Toondah Project environmental assessment

New plans for dredging and land reclamation for development of the Toondah Harbour area have been referred by Walker Group to the Federal Government for consideration of environmental impacts.

The new Toondah PDA…this diagram has less detail than the previous proposal.

Members of the public can review the information that Walker Group has included in its referral and make comments to the Federal Government no later than Thursday 25 May.

Of some concern is that the new plans show even less detail than the previous scheme.

In December 2015, the first referral of the Toondah project was lodged.  Now a new proposal has been lodged which and supposedly after consideration of the information provided by Walker Corporation, and comments from the public, the Federal Department will decide if the project requires assessment and how it should be done.

Local media, the Redland City Bulletin announced the new Toondah referral without any consideration of the murky process used to abandon one referral and start another.  The Bulletin never even provided any analysis or critique that might assist people wanting to participate in the referral process.

Walker Group has published an open letter on its change of plans but it does little to shed light on the motivation for the change.

The silence of the Redland City Council, all Councillors, the Member for Cleveland, the Member for Bowman and of course the Deputy Premier on the startling change of direction is amazing.  In fact the silence is deafening given how much spin was used to promote the benefits of the previous proposal.  If the new proposal is really better why didn’t it emerge in lieu of the first attempt?  

Walker Group’s Toondah referral information

The Referral number is 2017/7939 and documents available for viewing at this time include:

Some of the reports from the previous referral may be of interest, and are listed below:

Commenting on EPBC referrals

Comments about Walker Group’s EPBC previous referral from Wildlife Bayside are available here. It is a well written submission which addresses important issues and may serve as a template to those concerned about the ultra short period for submissions.

Some information about making comments on EPBC referrals is available from organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund, the Environmental Defenders Office (Qld ) and the Federal Government. Some links are provided below.

Useful documents from WWF EPBC Unit

Federal Government advice on making comments about EPBC referrals

Advice from the Environmental Defenders Office (Qld)

Who should assess the environmental investigation?

Walker Group is proposing that the Queensland Government should assess the investigation of matters of national environmental significance. In section 1.14 of its new referral document, Walker Group says:

If the project is declared a ‘controlled action’ under the EPBC Act, the project assessment is proposed to be conducted under the Queensland environmental assessment bilateral agreement.
Walker may seek declaration of the project as a ‘coordinated project’ under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (SDPWO Act) to streamline environmental assessment processes. It is proposed that the Coordinator-General’s coordinated process will address the assessment requirements of the EPBC Act (if deemed a‘controlled action’), Marine Parks Act (excluding assessments for marine park permits) and development applications under the SPA.

The idea that the State Government should coordinate the assessment of Federal environment issues is a major cause for concern. The Queensland Government is very strongly in favour of this project and can not be considered a suitable party to perform unbiased and impartial decision making based on scientific evidence. Any Toondah investigation process overseen by the Queensland Government would lack credibility.

The project has been established under the Economic Development Act 2012 which is not covered by the Bilateral Agreement.

The assessment of this project as a controlled action should be undertaken by the Federal Government.

International significance of southern Moreton Bay

Researchers examining a dugong in Moreton Bay

Southern Moreton Bay’s environment is significant for two reasons. It is a Ramsar wetland and also an important habitat for thousands of migratory shorebirds.

The Ramsar Convention was established in 1971 to protect wetland environments around the world. Australia is one of 168 countries to sign up. The Moreton Bay Ramsar site has been protected since 1993 because of its biodiversity including many vulnerable species.

The Bay’s seagrass beds support a significant dugong population and many species of turtles including Green, Hawkesbill and Loggerhead.

Eastern curlew feeding on tidal mudflats next to Toondah Harbour

Eastern curlew feeding on tidal mudflats in the proposed development area.

Each year Moreton Bay is visited by 50,000 migratory shorebirds. During our warmer months – from October to April – more than 30 different shorebird species live in this area busy feeding to build up energy for their return trip along the East Asian–Australasian Flyway. Australia has signed agreements with China, Japan and Korea to protect many species of migratory shorebirds and their habitats.

