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Monday, 7 November 2022
Page: 2458

Mr CHANDLER-MATHER (Griffith) (10:30): Toondah Harbour in Cleveland, Queensland, is home to one of the most significant wetlands in Australia. It is internationally recognised as a Ramsar site under the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty which Australia is a signatory to. It is home to thousands of migratory birds, many of which are vulnerable and critically endangered species, like the Eastern Curlew, and it provides crucial habitat for turtles and other marine life.

Many people would be shocked to learn that a property developer, Walker Corporation, wants to destroy the wetland for a massive luxury development. People would perhaps be even more shocked to learn that, at multiple stages, both the state and federal governments have approved of this incredibly destructive development, allowing it to progress along the approval pipeline. Walker Corporation wants to dredge half a million cubic metres of the precious bay and destroy 37 hectares of seagrass and 3.4 hectares of mangroves. It's abundantly clear that this development should never have gotten this far. Indeed, the federal department of the environment agreed, saying all the way back in 2016 that the proposal was 'clearly unacceptable'.

What's more, under otherwise incredibly weak environmental laws, the environment minister can't approve developments on Ramsar listed wetlands, and the only way Ramsar boundaries can be deleted or restricted is if there is an urgent national interest. Despite this, Walker Cooperation is perilously close to having approval to bulldoze one of the most precious wetlands in Australia. Why are we here? Maybe it's the $1.4 million in donations Walker Corporation has made to the Liberal, National and Labor parties across Australia since 2007. Now, the federal environment minister will face a stark choice, and the community's message could not be more clear: reject this destructive development and finally put an end to a saga that has come unacceptably close to destroying an incredibly important wetland.

Recently, Airservices Australia revealed something shocking: Brisbane Airport has had more noise complaints than all other airports in Australia combined. This is clearly a sign of the massive institutional failure of Airservices Australia and the federal government to properly regulate flight noise. We have flights screeching over people's houses at 2.30 in the morning at unacceptably regular intervals, exposing people to damaging noise pollution. We know that it has a huge impact on people's health.

All that we're asking for are the three things that Sydney Airport already has: a cap on flights, a curfew and a long-term operating plan that will see more flights over the bay. If it's good enough for Sydney residents, then it should be good enough for Brisbane residents. At a community strategy meeting we had in September, we clearly discussed our demands that we will be making on the government. We've got a private member's bill that has been before parliament before, and we'll be bringing it again to introduce those three demands. If the federal government doesn't listen to us, the community has agreed that, going into next year, there will be larger and larger protest actions.