Toondah Harbour proposal in conflict with Cabinet documents

Toondah Harbour proposal in conflict with Cabinet documents

In early January, 2024 details were released of a 1993 Queensland Cabinet decision confirming the nomination of the Moreton Bay Ramsar site for protection under the international agreement for the protection of important wetlands – the Ramsar Convention. The public release occurred under the 30 year rule. The decision and the submission upon which it was based may be read here.

It had taken one year for Goss Government Departments to agree on the final boundaries of Queensland’s first Ramsar wetlands site . As revealed last year with the release of the 1992 papers, Cabinet had agreed, in early 1992, on the nomination of the Moreton Bay site subject to agreement on the final boundaries. That decision and the submission leading to it may be read here.

Cabinet’s 1993 endorsement of the final Ramsar boundaries was important because Cabinet was made aware that once listed, the wetlands and their flora and fauna would be permanently protected. Cabinet had accepted that Australia was bound by an obligation not to delete or restrict Ramsar boundaries unless for “urgent national interests”.

Critically endangered Eastern Curlews and Black-winged Stilts roosting recently at Nandeebie, less than 100 metres from the Toondah ‘Priority Development Area’.

Once formally listed later in 1993, the Moreton Bay Ramsar site, which includes the Toondah wetlands, became internationally recognised under the world’s Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, signed by 172 nations, including Australia.

A primary motivation for the Ramsar Convention was the need for worldwide protection of migratory shorebird habitat – a key issue for opponents of the controversial Toondah Harbour real estate scheme. Critically endangered Eastern Curlews forage in the wetlands proposed to be destroyed by Walker Corporation – and they roost nearby.

For more information about the Toondah Harbour plan and the campaign to save the Ramsar protected wetlands threatened with destruction, see our website’s Toondah tab.