Redlands2030 raises fears over Toondah EIS process after Samuel Review of environment laws declares legislation 'ineffective'

LAWS UNDER FIRE: Sussan Ley on a visit to the Redlands last year. A spokesperson for Ms Ley said the Toondah EIS would be assessed rigourously.
LAWS UNDER FIRE: Sussan Ley on a visit to the Redlands last year. A spokesperson for Ms Ley said the Toondah EIS would be assessed rigourously.

LOBBY group Redlands2030 has started a letter writing campaign to federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, saying a review which declared the country's environment protection laws ineffective cast doubt on Toondah Harbour's assessment process.

The letter, which the group encouraged residents to sign and send to Ms Ley, said assessment of the Toondah Harbour development's Environmental Impact Statement could not be conducted in good faith in light of the review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

It recommended national environmental standards be introduced to ensure development decisions advanced environmental and heritage outcomes.

The Redlands2030 letter said the continuation of the EIS process under the Act would be inconsistent with community expectations.

"Given that the current EPBC Act has notably failed and that the proposed Toondah development is a serious (and unnecessary) risk to our environment, how could you assess the draft EIS under current legislation when you know now that this legislation is not fit for purpose?

"How will you ensure that the serious deficiencies identified by the Samuel EPBC review are addressed before any consideration of proposals for environmental destruction in Ramsar wetlands next to Toondah Harbour?"

A spokesperson for Ms Ley said the assessment of the Toondah Harbour project under the EPBC Act would be conducted in a rigorous and thorough manner.

"The proponent is required to provide a detailed environmental assessment to the department for consideration," the spokesperson said.

"The draft environmental impact statement will be published for public comment before a decision is made on whether or not the proposal is approved under the EPBC Act."

Asked whether the Samuel Review sparked concerns about the EPBC, the spokesperson said Ms Ley was working through its recommendations with stakeholders.

Walker Corporation's plans for Toondah Harbour include 3600 dwellings, as well as a longer and deeper shipping channel, a ferry terminal and marina, swimming lagoon, conservation areas and waterfront retail and commercial space.

The EIS process has included geotechnical studies, dredging and marine engineering studies, coastal process modelling, water quality and marine ecology studies, flora and fauna studies, including migratory shorebirds and koalas, and cultural heritage studies.