It’s official! The iconic Toondah Harbour has been saved after Walker Corporation withdrew their application to build a $1.4 billion real estate project on the internationally protected wetland site.

This momentous news comes after Environment Minster Tanya Plibersek announced last week that she intended to reject the nature-wrecking project, on the basis that removing 58.7 hectares was unacceptable, and would affect threatened and migratory animals.

People power has won the day and saved our iconic Toondah Harbour Wetlands! It's thanks to the groundswell of communities throughout Queensland and Australia, with close to 200,000 people having called on our government to save Toondah.

This five-year long battle by ACF Bayside and the Toondah Alliance to protect the harbour from Walker Corp’s bulldozers has finally come to an end. This news brings much-welcomed relief to the community, koalas, dugongs, turtles, and critically endangered eastern curlews that rely on Toondah’s coastal mudflats and mangroves to thrive.

It’s an emotional moment for those who have worked tirelessly against this proposal. Although this is a welcome announcement, it highlights the issues within our current nature laws, and the desperate need for reforms that would ensure we never end up in a situation like this again.

Walk for Toondah event

ACF Community Bayside held the Walk for Toondah event in May 2023 to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day and to protest the development of units on critical migratory shorebird habitat.

Walker Corporation’s proposal would have destroyed irreplaceable feeding grounds for migratory birds, 58.7 hectares of Ramsar protected wetland, and eucalyptus that are home to koalas and other wildlife.

Walker Corporation’s nature-wrecking project at Toondah Harbour should never have got this far.

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.

Internationally protected wetlands were almost destroyed for luxury apartments... it’s pretty unbelievable.

The fact it took years of community campaigning to get an environment minister to stand up to Walker Corp – despite clear evidence of the unacceptable impacts on protected wildlife and places from the start – shows there is much work to do to secure national laws that have clear and up-front protections for critical places like Toondah.

That’s why we need the Albanese Government to urgently deliver it’s promised reforms to our nature protection laws in full - so projects like this get a straight 'no' from the beginning.

Call on senior Ministers in the Albanese Government to stick to his commitments and protect our precious places and wildlife.

Header image: Aerial shot of Toondah Harbour. Photo: Nikki Michail

Jyoti Jude Menon