The project was referred under the EPBC Act in 2011 and was found to be a controlled action because of its impacts on:
- Wetlands of international importance (sections 16 and 17B)
- Listed threatened species and communities (sections 18 and 18A)
- Listed migratory species (sections 20 and 20A)
Construction of the airport will require 2.7 million cubic meter of fill. The fill is proposed to be dredged in Moreton Bay. Dredging is a highly destructive process causing the complete removal of the benthic zone with significant impacts on turbidity levels in surrounding areas which are of particular concern for ecosystems that are sunlight dependent such as seagrass beds.