Letter to the Editor: Special interest development blues

My letter to the Editor at the Busselton-Dunsborough Times:

The title of your article regarding the latest developments of the Dunsborough foreshore cafe should be a warning to us all (“Interest groups hail cafe rethink”, 31/1). It should trouble residents that small groups of people, interest groups, can sway the decisions of local government but it shouldn’t surprise us. When you leave the fate of such a valuable resource such as land on the foreshore to the people who run government (politicians and bureaucrats), you are all but guaranteeing that it will be well organized, vocal special interests will prevail, dressed in the rhetoric of‘the public good’, over the actual interests of others.

Even if government were to somehow defy the reality, well understood by students of public choice theory, that special interests will always have the inside track when it comes to decision making, how could they even know what the ‘public good’ is? Unless the council or the City were is somehow embued with wisdom beyond regular folk, it is hard to know what the best choice is when you don’t personally bear the costs of your decisions and you are subject to little accountability.

A much more sensible choice would be to entrust such valuable commodities as foreshore land to private enterprise, investing their own money and subject to the accountability of consumer demand. Consumers, not lobbying by special interests, should be the ones directing the future of the foreshore.

Lee Herridge


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