On international World Wetlands Day, the Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the Morrison government to step in to save the globally significant wetlands at Toondah Harbour south-east of Brisbane from a proposed marina and high-rise apartment complex.

Walker Corporation plans to dredge the Moreton Bay Ramsar wetland – a crucial feeding ground for migratory birds and home for dugongs, dolphins, whales and sea turtles – to construct 3,600 apartment units, a marina, shops, a hotel and a conference centre.

This year’s World Wetland Day marks 50 years since the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance was signed in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.

“Wetlands are amazing places that are worth celebrating and protecting,” said ACF nature campaigner Tarquin Moon.

“Wetlands improve the quality of water that goes into rivers, they provide a buffer against storms and flooding, they are important cultural heritage sites and vital breeding and feeding grounds for birds, fish and other animals.

“Australia signed the Ramsar treaty to halt the loss of wetlands and to protect special places like the Moreton Bay Ramsar wetland that is important to the local community, threatened species and the environment.

“Wetlands are under pressure like never before. The Walker Corporation must not be allowed to destroy around 40 hectares of the Moreton Bay Ramsar wetland to build its unnecessary, unwanted marina and apartment complex.

“We call on Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley to reject this damaging, unnecessary proposal and respect Australia’s obligations to protect Ramsar sites from damaging projects like this one.”

A third version of Walker Corporation’s proposal is being assessed under national environment law.

Ramsar wetlands in Australia include the Coorong in South Australia, the Macquarie Marshes in NSW, the Barmah forest in Victoria, Eighty Mile beach near Broome in WA and Moreton Bay (which includes Toondah Harbour) in Queensland.

Header pic by Nikki Michail

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