Major blow for Redlands harbour redevelopment

Toondah Harbour at Redlands. | Newsreel
The Federal Government has indicated it will knock back the massive Toondah Harbour Development. | Photo: From the Toondah website

The Federal Government has indicated it is likely to block the $3 billion Toondah Harbour project planned on the Redland coast, east of Brisbane.

In a statement released today, Minister for the Environment Tanya Plibersek announced that her inclination was to knock back the development on environmental grounds.

However, she has invited comment on her proposed decision before she makes the final call.

“I have made my proposed decision…to protect Moreton Bay from unacceptable impacts from a proposed development,” Ms Plibersek said.

“These wetlands are rare, unique and important to prevent the extinction of animals like the eastern curlew and loggerhead turtle. My proposed decision says that we can’t destroy portions of this internationally important wetland.”

The Redland City Council website says the Toondah Harbour project would have delivered $116m in community improvements in the Redlands.

The project includes:

  • A complete upgrade of the marine channel and swing basin
  • New ferry terminal, ticketing and information facilities
  • A minimum of 1449 car parks
  • Bus interchange, waterfront plaza and boardwalks
  • Boat and watercraft launching facilities
  • Open space and wildlife corridors
  • Road and cycleway upgrades

The developer, Walker Corporation, is proposing to develop a mixed use residential, commercial, retail and tourism precinct.

The Minister has formally advised Walker Corporation of her decision and the company has 10 business days to respond.

More than 26,000 comments were made on the development when its Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released to the public.

Ms Plibersek said construction was proposed to occur through dredging of the wetland with the sediment obtained through dredging used for land reclamation over a 15 to 20 year period.

The Minister proposed to refuse the application because:

  • The removal of 58.7 hectares from the internationally protected wetland was an unacceptable impact.
  • The development would have an unacceptable impact on a range of threatened and migratory species including loggerhead and green turtles, the eastern curlew and the grey-tailed tattler. It would also have a significant impact on dugongs, dolphins and other shorebirds.

“I made my proposed decision after considering the relevant assessment material, visiting the site and meeting with the company as well as local residents, businesses, representatives of the Quandamooka people and environmentalists,” the Minister said.

“I am making my proposed decision public so that the tens of thousands of people who have made public comments on this have a chance to respond. I want to hear from them before I make my final decision.”