Posted July 18th, 2023

Tanya Thompson MP, Member for Myall Lakes, is calling for immediate action to address the ongoing issue of sand shoaling in Wallis Lake, Forster, which has had severe implications for the local community, businesses, and tourism.

In her inaugural speech in the Legislative Assembly, Mrs Thompson highlighted the challenges posed by sedimentation and sand shoaling, emphasising the significant impact on various industries, including tourism, the oyster industry, and the iconic Amaroo Cruises. The renowned family-owned business, operating since 1978, has faced difficulties due to the sand build-up preventing their vessel from safely passing under the Forster Tuncurry Bridge.

Despite Mrs Thompson’s efforts to advocate for sand dredging in the Myall Lakes, recent developments have forced the owners of the Amaroo to make the unfortunate decision to sell their vessel. The combination of the sand shoaling issue, the impact of Covid-19 and adverse weather conditions, created an untenable situation for Amaroo Cruises over the past three years.

A comprehensive hydrodynamic study and model of the Wallis Lake estuary is underway, which aims to identify short and long-term dredging solutions to improve navigation near the lake’s entrance and prevent the smothering of oyster leases caused by sand shoaling. Mrs Thompson eagerly awaits the outcome of this study and modelling which will determine the costs to move forward with the dredging.

Last week, Mrs Thompson accompanied by Dugald Saunders, Leader of the NSW National Party, toured Wallis with local oyster stakeholders to gain further insight into the detrimental effects caused by the build-up of sand.

Mrs Thompson acknowledges the frustrations and disappointment felt by the community, particularly the impacts on local businesses and the tourism sector. She is resolute in her commitment to pursuing positive action from the government to rectify the sand shoaling issue in Wallis Lake.

“I understand the concerns and challenges faced by our community. I will continue to advocate vigorously for the necessary funding and resources to resolve this issue promptly. Something that I have been doing as Stephen Bromhead’s representative in parliament, as a candidate for the NSW Nationals and now as the Local Member. The preservation of our local industries, protection of our environment, and the vitality of our tourism sector are of utmost importance,” said Mrs Thompson.

Mrs Thompson remains dedicated to working alongside government officials and stakeholders to find an effective solution to the sand shoaling problem in Wallis Lake. She urges all parties to prioritise this issue and collaborate towards achieving a resolution that supports the long-term sustainability and prosperity of the region.

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