The largest and most easily identified shorebird visitor to Moreton Bay is the critically endangered Eastern Curlew, notable for its long curved bill.

The well established koalas in the vicinity of Toondah harbour will also trigger the provision so of the EPBC Act.  The Koala Action Group‘s koala tracking project has further highlighted the importance of Toondah to koalas.  The impact of 3,600 apartments and associated cars, disturbance etc will be concentrated in a high density residential area.  The outcome, almost certainly will be the demise of the local koalas.

Redlands2030 – 13 May

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email

9 thoughts on “Toondah Project environmental assessment

  1. It is hard to believe that the Toondah Harbour proposal, which does nothing for tourism, is seriously being considered. The existing site for the vehicular ferries is unsatisfactory as it requires dredging in order to accommodate these ferries. Then we need to consider the sensitive wildlife of the area and this has not been done. Finally we need to consider the infrastructure, the overcrowding on the narrow roads and the sustainability factor. This proposal fails at every level.

  2. I am a marine biologist but you don’t need to be a biologist to see that the existing Toondah Harbour Proposal is ludicrous, both from the environmental point of view and from the infrastructure stand point. Have you ever been on a Stradbroke Island Ferry as it negotiates the twisting channel at low tide? It has been situated in a very poor location. The site on the western side of Cleveland Point is much better located.
    Dr Dennis Tafe

  3. The changes to the proposal appear to fall in to the 10 percent rule, and should be re advertised by Economic Development Qld.

  4. The community ‘s expectations of the EPBC Act to adequately mitigate impacts , adequately offset or reject the proposal should be compared to similar proposals and case studies if they exist and to the limited scope of the EPBC Act and the dwindling resources of the Federal Environment Department . The Accumulated Impacts , Economic Impacts and Town Planning Need and Alternatives will not be accounted for. Further the Matters of State Environmental Significance ,
    Regional Biodiversity Values and MLES , Traffic , Scenic Amenity, Endemism, Ecosystem Services, Koalas, Lifestyle and Biodiversity are on balance ignored in this process. Nearly all of these issues in another State would trigger rejection

    The Use of Independent Experts or Independent Assessors should be viewed with the GBR World Heritage example which is in a largely different World Heritage international arena . The Quandamooka or related World Heritage Nomination for NSI , Southern Moreton Bay and the Redland City Coastline is some years away. Delegations under the Act for consultants to be EPBC decisionmakers and potentially SARA is abhorrent. Federal processes should be pursued, but it is a full time job with long odds.
    Other cases of Independent Assessors should be read closely for Terms of Reference fine print as the Independent process in the Minnippi West development in Brisbane under IPA had unexpected events for approval and curious solutions and offsets which lost community trust.

    There are other process and strategy options here. Graham Carter and Redlands 2030 have proposed the alternate suggested port site in Raby Bay. There are other decisionmaking processes which will have to be repeated with diffent community investment for different outcomes.

    Pedro Plunkett

  5. This proposal remains as a major money grab by developers who are intent on stealing donated State Government seabeds owned by the people of Australia. Not only is this land being stolen from the community, but the community who should be the driving force behind any development on public areas, has not been involved in the development of the project.
    The developer has not reduced the size of the urban development & therefore the community is still getting a city in the ocean that it doesn’t need & that will serve no economic purpose. The undeniable fact is the majority(60%) of people living in this new development will need to leave the Redlands for work, the remaining employment generated by the development will be retail & trades to serve the development itself. This development is an exercise in futility for everyone except those directly benefitting from the project.

