A community-led push is underway to see a safe and navigable waterway to the entrance of the Manning River at Harrington and a permanently open entrance at Farquhar Inlet.
Leading the campaign is the Manning River Action Group, who are calling on our elected MidCoast councillors to lobby the State Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead MP and Federal Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie MP to assist with secure funding for the project.
"The environmental, social and economic loss to the community is no longer acceptable," said group member John Caldon.
"It's a long time coming and frustration from the community is mounting.
"Managed areas for protection of the shorebirds, including Little Terns, is now urgent; flood mitigation is high on the agenda as is protecting Manning Point from serious flood damage and clean water for the oyster farmers and fishing industries is paramount.
"The cost of providing these things is well beyond that of MidCoast Council, so the public is now calling on State and Federal Governments to foot the bill for this vital piece of infrastructure," he said.
Mr Caldon has been reading reports on the issue for 25 years.
He has also had many conversations with Jonno Kennewell over the years and in more recent times, "the conversation was getting heavier and heavier," said Mr Kennewell.
Mr Caldon said in late 2019 and early 2020 it became prudent for the community to put together a group to push the issue forward for council and government.
"A dozen prominent business people have canvassed state and federal politicians and all the business groups and associations in the valley."
Both say the support from people they have spoken to in the community has been overwhelming.
"We can't find anyone who has been negative," said Mr Caldon.
Support has come from a number of areas, including the fishing industry, oyster farmers, dairy farmers, Harrington Chamber, Business Taree, Team Taree, Businessmen's Association, recreational fishers, tourism operators and moteliers, building industry, legal fraternity, sporting clubs, real estate industry and the indigenous community.
Stephen Bromhead said a Ministerial Taskforce was formed to review options for providing a permanent entrance to the Manning River.
"The taskforce have now completed their investigation and report. The report is currently with the Ministry and we are awaiting the government's response to it," he said.
The Manning River Times will be taking a more in-depth look at this issue and will be speaking to people in industries and within the community that will benefit from the permanent opening of the river entrances.