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Speech on protecting Toondah Harbour from private developers

On Tuesday 25 March 2024, I made a speech in Federal Parliament about the need to protect Toondah Harbour from private developers. Toondah Harbour is a Ramsar protected wetland, home to many critically endangered species. The Walker Corporation has plans to dredge it to build a massive luxury development. You can watch the full speech here or read the transcript below.


Toondah Harbour is a beautiful home to one of Australia's most significant wetlands. It's internationally recognised under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands—an agreement to which Australia is a signatory. Wetlands are crucial for biodiversity and capturing carbon, and Toondah is home to some of the most critically endangered birds in Australia, like the beautiful eastern curlew.

Despite years of community opposition, it now looks likely the government will allow the Walker Corporation to destroy the wetlands and build a massive luxury development—a block of apartments that won't even make a dent in the housing crisis, because hardly anyone can afford to live there. What's worse, Walker Corporation has been given the green light at every step of the process. They want to dredge half-a-million cubic metres of the bay and destroy vital seagrass and mangroves. Australia might have incredibly weak environmental laws, thanks to the influence of the fossil fuel industry, but there is a clause that should have directed the minister to automatically reject the proposal, as it does not comply with the Ramsar convention. But here we are, years later, still fighting against massive corporate greed to protect our environment. The choice for the minister of environment should be clear, but I don't think it's a coincidence that the Walker Corporation gets a free pass to destroy the environment when they've donated millions to the major parties in the last decade.

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