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December 2023 | Media Releases

Toondah Harbour ready for approval and backed by Redlands locals

An overwhelming majority of the Redlands community has backed the $3 billion transformation of Cleveland’s Toondah Harbour through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) consultation process.

Almost 60% of Cleveland residents and more than half of all Redland residents who made individual submissions wrote in support of the transformational project.

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Whilst 26,000 submissions were received during the extended public exhibition period, a significant number were “copy and paste” documents emailed from people living outside the local area, as well as from southern states.

The final EIS was submitted to the Federal Government today for Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to make her decision on the project moving forward.

Toondah Harbour spokesperson Dolan Hayes said the final EIS, including thousands of public submissions, was one of the most rigorous environmental assessments ever undertaken in Australia.

“The public submissions process provided an opportunity for Toondah Harbour opponents, to provide credible evidence to any of their irresponsible and misleading claims on the project’s environmental impact with scientific fact, yet they failed,” Mr Hayes said.

“No credible evidence was provided to the independent team of scientific experts to back activist groups’ claims the project would kill migratory birds, dugongs and whales, or decimate koala populations.”

Dolan Hayes - Toondah Harbour spokesperson

“Rather, the final EIS confirms the Eastern Curlew do not roost at the Toondah Harbour project site and no dugongs, turtles, dolphins or whales, were identified in the Toondah Harbour area.”

“Experts also found the project would be likely to boost local koala numbers with more than 1,000 koala trees being planted and a dedicated fauna underpass constructed to help koalas move safely around the area.”

“The EIS confirms the most important point that should enable the Federal Government to approve Toondah Harbour; and that is, it will deliver a net environmental benefit to the Moreton Bay Ramsar area.”

Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel for the EIS, Emeritus Professor Paul Greenfield said the EIS involved a rigorous scientific body of work.

“There was a level of quality assurance right from the design stage of the EIS, from its processes through to the conclusions it reached that I think took it into the next level of scientific credibility,” Mr Greenfield said.

Foreshore housingForeshore housing

An artist's impression of the Toondah Harbour transformation

“It is one of the most highly qualified reports I have read. The science is cutting edge and the people working on it were the right people.”

EIS Independent Advisory Panel Member Professor Rod Connolly also highly commended the scientific findings alongside RAMSAR.

“In terms of conservation actions, done well this is an opportunity to showcase how we can have infrastructure development and aspirations of an increasing economy alongside a protected area particularly with a view for the future, showing not only for the Redlands but beyond, of how to do that well,” Mr Connolly said.

The final EIS also details the significant social impacts the new Toondah Harbour would deliver.

Member for Capalaba Don Brown MP said Toondah Harbour has been backed by State Government as a Priority Development Area for over 10 years, and is the perfect region-building project.

“Our local community needs Toondah Harbour now – for the jobs, for the economy and for the housing crisis,” Mr Brown said.

“I understand what Toondah Harbour is – it’s a working port – it is dredged by us, the State government every 5 years. It is not pristine coastline, it is a working port and it shouldn’t be in RAMSAR for those very reasons.”

“We’ve got to protect RAMSAR, don’t get me wrong, but Toondah Harbour is not untouched and it’s not pristine and it needs upgrading desperately.”

Redland City Council Councillor Peter Mitchell said the project benefits are now greater than ever with the eyes of the world on Queensland for the 2032 Olympics.

“We need Toondah Harbour for all the community benefits including social, environmental and economic and I’d be proud to stand with Minister Plibersek and Premier Palaszczuk to announce the approval of Toondah Harbour.”

Peter Mitchell - Redland City Council Councillor
Wetland CentreWetland Centre

An artist's impression of the future wetland centre at Toondah Harbour

The Toondah Harbour project will deliver a vital billion-dollar boost to the local economy, creating hundreds of new jobs for locals. It will also deliver 200 new homes each year, with a huge potential to ease the housing squeeze in the region.

“Tourism will also thrive with an estimated 50,000 additional visitors attracted to the Redlands Coast each year, generating vital income for local businesses struggling in Cleveland, North Stradbroke and the Bay islands,” Mr Hayes added.

“Toondah Harbour ticks all the boxes and following approval will allow all Queenslanders the opportunity to enjoy the area’s natural beauty, with first-class ferry facilities, south-bank style lagoon pool, waterfront cafes and retail, as well as fishing, kayaking and recreation areas.

For more information, visit the EIS Virtual Information Centre on the Toondah Harbour website at www.toondah.com.au.