Toondah Harbour development

Win for community and environment

We’ve just received news that Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek will reject the controversial Toondah Harbour project over its impact on globally significant wetlands.  

This is an important win for the environment, the local community and government transparency. 

Toondah Harbour, on Moreton Bay, is special place for the community and important habitat for dugongs, dolphins, whales and sea turtles. It’s renowned as one of the top migratory bird sites in Australia.   

The wetland is listed under the international Ramsar Convention and is protected by Australia’s national environment law, the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC).   

Plans for a marina and high-rise apartment complex on this site have been in the works since 2013, but have faced vigorous opposition from locals and environment groups. 

When Josh Frydenberg was environment minister, his department advised him on multiple occasions to reject the Toondah Harbour apartment and marina proposal because of the damage it would do to the wetland.   

We acted for the Australian Conservation Foundation, who brought a case in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal because the federal government refused to release records of meetings between Walker Corp and the Department of Environment and Energy.  

ACF successfully argued that the Federal Court should order the release of the documents in the public interest and that the Administrative Appeal Tribunal incorrectly applied the exemption on confidential information and the public interest test in FOI Act.  

Read more about the case here.

Toondah Harbour Photo Credit Nikki Michail/ACF

"We commend Minister Plibersek for doing the right thing and protecting this sensitive wetland from such a destructive development that has been shrouded in secrecy from the start. 

While we celebrate this win today, community members and environment groups shouldn’t have to fight so hard to ensure public scrutiny of environmentally destructive projects."

EJA Co-CEO Nicola Rivers