king-proceduraljustice-2009.pdf (1.17 MB)
Procedural justice and Australian environment : the case of the Wonthaggi water desalination plant
journal contributionposted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by Tanya KingTanya King, Kristina Murphy
Drier conditions in Australia have compelled governments to implement various projects to address current or impending water shortages. Such projects have not always been popular with the local community who are directly affected by this infrastructure, with 'procedural justice' emerging as a critical issue. This paper analyses issues of public perceptions of 'procedural justice' in implementing environmental projects in regional areas, in the context of the recently approved desalination plant in the regional Victorian town of Wonthaggi. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative data from a survey of 316 Wonthaggi residents, we show that one of the major predictors of residents' resistance toward accepting the building of the desalination plant was explained by perceptions of procedural injustice. We further argue that inadequate attention to the particular political history of the region has compounded the sense that the plant implementation has been unfair. Attention to such political histories is vital to avoiding conflict with local stakeholders and to the successful and ethical implementation of development projects in regional areas.