Fishermen laud Rudd's river pledge

CLARENCE Professional Fishermen's Association industry representative John McGuren believes Kevin Rudd's promise that the Clarence River would not be dammed by a Federal Labor government was 'categorical' and 'unequivocal'.

The Opposition Leader met with Mr McGuren and Russell Creighton of the Clarence River Fishermen's Co-operative at the Crown Hotel, on the banks of the river, in Grafton last Friday.

"The Opposition has now totally rejected any concept of major damming or diversion of not only the Clarence but the other northern NSW rivers," Mr McGuren said.

"That's a decision that we applaud and support wholeheartedly."

Mr McGuren said it was disappointing the Minister for Water, Malcolm Turnbull, had not taken up any public invitations to speak with the people of the Clarence Valley and discuss his proposal.

"He (Mr Turnbull) should have done that a long time before now," Mr McGuren said.

"The Clarence Valley people feel very strongly about the future of their river and the need to ensure that it has a sustainable future, so it's obviously fair to say that Kevin Rudd's visit has now drawn a clear point of distinction between the positions of the two major political parties."

Clarence Environment Centre secretary John Edwards said he was 'glad to hear that Mr Rudd and the Shadow Minister for Water, Anthony Albanese, think that damming the Clarence is a crazy idea'.

"People in the Clarence Valley would be happy to hear that," Mr Edwards said.

"This issue has been around for a long time now. We really need to knock it on the head."

Mr Turnbull said in a media release that 'Mr Rudd was being untruthful when he says the Howard Government has a plan to dam the Clarence'.

"As he should know, the Federal Government has no power to dam the Clarence or any other river in northern NSW," Mr Turnbull said.

NSW Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water, Phil Koperberg, yesterday welcomed Mr Rudd's announcement to scrap plans to build a dam on the Clarence and other NSW rivers.

"We've already said on the record that we won't support the damming of the Clarence River or local Tweed waterways," Mr Koperberg said.

"They should be listening to local communities, not radically trying to change their lives from far off Canberra without any consultation."

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