Toondah Harbour Inquiry E-Petition Tops Redlands’ Issues

Redlands2030 President Steve MacDonald says a petition to Queensland Parliament demanding an independent public inquiry into plans for a $1.3 billion residential development to be built in Moreton Bay wetlands at Toondah Harbour, Cleveland attracted over 6000 signatures.  

 “The strong public response to this petition shows high levels of alarm about the proposed development of 3600 units to be built in the waters of the Moreton Bay Marine Park – and the secrecy surrounding it.  It’s time the community gets the full facts about this massive commercial development and the impacts on both local life and the protected marine environment,” he continued.  

Government Petition for Toondah Harbour Inquiry

A record number of petitioners

This petition has set a record for previous Redlands-related issues since e-Petitions were introduced by State Parliament in 2002.

“An independent inquiry is an appropriate vehicle for the State Government to forensically consider the many allegations about impropriety surrounding the project and to shine a light on its actions for the community,” Mr MacDonald said.

The petition identifies four areas for scrutiny by the inquiry:

1.     The reasons why the Toondah Harbour PDA was established in 2013, largely over wetlands which are part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and the internationally recognised Moreton Bay Ramsar site.

2.     The adequacy of initial studies, planning work and community engagement managed by Redland City Council in 2013 and 2014.

3.     The probity and soundness of decisions made by the State Government and Redland City Council in relation to the secret agreements for development within the Toondah Harbour PDA, and subsequent decision-making under these agreements.

4.      A comprehensive assessment of the costs and benefits to the community for the development which is being proposed within the Toondah Harbour PDA.

Why does the Government fear an independent inquiry?

“All levels of government have been stonewalling community questions. Often claiming locals don’t care or even support the mega-residential development.  Redlands2030 has conducted its own face-to-face surveys and results show exactly the opposite,” said Mr MacDonald.

“If the State Government is so confident about its processes to date, what has it got to lose?  An independent inquiry seems a fair way for all parties to have their issues resolved”.

Further, Mr MacDonald noted that the most recent face-to-face surveys at fourteen locations across Redland City conducted by Redlands2030 between December 2019 and January 2020 garnered views of over 1300 respondents. Results showed 85% of people were opposed to the proposed mega-residential development. The surveys were conducted in conjunction with Birdlife Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation (Bayside Branch).

Will the Premier listen?

The October 2020 State Government Election will be a close call and pundits are already predicting it could result in a hung Parliament. Given the widespread angst about the mega Toondah development (below) and the murky path the project has taken through the corridors of power, it is time the Premier stood up as she did when the Gold Coast community rejected another PDA on the Gold Coast Spit.

Another artists impression of the mega residential development at Toondah Harbour (Curtesy of Claire Richardson)

To date, the Toondah Harbour PDA project has been the responsibility of various Ministers for Economic Development (being Jackie Trad, Cameron Dick and now Kate Jones). Since taking office from the arrogant LNP/Newman team in 2015, not one ALP Minister has ventured to Cleveland and met with the community. Not one has inspected the site or met with the growing numbers of aggrieved residents. Even despite locals taking the unusual step of asking the Premier to hold a Community Cabinet meeting in the Redlands – a request that was rejected.

The Toondah proposal leaves many unanswered questions about the planning, the secrecy, and consultation. The standing of important policy and planning undertakings, even the undertakings by previous Governments that a Toondah like development would never happen appear to be ignored! It appears that responsible Ministers may have compromised themselves in as much as they are touted as partners on the development with the Walker Corporation and the Redland City Council. This alone raises concern about the conflict of interest these people have when adjudicating matters of public interest!

Redlands2030 understands bureaucrats of the Minister for Economic Development are already working on a response to Parliament about the record breaking petition. To date, the standard approach has been to “fob off” complaints without the Premier, Anastacia Palaszczuk, having to even consider the matter. In this way, the Premier has avoided having her fingerprints anywhere near the response to the community. and she has been able to distance herself from responsibility for Toondah.

Community action!

Now having received the biggest petition ever submitted about a Redlands issue, the Premier needs to respond to the 6000 plus petitioners and accept responsibility for the failed planning, flawed consultation and misleading administration of the Toondah PDA. The next step for the project is clearly in the hands of the Premier.

The Premier’s response should be known before the upcoming election on Saturday 31 October. It will help decide representation in the Redlands electorates and may even determine the overall outcome of what is expected to be a very close election result.

It is time now to bypass our disappointing Ministers, and demand that the Premier herself respond.  You can help bring the Toondah debacle to the desk of the Premier.

Please click the below button to send the Premier (and the Minister for Economic Development) a pre-drafted letter. You may edit the pre-drafted letter before sending if you wish.


Redlands2030 – 1 September 2020

0 thoughts on “Toondah Harbour Inquiry E-Petition Tops Redlands’ Issues”

  1. The Toondah proposal is Environmentally, Economically and Morally WRONG. It IS about making a Billionaire richer with the support of Politicians compromised by donations.

    Raby Bay was once a major feeding ground for migratory shore birds plus habitat for endemic marine life. Dredged to create new house blocks, the developers made their money and moved on. The acid forming marine mud is an ongoing and expensive maintenance legacy for Governments and the residence. As always, the developers have taken the money and don’t have any responsibilities or cares for the environmental destruction and financial costs they leave for others.

    Toondah Harbour will be the same, with compromised politicians from all levels of Government willing to ignore their responsibilities to the electors and future generations for the short term greed of their donors.

    The proposed Toondah Harbour development still requires a number of approvals from the state government, eg.
    ● Priority Development Area development approval under the Economic Development Act 2012 (ED Act);
    ● Marine Parks Permits under the Marine Parks (Moreton Bay) Zoning Plan 2008 (Qld) and the Marine Parks Act 2004 (Qld) framework which include:
    ○ Amendment of the Moreton Bay Zoning Plan to declare a designated works area;
    ○ Revocation of part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park; and
    ○ Permission for reclamation;
    ● Environmental authority for dredging under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld);
    ● Allocation of resource under the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995 (Qld);
    ● Alienation of State owned land below High Water (requiring a most appropriate land use assessment under the land Act); and
    ● Significantly changes to the opportunities and management of the reserve for public recreation known as GJ Walter Park and a loss of public amenity and foreshore.

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