FUNDING FOR A PERMANENT DREDGE FOR SWANSEA CHANNEL NEEDED IN UPCOMING BUDGET
The Member for Swansea has written to the Minister for Lands and Water, the Hon. Niall Blair MLC, to seek a permanent dredge for Swansea Channel – the only opening between Lake Macquarie and the ocean.
Recent ad hoc dredging campaigns have failed after short periods of time – in February 2015 the NSW Government spent $2.5 million on dredging the channel only to have it shoal up by October.
Enclosed with the request to the Minister are letters of support for the project from local boating stakeholders and state MPs from around Lake Macquarie, Jodie Harrison and Greg Piper.
Tourism in Lake Macquarie provides a substantial economic benefit to the region and previous research estimated that a Channel dredge of 60 metres would increase visitors from outside Lake Macquarie by 150 per cent. This translates to added local economic benefit of $3.3 to $3.7 million per year.
The NSW Budget will be handed down on 21 June 2016.
Quotes attributable to the Member for Swansea, Yasmin Catley MP:
“The Swansea Channel has been the subject of dredging campaigns for more than 50 years, and has been dredged on an ad hoc basis for the last ten years at least, at significant cost to the taxpayer.
“The recent dredging campaign cost the NSW Government $2.5 million and lasted only 8 months until the channel began shoaling again.
“Not only is a permanent dredge a win for the boating community, but research suggests that a permanent solution could also provide an economic boost for tourism in Lake Macquarie by up to $3.7 million per year.
“It is apparent to me, my parliamentary colleagues from the Lake Macquarie area, and to the many community organisations surrounding Lake Macquarie that the Swansea Channel requires ongoing maintenance dredging to ensure that it remains navigable at all times.
“A permanent dredge is the solution we need.”