Cau­tion­ary tale

The Advertiser - - LETTERS -

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


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