labor’s policy statements clearly preclude the Toondah Harbour project.
Labor says it will protect Ramsar-listed and other wetlands across Queensland and prohibit large-scale reclamation within marine parks and wetlands.
The Labor Party should clarify immediately if it means what it says, by stating categorically that it will no longer support the proposed Toondah Harbour project which so clearly conflicts with official party policy.
If the Labor Party doesn’t dump the Toondah Harbour project now, it begs the obvious question:
Can anything else in the Labor Party’s policy platform be taken seriously?
Toondah Harbour project and the Ramsar site
The proposed Toondah Harbour project, originally conceived by the Redland City Council, involves large scale reclamation (and large scale dredging) in Ramsar listed wetlands which are part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park.
The 73 hectare Toondah Harbour project area includes 50 hectares of Ramsar wetlands. The preferred developer (Walker Group) is proposing 40 hectares of reclamation in the Moreton Bay Ramsar site.
When reviewing the proposed Toondah Harbour project, Federal Government bureaucrats reported to their Minister that it is likely to:
…result in substantially adverse impacts due to loss of areas of wetlands and impacts on the habitat and life cycle of a number of species including migratory shorebirds.
Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has said the proposed project would be likely to have significant impacts on the ecological character of the Moreton Bay Ramsar wetland, listed threatened species and communities and migratory species.
What Labor has said in its policies
The following words are extracted from the Labor Party’s State Platform 2017.
The policy statement prohibiting large-scale reclamation within marine parks and wetlands appears twice as items 5.87 and 5.88. Perhaps this was intended, for the avoidance of doubt.
World Heritage Listing and International Environmental Treaties
Labor will protect Ramsar-listed and other wetlands across Queensland by ensuring that nearby development does not cause adverse impacts to wetlands ecological and hydrological values. (5.48)
Coastal and Marine Management
Labor will ensure coastal development is managed sustainably, for current and future generations, by considering the social and environmental impacts in addition to the economic benefits. (5.83)
Labor will sustainably manage the coastal and marine zone for current and future generations by reviewing, strengthening and integrating coastal and marine management legislation, and integrating coastal management and marine planning and development assessment. (5.84)
Labor will protect coastal and marine zones by prohibiting large-scale reclamation within marine parks and wetlands. Reclamation outside marine parks and wetlands must meet strict environmental standards. (5.87)
Labor will protect coastal and marine zones by prohibiting large-scale reclamation within marine parks and wetlands. Reclamation outside marine parks and wetlands must meet strict environmental standards. (5.88)
Dredging and Disposal of Dredged Material
Labor remains committed to prohibiting the dumping of capital dredge spoil within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). Labor will reduce the impacts to the GBRWH from the dumping of maintenance dredge spoil by establishing a maintenance dredging framework consistent with the Reef 2050 Plan. In other state marine waters Labor will ensure that development of new and the operation of existing ports meet world’s best environmental practices. (5.120)
Stop the rort
The Labor Government announced its support for the Toondah Project in June 2015 claiming this would offset jobs lost from termination of sand mining on North Stradbroke Island.
We now know that sandmining employment numbers have been vastly overstated by local politicians and vested interests.
Claims that the proposed 3,600 apartment project will deliver community benefits through new infrastructure have been misleading. Most of the project infrastructure spending is to support private sector investment in a mega real estate development.
Straddie is getting on with its future as a tourism destination and this won’t be helped by turning its ferry terminal gateway into a construction mess for 20 years, and destroying internationally significant wetlands.
Its time for the state Government to develop a new plan to upgrade the ferry terminals and associated car parking areas at both Cleveland and Dunwich which avoids dredging or other environmental harm in the Moreton Bay Marine Park and Ramsar Site.