There are many reasons why Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek must seriously consider visiting Redlands before handing down her decision on the Toondah Harbour project.
A tour of the development site, as suggested by Capalaba MP Don Brown last month, could also open up a unique opportunity for government representatives to hear from residents first-hand about where they stand on the project.
There is no doubt that this kind of grassroots approach to community consultation would be hugely beneficial in gauging the overall level of support or opposition to the development.
Last month’s Walk for Toondah rally in Cleveland and the submissions lodged on the draft Environmental Impact Statement have shown that there is still strong opposition to Walker Corp’s plan.
It is for this reason that any visit from a government representative must be treated as a listening tour where both sides of the debate get an equal opportunity to have their say.
Opponents to the project have spoken of feeling increasingly ignored during the consultation process and say many of their questions about the development have gone unanswered.
But a listening tour would change the narrative by creating an opportunity for those who feel disenfranchised to make their voice heard at one of the most critical moments in the project’s history.
It would also give the Albanese government a chance to show that it is willing to do a better job than the Coalition at listening to public concerns about environmental issues related to the Toondah plan.
The opportunities are endless for Ms Plibersek – and indeed for Redlands – if a tour does go ahead.
Those who have spoken out against the consultation process, and the development at large, would no doubt jump at the opportunity to speak with the minister. This could extend to a forum where local MPs from both sides of the political fence are invited to share their views on the project and then answer questions from residents.
Locals deserve one last chance to have their voices heard.