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Australia must uphold our international obligations

Action Alert: Call on the Australian Government to respect the Ramsar Convention

The Australian Government has failed to outright reject the latest development proposal of Toondah Harbour in Moreton Bay, just south of Brisbane.

The proposal will encroach on over 40 hectares and reclaim 32 hectares of the Moreton Bay Ramsar Wetland and significantly impact migratory shorebird feeding habitat, including Critically Endangered Eastern Curlew.   

The proposal now moves to the next stage of the approval process and is one step away from setting a dangerous precedent for future developments within Australia's 66 Ramsar sites. 

Petition: Sign our petition calling on the Australian Minister of Environment Melissa Price to uphold our international obligations and stop the current Toondah Harbour development.


One of the most important wetlands

Historical development and increasing human population around Moreton Bay has significantly reduced the availability of undisturbed feeding and roosting habitat for migratory shorebirds.

The proposed development for Toondah Harbour will further reduce the availability of feeding habitat of the Critically Endangered Eastern Curlew and other shorebird species. Also of great concern, the proposed development footprint includes over 40 hectares of the Moreton Bay Ramsar Wetland.

As the most important wetlands in the world, Ramsar wetlands should be conserved and protected, not developed for private gains.

If the proposed development at Toondah Harbour is approved, it will set a dangerous precedent for future developments within our 65 other Ramsar Wetlands.


The Toondah Harbour Development

Along with upgrading the ferry terminal, Walker Group proposes to develop Toondah Harbour as a mixed use residential, commercial, retail and tourism precinct, including 3,600 residential dwellings and a 200 berth marina.

As it stands the development’s proposal area is 52 hectares, with 42 hectares within the Moreton Bay Ramsar Site (teal blue lines in below maps). Approximately 32 hectares of Ramsar wetlands will be permanently removed through land reclamation. The majority of this area is important shorebird feeding habitat.

Read the Toondah Harbour Development Project Description.

Master Plan Footprint

Shorebird Feeding Habitat

The Australian Department of Environment’s very own Wetland Section has concerns over the Toondah Harbour development. From the Statement of Reasons for declaring the proposal as a “controlled action” the Wetland Section concludes that the proposal will likely have significant impacts on the ecological character of the Moreton Bay Ramsar Wetland. Further these impacts will “be difficult to mitigate and offset.”

The impacts include:

  • areas of wetland within the referral area will be removed or substantially modified through dredging, excavation and/or land reclamation activities;

  • impacts on the lifecycle of an ecologically significant proportion of the population of the Eastern Curlew and Bar-tailed Godwit (spp baueri), as well as other listed migratory species, through the removal of, or disturbance to, foraging and roosting habitat in or near the referral area.

Read the Australian Department of Environment’s Statement of Reasons for declaring the proposal as a “controlled action.”

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Post your favourite photos from Moreton Bay, your local Ramsar site, or from your favourite natural area. Add a personal message for why you #RespectRamsar.


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Will you stand for Ramsar?

Ramsar sites like Moreton Bay are internationally significant for a reason & should be protected. #WiseUse isn't reclaiming 30+ hectares of known important feeding habitat for Critically Endangered Eastern Curlew! #RespectRamsar @RamsarConv @Melissa4Durack bit.ly/2M46Pxe

Images from top (C) Chris Walker (Toondah Harbour Sunrise) Duade Paton (Eastern Curlew) John Irvine (Bar-tailed Godwit) Judy Leitch (Toondah Harbour)