  6. The EPA Economic Development Act permits some amendments after the PDA has been accepted, but significant amendments require Section 62 of the Act to revisit community consultation requirements (Reference Section 59 and 60). That has never been done, allegedly representing a significant breach of process in failing a duty of disclosure and public administration duty-of-care. I humbly suggest that upgrading (?) from 800 dwellings on 6.8 hectares to 3, 600 dwellings over 67 hectares, including 17.5 hectares over land and 49.5 hectares of reclaimed land resuming all but 5% of Ramsar convention internationally protected wetland, is significant. I wonder how our existing schools will absorb the equivalent capacity of 2 schools into their operations for a start, if these and other essential quality-of-life considerations and infrastructure are ignored. Where will the 125000 litres of sewerage produced a day end up, without appropriate investment in sewerage considerations? How does that delightful detail contribute to the promised Tourism destination aspects – I’m not sure! I suspect the impact upon the desirability of water-front living will be rather tangible however. Do we expect to cart that excrement out daily too, like Shoreline? I would further allege that the artistic impressions released, containing elements that more than one councillor was quick to point out as never having been discussed for inclusion, were deceptive and misleading. The reality of the proposal lodged and accepted with State and Federal authorities, that also allegedly attracted an award for RCC, has NEVER BEEN PRESENTED FOR PUBLIC CONSIDERATION. The fiction presented to the Redlands public did not represent the same, or actual environmental challenge to fishing nursery grounds, when ocean stocks have been depleted to 40% (as featured in reputable environmental science reports.

    Our reps need a bit of a maths refresher too. 1500 jobs promised in return for accommodating 9000+ people? Really? That’s a rather alarming JOB DEFICIT to me. Promises to reduce road congestion whilst adding to it is yet another example of mathematics dyslexia indicative of a lack of competency or diminished capacity. Scary that this is being dished up by people responsible for our Capital Works projects, if they are lucky to be permitted a glimpse of the balance sheets that is, in accord with secret meetings and restrictive portfolio arrangements that deny Councillors any information, and public, qualified and experienced stakeholder scrutiny to subsidise their own lack of experience…. unless they specifically ask……, and Commercial-in-confidence arrangements permit. Perhaps that might be easier if our Councillors and qualified stakeholders were equally kept in the know don’t you think?

    These discrepancies have been reported in repeat submissions, yet the parliamentary recipients at both State and Federal level have failed to adhere to their own legislation and policy directives, and international treaty conventions. They have neglected to implement Section 62 of the Act, or defer to Fraud and Corruption Policies to mount the investigations these parties have signed and accepted at local government and state level, and accepted under Oath in taking office. The public deserves an explanation, not a selective dismissal of its obligations. This matter has not received the legislated stakeholder scrutiny it deserves, in either its latest guise, or the previous one.

    The public had better find its voice on this issue, or accept more of the same contempt from its alleged representatives. Frankly, I refer to this demonstrated behaviour and lack of attention to detail by a different name. Let’s not overlook the costs we have absorbed to date, in an exercise that we were denied the consideration of assessing in the version that was actually lodged – over $2 million and counting. Meanwhile CDSHS lacks a hall for thousands of kids and their families, and existing infrastructure continues to accrue alarming waiting lists. Residential approvals continue to climb (13,000+ over expectations), enabling a disgraceful quality of building and design with serious social, safety, security and insurance implications. Draft state planning and forward population projections have well and truly been exceeded, so there is no obligation to add to the pain, and an overwhelming body of evidence to argue against it in response to dire threats of legal action by developers who don’t accept rejection. Last time I looked, the people still qualified with a healthy majority, enough to overthrow a demanding minority, and a kangaroo court, if only it dared care enough and enjoyed real representation and leadership over self-interest. I guess the overwhelming increase in welfare dependency in this area, and our cries about the increasing cost of living and excessive vacant accommodation and reducing rental incomes is all a hum then. Our behaviour suggests that our wallets are good for this, and that the abuse is not only welcomed but invited to “keep on coming”. If that’s not the case, then its beyond overdue to deliver a stern and decisive “No thank you” and a emphatic language and tone that demands both sharing of information and responsive and representative listening.

    Perhaps its also worth reminding people that an unhappy public have reference to established precedents to throw out representatives that fail to serve and honour the oath that they accepted. Incumbents should remain on notice, and never accept any degree of complacency that they will fulfill full terms if deemed incompetent or guilty of worse. The absence of ethical representation is alleged to be palpable here.

