UPDATE: Toondah Harbour saved! After a five-year battle by ACF Bayside and the Toondah Alliance, Walker Corporation officially withdrew their application for development on Toondah Harbour in April 2024.

Aerial view of Toondah Harbour Wetlands

Toondah Harbour, Moreton Bay, Queensland. Photo: Nikki Michail.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has announced she intends to reject Walker Corporation’s nature-wrecking project at Toondah Harbour!  

It continues to be a long battle by ACF Bayside and the Toondah Alliance to protect Toondah Harbour from Walker Corp’s bulldozers, and we are thrilled to celebrate this momentous step forward for Toondah.

People of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life have stood against the planned havoc and destruction, and have raised their voices again and again to protect the koalas, dugongs, turtles, and critically endangered eastern curlews that rely on Toondah’s coastal mudflats and mangroves to thrive.

Critically endangered eastern curlew on wetlands in Toondah

Toondah Harbour is a critical feeding ground for the critically endangered eastern curlew.

A small, but mighty movement

ACF Bayside & the Toondah Alliance, supported by ACF and Birdlife Australia, have led a valiant, ground-up effort to grow a small band of concerned, nature-loving locals into a powerful national movement of thousands. 

The Save Toondah campaign showcases people power at its best. We are so proud of what the ACF Bayside Community Group continues to accomplish in alliance with many wonderful communities. The community were told over and over that they could not win. That the corporate might of Walker Corp was too big to overcome – but people power is prevailing against incredible odds.

We’ve been humbled to see so many people inspired to speak up around the country in support of ACF Bayside’s fight to save Toondah . Over 24,000 people have contacted the environment minister since November last year. 27,000 people wrote submissions opposing Walker Corp’s destructive plan. 

Locals rallying to save Toondah Harbour

Community members take part in Walk For Toondah on World Migratory Bird Day. Photo: Gregory Sullavan.

Minister Plibersek’s draft decision is very welcome. It is the right decision for nature and people, and we look forward to it being confirmed in the coming weeks. 

It’s a decision that respects the will of the Quandamooka people to preserve this culturally significant land. 

“This land here is sacred to us, like all land. We call land mother earth, and if you don’t manage the earth properly, you’re going to lose it."

- Quandamooka elder and Toondah Alliance member, Uncle Norm.

Quandamooka elder, Uncle Norm at Toondah Harbour

Quandamooka elder and Toondah Alliance member, Uncle Norm at Toondah Harbour.

Walker Corporation’s proposal would have destroyed irreplaceable feeding grounds for migratory birds, 42 hectares of Ramsar protected wetland, and eucalyptus that are home to koalas and other wildlife. Had this draft decision gone the other way, it would have sent a dire message that no place, no matter how special and significant, is off limits to corporate greed.

Next steps for nature

The fact it took years of community campaigning to finally see a light at the end of the tunnel for Toondah – despite blatantly unacceptable impacts on protected wildlife and places – shows there is much work to do to secure national laws that have clear and up-front protections for critical places like Toondah.

Walker Corporation's nature-wrecking project at Toondah Harbour should never have got this far. We need the Albanese Government to speed up its reforms of our national nature protection laws so that projects like this get a straight 'no' from the beginning.

But with wins like this, we are filled with hope that our incredible community can continue to have huge victories for nature and our communities, even in the face of tremendous odds. 

Inspired to take action?

  1. Write a quick comment on Tanya Plibersek’s Facebook post backing her decision to reject Walker Corporation’s nature-wrecking project at Toondah Harbour!

  2. Email Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and urge the government to consider climate impacts in Australia’s nature laws!

Jyoti Jude Menon