Media release

Breaking: A safe Toondah Harbour in reach

Tuesday, 9 April 2024

  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes

A safe Toondah Harbour in reach: Community and birds welcome Minister’s Toondah announcement

Brisbane, Queensland: Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s proposed decision to reject a real estate proposal at Toondah Harbour signals that victory is in sight for international conservation and the local community.

Minister Plibersek has announced that she intends to reject a controversial $1.3 billion real-estate project at Queensland’s Toondah Harbour, saving vital migratory bird habitat from destruction. The decision follows a decade of intense community opposition and several formal recommendations against the project which had been first proposed by Walker Corporation in 2015.  

BirdLife Australia, the nation’s leaders in bird conservation welcome the announcement. The mega-project is proposed to be built within the Internationally important Moreton Bay Ramsar wetland. Approval would signify a grievous breach of Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Treaty, a cornerstone international convention intended to protect significant wetlands around the globe.  

Minister Plibersek made the announcement in a press release today just weeks after meeting with representatives from BirdLife Australia, the local community and other members of the Toondah Alliance group. Proponents Walker Corporation now have ten days to respond to the Ministers’ announcement.

BirdLife Australia vocally opposes the project due to the national and international implications of private development within a Ramsar Site – and the site’s importance as a feeding habitat for migratory birds including the iconic and Critically Endangered Eastern Curlew. Around the world, the destruction of wetlands like those at Toondah Harbour is contributing to the decline of the migratory birds that depend on them.  

Quotes attributable to Kate Millar, CEO, BirdLife Australia (available for comment):

“We’re thrilled that after a decade of campaigning by the local community and all of their supporters nationwide, Minister Plibersek has proposed to overturn this completely inappropriate development at such a spectacular and internationally significant site.”

“We thank everyone who’s worked so hard to get to this milestone. We also thank Minister Plibersek for listening to us and understanding the importance of these wetlands to the world’s birds and the local community.”

“While we welcome this proposal to reject, this proposal should never have progressed as far as it has. Australia’s broken nature laws need to be fixed now to make sure such obvious blunders cannot be repeated. We urge Minister Plibersek to take the support the community has given to protecting Toondah and move forward with delivering strong new nature laws this year.”

Kate Millar, BirdLife Australia CEO, is available for comment.


BirdLife Australia Media Enquiries: Please contact James Johnson on 0423 659 324 or at media@birdlife.org.au