Although it’s not in the Maiwar electorate, many west side locals love Minjerribah/Straddie and Moreton Bay. But right now the Bay is at risk from the huge, 3,600-apartment “Toondah Harbour” development proposed in Cleveland.
For a really quick rundown on the development, check out this 2 minute video by Greens Senator Larissa Waters and the Greens candidate for the area in the 2019 Federal election.
The proposal has attracted International attention and concern, because of:
- Staggering environmental impacts
Experts have said the development would have irreversible impacts on internationally protected wetlands, threatened species, including koalas, and migratory shorebirds. Read more about the impacts here.
- Lack of accompanying infrastructure
This privatisation of publicly owned foreshore would make Toondah Harbour Queensland’s most densely populated area, and there’s already a lack of accompanying public infrastructure in the area.
- Inadequate community consultation
There have been multiple petitions, rallies and opposing submissions on the development, but locals have been ignored. The developer has refused to hold proper consultation listening sessions, instead opting for “drop-in sessions” to tell the community about their plans.
The developer, Walker Corp, has made significant donations to both Labor and LNP that coincide with milestones in the approval process. For example, Walker donated $25,000 to the Federal Liberal Party one month before lodging its first Federal referral for the project. Then, a month after the Federal Environment Department said it intended to advise the Minister that the Toondah plan was "clearly unacceptable", Walker donated a further $200,000. After this, the Minister moved the project to the next stage of assessment.
- Secret development agreement
The Queensland Planning Minister, Redland City Council and Walker Corp have signed a confidential project development agreement for the proposal. Local community group Redlands2030 submitted a Right to Information application to Council to release the agreement, but they refused. Following appeals, the Office of the Information Commissioner said the agreement should be released. The developer and the Minister then appealed this decision, and the State government is now spending taxpayer money in court to keep the Toondah agreement secret.
Queensland Greens position
- We fully support the development of a new ferry terminal (in public hands, not private) but with any necessary link to new residential buildings
- We support the modernisation of tourist facilities as part of the ferry terminal.
- We do not support any encroachment on G.J. Walter Park and its associated wetlands.
- We call for full protection of the Ramsar-listed site.
- We believe it is possible to have responsible development but this is a blatant money grab by private interests.
- We call for a review of this whole planning process for a development that is not wanted, needed or justifiable, and for responsible, sustainable development that supports positive community and environmental outcomes
As the only Greens MP in Parliament, I’ve been pressing the State government about this dodgy development whenever I can - but their lips have been sealed when I’ve asked about infrastructure costs, environmental impacts, and the secret development agreement.
The proposal is currently undergoing Federal environmental assessment, and the developer needs to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). That is expected to be completed around April 2020. The Federal Environment department will ask for public submissions on the EIS and consider these together before making a decision on the proposal. Unfortunately, given that 99% of proposals assessed under this process are approved, the likelihood of it stopping there isn’t great.
Once the Federal assessment is complete, the State government will also need to approve the proposal. If you’re concerned about this development, email Premier Palaszczuk (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Planning Minister Cameron Dick (email@example.com) and let them know you don’t want it to go ahead. If they see enough community opposition to the proposal, they might see it as a genuine political risk, and call it off to try to save themselves in the 2020 State election.
In the meantime, community groups like Redlands2030, Save Straddie, the Redland Greens Branch & BirdLife Australia are working incredibly hard to save the Bay, so please follow them to stay up to date on the development and what you can do to help.This development is emblematic of problems with Queensland’s Planning Act. Check out this page to read more about those problems, see what reforms I’ve proposed and sign my petition to overhaul the Act.