A petition which calls on the NSW government to fund two permanent entrances to the Manning River has been launched.
Manning River Action Group members and supporters met with Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead in Taree on Friday, January 22 to launch the petition.
If 10,000 signatures can be secured, the issue will be debated in NSW Parliament.
Action group spokesperson John Kennewell said the petition was a big step for the group to not only have the backing of Mr Bromhead and federal member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie but a realistic opportunity to have an economic case study for a navigable waterway to the river entrance at Harrington and a permanently open entrance at Farquhar Inlet come to fruition.
"Today is a momentous day for the Manning Valley, right through from our small beach villages to the upper reaches of Gloucester, Wingham and beyond," Mr Kennewell said.
Their hard work isn't done.
"We can't be complacent, we have to continue to lobby both our State and federal members and keep the pressure on," Mr Kennewell said.
If early indications are anything to go by, it won't take long to get the 10,000 signatures.
"The response has been absolutely overwhelming, I haven't come across anyone who was against this... everyone's asset is the river and the environmental outcomes from this project will be beyond belief," Mr Kennewell said.
Mr Bromhead was the first to put pen to paper.
"This is something the community has been calling on and the time for action is now," Mr Bromhead said.
"The river is the lifeblood of Taree and the Manning Valley and those entrances need to have a solution.
"What we want is the government to back the community and fund the solution to the entrances of the Manning River.
"The Manning River is the only river with dual entrances and a delta formation and there is no navigable entrance.
"It's 140 years of studies and talk... this means so much to the valley."
An expert taskforce, which was established to investigate the opening of the river, has looked through 140 years of historical data to determine the plausibility of the project.
Mr Bromhead said MidCoast Council, which continues to support the project, wouldn't have adequate funds to complete the project.
"So it's important the (NSW) government backs it," Mr Bromhead said.
If the signatures are secured and the issue is debated, the experts will work a solution into a business case for the government to consider.
The petition will be available at:
LJ Hooker Wingham, Elders Taree, Raw Sugar Cafe, LJ Hooker Old Bar, Lauders Real Estate Old Bar, Professionals Harrington, Harrington Hotel, Bohnock Bait and Tackle, Coopers Pharmacies in Taree, Chatham and Wingham, Wallabi Point Cafe, Tinonee Country Cafe and Manning Point General Store.
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