NSW Labor will ensure the emergency dredging of Swansea Channel, which was scheduled for February is completed as a matter of urgency, if it wins government on March 25.
In September 2022, the Maritime Infrastructure Delivery Office (MIDO) advised that emergency dredging in Swansea Channel would be undertaken in February 2023. These works are yet to commence.
In addition, Labor will also support the current business case being prepared by MIDO to guarantee the development and implementation of a 10-year dredging program for Swansea Channel.
This follows consistent advocacy from Ms Yasmin Catley MP – Member for Swansea who has called on the NSW Liberal Government to develop a long-term dredging solution for Swansea Channel since she was elected back in 2015.
Swansea Channel is the opening to Lake Macquarie, the largest saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere. Silting is a recurrent issue in the lake. Despite this the NSW Liberal Government has not conducted a dredging program there since 23 April 2021.
In July 2021, $6.2 million was allocated towards one of the Government’s biggest ever dredging programs. Swansea Channel was the top priority out of five NSW waterways set to benefit from this program. To date, not a sent has been spent.
Ms Catley has been advised by the local sailing community that many regattas and sailing events have been hindered by the lack of dredging. In addition, Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie has been placed under additional stress trying to assist boats that have become stranded.
Ms Jo Haylen MP – Shadow Minister for Transport said “The Liberals keep promising to properly dredge the Swansea Channel and then they never deliver. It was meant to go ahead in February and is behind schedule”.
"Labor will step up and get this done. This was a promise made to the local community and Labor will ensure that it is kept."
Ms Yasmin Catley MP – Member for Swansea said, “I am thrilled that Labor will prioritise dredging in Swansea Channel if it wins government at the upcoming election”.
“For too long the NSW Liberal Government has broken its promises to dredge Swansea Channel, which has understandably caused much frustration within the community”.
“It is clear that only a Labor Government will ensure dredging takes place”.