The developer and the shorebirds | the fight for Toondah Harbor – Westender

The campaign to save the mudflats of Toondah Harbor in Queensland’s Moreton Bay has become emblematic for many in Brisbane, and further afield, of the David and Goliath battles that keep emerging across the state against unchecked development and its impacts on the environment.

Toondah Harbor is an internationally significant wetland covered by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention). It is an important feeding site for the critically endangered Eastern Curlew and other migratory shorebirds. Some 36 species in all, these birds fly each year along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, flapping, not gliding, for the entire 10,000km journey, from breeding grounds above the Arctic Circle in Alaska and Siberia to feeding grounds in Australia and New Zealand .

In 2014 Walker Corporation submitted plans to construct 3,600 apartments on the environmentally significant wetlands next to Toondah Harbor. The project has had the support of the Redland City Council, State Governments (both LNP and Labor) and the Federal Coalition Government.

On Mothers’ Day, more than 2500 residents and supporters joined in a rally at Cleveland Bay for World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD). With the theme, Walk for Toondahthey aim to revitalise opposition to the project during the 2022 Election campaign.

Gardening Australia’s Jerry Coleby-Williams, who joined the walk, said:

“If you want to support climate repair or to conserve biodiversity, mangroves and seagrass meadows are already working hard to achieve both. Let’s acknowledge their value to our society and keep Toondah Harbor wild and working so Australia fulfils it zero emissions target.

Election 2022


Toondah sits within the federal electorate of Bowman, which since the resignation of controversial LNP MP, Andrew Lamming, is being contested by newcomers for The Greens, Labor and the LNP. The seat is considered safe for the LNP with a margin of 10.2 per cent.

Labor and LNP candidates have declined to comment on their position on the development, and did not attend the rally, preferring to wait until the draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is released for public comment.

The Greens and United Australia Party candidates for Bowman oppose the development, and the Greens were a visible presence at Sunday’s rally.


While it’s a 40-minute drive from the suburbs of Griffith, Toondah has cropped up as an election issue here as well. Last week, Greens candidate Max Chandler-Mather challenged his Labor opponent, Terri Butler MPto come out against the development.

“It’s patently clear that destroying an internationally recognised wetland for a massive private development would be devastating for the environment, and Terri Butler’s failure to oppose it is an abdication of her responsibility as shadow environment minister.”

“Walker, the developer behind Toondah Harbor, has donated $87,000 to Labor since 2015 and you have to wonder what sort of influence those donations have bought,” Mr Chandler-Mather said.

Ms Butler, Shadow Minister for the Environment, could be the next Environment Minister if elected as part of a Labor Government on 21 May. However, Ms Butler told the Westender it would be irresponsible for her to prejudge the outcome of the matter at this stage.

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