Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead has announced the NSW Nationals in Government will establish a Taskforce of experts to review options for providing a permanent entrance to the Manning River.

“The Manning River estuary is a complex waterway with a double entrance – one at Harrington to the north and Farquhar Inlet at Old Bar to the south,” Mr Bromhead said.

“The Manning River entrance is a dynamic environment which experiences a high level of shoaling which constrains accessibility for vessels.

“A reliable river entrance would improve navigation for boaters and lead to an increase in boating activity and could lead to potential investment opportunities along the lower parts of river and at Taree.”

Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said a number of potential options had been considered over the years including most recently in a feasibility study undertaken by Manly Hydraulics Laboratory. That report identified a number of potential options including construction of a new breakwater, routine dredging, stabilisation of the Manning Point sand spit and creating an artificial spit using large sandbags.

“All of this previous work will provide a good foundation for the Taskforce to build on,” Mr Constance said.

The focus of the Taskforce will be to provide further advice to the Government on the potential costs, benefits and technical feasibility of the various options for Harrington and Old Bar.

Mr Constance said the Taskforce would include experts in maritime safety, coastal management, engineering, industry along with a representative from MidCoast Council with the first meeting expected in April.

The Taskforce will provide a report to the NSW Government in late 2020.