Toondah Harbour – celebration, and learning from mistakes

Celebrating Minister Plibersek’s rejection of the Toondah Harbour proposal, and learning from the Toondah mistakes, are key themes of letters to Redlands2030.

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An E-petition asking Queensland Parliament to revoke the Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area (PDA) closes soon. Any Queensland resident can sign this petition.

Celebrating Safe Harbour

G.J. Walter Park near Toondah Harbour
G.J. Walter Park near Toondah Harbour

Redlands 2030 supporters, readers and (Redland City) ratepayers, here are my hopes following the  very successful Safe Passage gathering on 28 April at G.J. Walter Park.

I hope the future ferry terminal upgrade goes to public tender! 

I hope that ten wasted years we wasted with the Walker Corporation does not entitle them to future Crown Land gifts.

I trust the Queensland Government and Redland City Council do not again enter a Commercial in Confidence arrangement secret deal.

I hope the Councillors will show transparency in such matters, as was promised in each Council election, including the last.

I hope that we can move to a level of trust in our Government and Council.

I understand the State Government is expected to cover the costs of Ferry Terminal upgrades.

The land surrounding G.J. Walter Park must continue to foster wildlife, koalas, birds, local residents and visitors.

Wellington Point

Dear Mr DeBrenni, about Toondah Harbour

Migratory shorebirds in Toondah Harbour

For Residents of Sheldon it is Mr de Brenni who is the responsible to constituents for the Toondah debacle.  Likewise he shares responsibility with Don Brown MP for the future of Toondah Harbour.  Accordingly I want to share my recent letter Mr DeBrenni as my representative and because of his senior role in the Labor Government. 

My letter reads as follows.  

I write with some concern that your government has not still repealed the Newman era PDA legislation as promised in your 2016 election campaign.

As the Toondah Harbour PDA is in force, the scheme may be revisited.  Owing to intense community action over the last ten years, we have finally been able to have the Walkers Toondah Harbour scheme binned, at least for now.

It’s possible that your government has not been cognisant of the importance of the wetlands of Moreton Bay to the East Asian Australasian Flyway for our remaining migratory shorebirds.

It is very possible that the LNP may form the next Qld government, and due to the nature of the beast, we (the community), will be forced back to the barricades to defend our dwindling environment.

While I realise the power and influence that “developers” and other lobbyists have over governments though their donations and hints of possible future employment in the exploitative corporations, it would be enlightening to find governing that is to the benefit of the people and environment, rather than the despoilers.

Your colleague, the Member for Capalaba, has long been a proponent of the Toondah PDA, claiming it would be a vital infrastructure improvement, and provide employment for contractors, and (of late) it will provide vital housing.  One might ask how 3600 apartments, built to finance the improvement of the ferry port – which really needs just more parking space – can be justified.

Building affordable housing for first home buyers would provide more immediate employment, rather than waiting 20 years for the completion of a grandiose slum of apartments costing about $2 million each.

Yours thoughts would be appreciated.

Perhaps other people in the seat of Springwood will join me!


A big thanks to Minister Plibersek

Toondah Harbour
Tanya Plibersek with Uncle Norm Enoch

I want to thank Minister Plibersek for making a considered appraisal of Walker Corporation’s ambitions for Toondah Harbour.

The arguments made in favour of the development were, to a great degree specious; being centered around profits rather than on the lasting damage to a critical and invaluable ecology.

To claim we need more housing when these apartments will sell only to the wealthy, is a hollow argument. The housing problem is largely confined to those on lower incomes or with reduced savings. The majority of them are working and living there would be contingent on whatever work is to be found locally.  It’s a long commute from the bay to city of suburban places of work, a commute that generates Green House Gases along with money for the oil companies.

And there is the increased volume and types of refuse, household and visitor waste generated by the the increased tourism and commercial building.

To see the value of the site only in monetary terms is why we are now suffering rapidly advancing  climate chaos.

The fundamental principle of ecology is that one thing is related to many others things, so while the focus so far has been on shore birds, dugongs and turtles, they both feed on some cyclids, and minute marine species,  but also plants which keep them under control and of course themselves provide food for a wider range of species. It is that balance that remains rarely unseen that preserves the area’s life forms.

QIMR has been studying infectious and water borne diseases. The last time I talked to any of the researchers, they were studying the possible progress of mosquito borne diseases down the coast, particularly in Redlands. The were concerned at the scale of mosquito populations in the off shore islands. Mosquitos that surprisingly are able to make 40 kms commutes to the mainland were plentiful. They considered Toondah to also be at risk of mosquito borne Japanese Encephalitis, Ross River Fever, and in the future, possibly novel strains of dengue.(

All in all, this extraordinary marine ecology is best left alone to amaze and entrance, and not become yet another commodity exploited by what has proved to be a rather dodgy corporation.

M. Env. Health, MTPH, Society of Enviro Journalists (US)

Learning from Toondah Harbour mistakes

Tanya Plibersek, listening to community groups

Recently I joined a meeting in Cleveland of a dedicated group of South East Queenslanders to listen to the wisdom of two former very successful and visionary Queensland Environment Ministers:  Pat Comben and Rod Welford.  

We were meeting to discuss the outrageous plan to trash 40 hectares (100 acres) of wetlands in the Moreton Bay Marine Park at Toondah Harbour. The developer wanted to build an island in the Bay from dredged spoil and then construct 3,600 apartments in around 60 high-rise towers up to 10 storeys high. It would also be one of Queensland’s most intensively developed suburbs. Sadly, the construction area was an internationally significant Ramsar wetlands that migratory birds flying from the Arctic Circle every year depended on.  

Pat Comben was especially interested in the proposed real estate scheme because he was state Environment Minister involved in the original decision by Premier Wayne Goss to introduce international Ramsar designations to many sites along the Queensland coast.  Pat reminded us of the history of where we have been and what we have done to our environment – and the fact that it now plays second fiddle to the quest for money and development.

Rod Welford, another outstanding Environment minister, spoke of the importance of protecting these areas in Australia, and the implications of doing nothing.  His knowledge and continuing commitment to these issues was inspiring to his audience, many of whom have spent a lifetime fighting for the environment.

At the end of the meeting, we all knew it was up to another Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, to stop the unwanted real estate scheme at Toondah.  An unheard of 26,000 submissions were lodged against this shameful development. These submissions came from all over Australia and even from overseas. Over 150 environmental scientists and experts called for the project to be stopped.  The developer’s Environmental Impact Statement was deeply flawed and arguably misleading. And more than 75,000 people signed a petition saying ‘no’ to the project.  Ms Plibersek was denied the opportunity to make her final decision because after all the hype and assurances were made, the application for EPBC approval was withdrawn… a meek end after 10 years and avid support from State and Local Governments. But no apology as yet.

It was a pleasure to be part of a passionate group of people and joined by such outstanding visionary Environment Ministers who made significant enhancements when they were in government.  It is up now up to new Environment Ministers to follow in their footsteps to protect the natural beauty of our area for future generations.  

We hear Council and the Member for Capalaba touting a Plan B, surely they should start with some reflection and acknowledgement of the ten years of people power that brought the previous plan to its knees … it is called learning from your mistakes! 


More Letters To Redlands2030

Whitewater viability, election questions and Toondah – in letters to Redlands2030

Tanya Plibersek and her proposed Toondah decision – letters

Birkdale whitewater and Toondah wetlands proposals – letters

Redlands2030 – 7 June 2024

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