THIS is a cautionary note about former premier Mike Rann’s advice on community involvement with major development projects ( The Advertiser, 1/9/17).
Mr Rann’s view that political leaders need to learn the difference between strong community opposition and vocal but small pressure groups ought to be regarded by these leaders with a great deal of caution.
Having worked with numerous community and resident groups on major urban planning issues over the years, it’s been my experience that – behind what may be viewed as small pressure groups – there can be very large supportive populations who don’t get involved in upfront protests.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t support these protests via voting come election time.
The reasons why they don’t get directly involved in protest actions can be many and varied, ranging from concerns about the huge amount of time involved, to the belief the government will take no notice of their views anyway, to the frequent stigmatisation as belligerent naysayers people who carry out any form of protest.
Even when there’s been very strong community opposition to development proposals, the Weatherill Government hasn’t listened. Currently there’s an enormous amount of community opposition to its planning changes, with a major concern being the removal of residents’ rights to have a say about development proposals that will affect them.
Although the depth and extent of this opposition hasn’t surfaced in the media as yet, expect a major backlash against the Government on its planning changes at the next state election
KEVIN O’LEARY, Crafers.