There are calls for dredging in the Port Stephens area to be managed by one comprehensive body to streamline essential works.

At present, the removal of sand and debris is overseen by Crown Lands, the EPA, RMS and Marine Parks Authority – requiring a lengthy application process to have the dredging carried out.

Operator of Oyster Cave Marina, Robert Bailey believes the current situation is untenable.

“We’ve had a number of vessels run aground coming up the channel,” Mr Bailey said, “people from Sydney, locals, even the Roads and Maritime boat has grounded coming up the channel.”
He fears for the future of commercial fishing and aqua tourism in the region if a proactive and straightforward approach to dredging isn’t initiated.
Port Stephens MP Kate Washington agrees the dredging system needs to be simplified.
She says she’s making no headway with the State Minister for Maritime.
“I wrote to Melinda Pavey in January and she lost the letter,” Ms Washington explained.
“I then re-sent the letter in June – when we followed up recently to get a response, I was told that the response would now be expedited, but I still haven’t received it.
“The work and the delays and the red tape [to attract dredging works] comes right from the top,” she said.
Work has recently begun on removing debris from the floor of the Myall River at ‘The Gut,’ but the MP says even that took years of community lobbying before the announcement was made by Port Stephens MLC, Catherine Cusack.