“SHOULD PREMIER PALASZCZUK STEP IN AND REVOKE THE TOONDAH PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT AREA (PDA) PLAN?
As we posted last Saturday, the ABC has exposed Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for rejecting the Federal Government’s own independent scientific and legal experts’ advice to immediately end the Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area (PDA) proposal.
The PDA plan allows a property developer to dredge Ramsar protected, publicly owned tidal wetlands at Cleveland (click on the second image to view the general area), near the North Stradbroke Island ferry terminal, and build a forest of 3,600 high-rise units.
Frydenberg’s ‘controlled action’ decision advanced the proposal to an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An EIS would largely be managed by the political donor property developer Walker Corporation and its chosen experts, who would be paid by Walker Corp.
The ABC reported that of 96 proposals which have been assessed by EIS under federal environment laws, only one has been refused approval. Clearly, the EIS process is not a level playing field – https://www.abc.net.au/…/the-developer-the-whistle…/10487806
In yet another shocking revelation, the ABC also reported that a letter sent to the Federal Government by Jackie Trad and Steven Miles on 12 August, 2016 encouraged Frydenberg to make a “controlled action” decision.
Prior to Frydenberg’s decision, Walker donated $225,000 to the Federal Liberal Party. The Queensland Labor Party declared that it received $23,000 from the developer in the same year.
But, as the ABC reported, Walker Corp has made other large political donations (more than $2.2 Million) to Labor and the Liberals over the last two decades.
Frydenberg attempted to justify his ‘controlled action’ decision in a television interview. He was not convincing! The ABC reported that Annastacia Palaszczuk refused to be interviewed about her Government’s actions.
A few months after Labor was elected, Deputy Jackie Trad, who was the Minister in charge of PDA’s, replacing the LNP’s Jeff Seeney, unexpectedly gave the “green light” to the LNP’s Toondah plan to destroy Ramsar protected wetlands. Her announcement shocked many. It flew in the face of Labor policies and commitments of protection.
“Ms Trad said the Queensland Government will now work with the preferred developer, The Walker Group and Redland City Council to formalise a development agreement and to move forward on detailed project plans”
– see http://statements.qld.gov.au/…/plan-to-revitalise-toondah-h…
The original LNP proposal to allow Walker to dredge protected wetlands was horrendous. After the limited community consultation, the Redlands Mayor said there would be “800 residential and commercial units” – see fourth last paragraph of the Mayor’s statement –http://news.redland.qld.gov.au/…/council-listens-to-commun…/
Walker Corp’s owner, Lang Walker, was after more. He told the Australian newspaper, shortly before Labor was elected to power, that he hoped there would be about “1000 dwellings” in a mixed use development (click on the image to read the article).
But by the time the Toondah Master Plan was released a year later in November 2015 under then Minister Jackie Trad, the proposal had grown to 3,600 units!
No explanation has been provided to the public. The Premier keeps dodging questions about Toondah.
Against the background of Labor’s strong opposition to the LNP’s PDA laws, and the record of previous Labor Governments’ protection of the Toondah wetlands, Labor’s Toondah actions are suspicious to say the least. How did the proposal massively expand from “800 residential and commercial units” under the LNP to 3,600 units under a Palaszczuk Labor Government?
The public deserves answers. Alternatively, now that we know about the Federal Government’s own expert scientific advice to end the environmentally destructive proposal, the Premier and her current PDA Minister, Cameron Dick, could do the right thing and revoke the Toondah PDA. That would take the proposal away from the Federal Government and put an end to the irresponsible plan”.