Claims that a high-rise apartment complex at sensitive wetlands at Toondah Harbour would result in ‘no expected reduction in migratory bird numbers’ and ‘deliver a positive outcome for koalas’ are beyond believable, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

Walker Corporation, which today releases its 2,000-page environmental impact statement (EIS) in support of the proposal for a massive retail and residential project at Cleveland, near Brisbane, claims there will be ‘no ecological character change as a result of the project.’

“Walker’s EIS has more pages than the Lord of the Rings book trilogy – and it contains more fantasy,” said ACF Chief Executive Kelly O’Shanassy.

“It bears no relation to reality to say 3,600 high-rise apartments built at a world-renowned feeding ground for migratory birds will have no impact on those birds.

“Every summer for hundreds – probably thousands – of years eastern curlews and grey-tailed tattlers have recuperated at the site after their epic journey to the northern hemisphere.

“The idea that the birds will simply find somewhere else to go doesn’t pass the sniff test. This isn’t how nature works.

“BirdLife Australia says the global population of eastern curlews has declined by 80% in the past 30 years, largely because similar commercial projects have been built across their range.

“The eastern curlew is one of 110 priority species in the Albanese government’s Threatened Species Action Plan, released last week by Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek.

“Cleveland’s koala population will be devastated if the Walker Group’s concrete monstrosity is ever built, despite the ‘dedicated koala underpass’ the company boasts about in its slick promotional video.

“Toondah Harbour also provides habitat for dugongs, dolphins, whales and sea turtles.

“This is an internationally protected significant wetland. Walker must not be allowed to pave over any part of it.

“ACF will closely examine Walker’s environmental impact statement and will make a submission to Minister Plibersek, urging her to reject this proposal.”

Walker Corp’s plans for a marina and high-rise apartments would destroy about 40 hectares of the Moreton Bay wetland, which is listed under the international Ramsar Convention and is supposed to be protected by Australia’s national environment law.

ACF has asked the Federal Court to overturn an Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision to keep secret details of meetings between a government department and Walker Corp.

Walker Corp tried to convince Minister Frydenberg to remove part of the Ramsar wetland as a matter of ‘urgent national interest’.

In May this year more than 2,200 people rallied against Walker’s proposal.

Header pic by Nikki Michail.

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