A Labor government would fund a permanent dredging solution for Swansea Channel, shadow treasurer Ryan Park said on Friday.
“We will reverse the Liberal Government’s short sighted decision to cancel the purchase of a dredge,” Mr Park who made the announcement with Swansea MP Yasmin Catley at Pelican said.
“This is good news for the thousands of boaters that use the Lake and the channel, from Swansea, Lake Macquarie and beyond.”
The project, which Mr Park declined to attach a dollar figure on, would be put out to tender.
Funding for the project would be provided through Crown Lands and Roads and Maritime Services.
“This is one of the number one issues here on Lake Macquarie,” said Ms Catley said.
“A dredge based at Swansea will ensure the channel is safe and navigable – not just sometimes, all the time. The Liberal Government has ignored our community for eight long years, and the cancellation of the dredge symbolises this.”
The expression of interest would also look at a transportable dredge that could be used to undertake dredging work in other waterways, such as Port Stephens.
Maintenance dredging is due to resume over the next few weeks after a build up of sediment.
Lake Macquarie Marine Rescue was called to tow 28 vessels to safety between during last year's Easter weekend after they ran into trouble because of silt build-up in the channel.
Unit commander Chris Parkinson told the Newcastle Herald the calls for help came from boats in the same patch of water near the entrance to Swan Bay.
“It’s been occurring now for quite a while now,” he said.
“The channel up near Swan Bay has just become so shallow. Some have been sneaking through, others are touching the bottom and others are sort of stuck and we’ve got to get them off.”
Lands and forestry minister Paul Toole said the government had spent $1.1 million removing 41,000 cubic metres of sediment in two dredging operations since 2015. He said the government would spend another $100,000 on dredging later this month.
“Boating safety is a priority and it is preferable for dredging works to happen outside the busy school holiday period,” Mr Toole said.
“Weather permitting, dredging should be completed by the end of May. Monitoring of the channel will continue through regular bed level surveys.”
The Department of Primary Industries has previously said that that ongoing maintenance dredging in Swansea Channel was be necessary due to the dynamic nature of sand movement through the channel.