    Support of Toondah Harbour is a personal decision. However, it should be based on the factual information intended for lodgement, and not a ficticious, or deceptive version of it. You assess the difference: Presented with 800 dwellings on 6.8 hectares. Actual lodgement: 3,600 dwellings over 67 hectares, including 17.5 hectares over land and 49.5 hectares of reclaimed land resuming all but 5% of Ramsar convention internationally protected wetland.

    Is this the quality of representation you elected, and will continue to accept to protect your interests? That’s really what’s at risk here. The development of Toondah Harbour is not the issue but a conduit for an alarming precedent to be established that I urge all readers to take exception to, and review in the appropriate detail this matter deserves.

  7. Not under any circumstances should the Queensland Government be involved in assessing environmental impacts on Toondah Harbour area of development as it enjoys a poor record in care of the land and in area where I live, Coolnwynpin Creek surrounds in Capalaba. Witnessed tonnes of earth bulldozed into waterway and specially protected wetland site 29-37 Moreton Bay Rd. Approval was given by Labour State govt during time Leda built Capalaba Central with strip of shops to build tavern end of extensive parking area, locals objected to, + liquor outlet, on a man-made creek bank that is today unwelcoming and neglected. Sadly, the 300 metre boardwalk built by 15 Redlands unemployed trainees from bridge on Old Cleveland Rd Capalaba connecting with pathway through to Crotona Rd creek walkway to Windemere Rd Alexandra Hills, is now off limits to locals as towering concrete structures line the bank between 20 Crotona Rd & CBD said to be too high risk. Boardwalk/track project had been organised by then Redland Shire Council, CES, & Ecosystems Mgt Consultants where sightings were of bandicoots, platypus & several type of frogs, all gone now. Only degradation and serious neglect of Capalaba central area surrounds remain today having created an ideal place for social misfits.
    No sooner was the new Labour Govt in power, than Deputy Premier Jackie Trad approved Walker Corp’s project much to the surprise of Redlands community at large who were aware the plan was hatched with certain high-profile local government heavyweights …behind closed doors.
    Consider too that protected Redland wildlife corridors, never to be built on, have been, knowing developers with deep pockets have the final say. Deprived overnight of quality of life, some residents moved on to greener pastures to seek a better lifestyle.
    The Federal Government must make the final decision on the Walker Corp project only after a thorough environmental assessment has been completed.
    My view.

  8. So the proposal can be changed at a whim. How does that align with the previous attempts to “put Redlands on the map”, or “open for business’ or “jobs. jobs, jobs”? It seems rhetoric will fit any size! S

    How does it ensure the secret infrastructure agreement (signed in late 2015, promised for public release in early 2016…but never seen!) delivers for the community?

    How about 5 times more open space (promised by Andrew Laming). Despite the fraudulent promise surely it needs to be recalibrate?

    And of course, Councils support…the only vote was in early 2014 when the technical reports showed 800-100 apartments. Did Council consider 3600 apartments, in the Bay? NO!

    Did Council consider the new proposal? NO!

    Did Council make a submission on the previous EPBC referral? NO!

    Where are our Councillors now? Surely it’s time to speak up! Surely it’s time to at least make a submission to the EPBC referral process. Surely it is time to advocate the public interest, rather than the vested interests!

    • Like you, Baz, I’m unable to understand why Council is continuing to be quoted as supporting Toondah.
      The maps clearly show the extent of the Ramsar site. This can only be assessed under the EPBC Act at Federal level so the Walker call to have State be the assessor, using the
      Economic Development Act 2012 , is not on, not able to fulfil the requirements of international obligations.
      This time will Council speak up on this Ramsar bypass and insist that the Queensland Government is not able to assess the matters of national environmental significance? Like you ask, will Council be making a submission to the EPBC referral process?
      I look forward to hearing further on Council’s understanding on the latest Walker Group referral to the federal Government.

Comments are closed.