MP Yasmin Catley takes fight for permanent dredge in Swansea Channel to state Parliament today

RUN AGROUND: Yachts stuck in the shallows of Swansea Channel earlier this month. Picture: Simone De Peak
RUN AGROUND: Yachts stuck in the shallows of Swansea Channel earlier this month. Picture: Simone De Peak

MEMBER for Swansea Yasmin Catley is taking the fight for a permanent sand dredge in Swansea Channel to state Parliament today.

The Labor MP will move a notice of motion calling on the state government to guarantee the channel will be navigable, safe and open for recreational use this summer.

"Enough is enough," Ms Catley said.

"This is not a new issue - every year since I was elected in 2015, I've had to have the same fight with the government about ensuring the channel is navigable during our peak season."

Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie volunteers had taken numerous calls to assist vessels that had run aground, tying up resources that would otherwise be available for serious emergencies, she said.

On the eve of the busy summer season, Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie has recorded depths as shallow as 1.1m in the channel.

"Quite frankly, it's a disgrace that this government continues to rely on a volunteer organisation to mop up their mess when it comes to Swansea Channel," Ms Catley said.

"This issue is costing the Swansea community, because people can barely get a tinny through some parts of the channel, and for that reason they're avoiding Lake Macquarie altogether.

"It is unacceptable that our region is missing out on significant economic benefits due to this government's mismanagement of the Swansea Channel."

The state government will begin dredging the channel at the end of the month, but Ms Catley is calling on a permanent solution, not periodic dredging.

Various stakeholders recently told Australian Community Media that Lake Macquarie's tourism economy would likely take a hit, and the region's reputation would be damaged, by the state of Swansea Channel.

Peter Watkins, 57, recently skippered a yacht through Swansea Channel but required the assistance of a marina boat.

"They [sailors] want to spend their money here, and Lake Macquarie is advertised as a great yachting place, but why come? You can't get into the lake, you're wasting your time," he said.

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