Page MP Janelle Saffin made it clear on the first day of the Parliamentary session that she would be vigilant on protecting the Clarence River against water raiders.

Ms Saffin today told Parliament that a lot of people were talking about wanting to get their hands on water from the Clarence River.

But she said the message from the local community in response to those looking at river diversion under the Murray-Darling Basin plan is this: “Not a drop”.

“Engineering-wise, we can do anything – we can do marvels – but in terms of the environment and also the viability of the Clarence, it would be a disaster,” Ms Saffin said.

“The catchment area of the Clarence River falls within 100 kilometres of the New South Wales coastal strip.

“Our industries are fishing – we have a huge commercial fishing industry – and agriculture, and the economy is heavily underpinned by that commercial fishing.

“There is also forestry and tourism. It is all worth a lot to us.

“This debate is one of those debates that come up every now and then.”

Ms Saffin said that right across her electorate thousands of cars display the ‘not a drop’ bumper stickers, part of a campaign against Coalition water policy in 2007.

Following her statement in the House, Ms Saffin said she did not want to alarm people but she wanted to be up-front on the first sitting day on this important issue.

“I also want to thank the local people who sent me good information on the issue this morning,” Ms Saffin said.

“The idea of diverting the Clarence River inland won’t stand up to closer public scrutiny.”