key social omissions

Businesses find great difficult in operating effectively—if at all—without the trust and confidence of the community in which they are located. As well as legal authority, a social "licence" is essential.

Determining if a corporation has Social Licence is not a simple tick-box count-up.  Most companies are tolerated, many are despised, a few are loved. How does the Mount Wellington cable car company (MWCC) rate? The MWCC can point to stakeholder support in the Tourism industry and supporters in the community (though beware, the MWCC have also been instrumental in setting up supportive "community groups"). 

Key stakeholders have rejected the proposal outright: the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, South Hobart resident groups, and state-based conservation organisations. CUB, a business whose support was crucial to the success of the Masterplan refused to support the MWCC at all, and went further: after consulting its local community concluded that the MWCC had not obtained a social licence.

Does the MWCC have a social licence? 

Has it even consulted the community? The CEO of the MWCC, Adrian Bold, once claimed that “the Organ Pipes weren’t even an issue raised in community consultation.” The MWCC’s consultation strategy has been controversial because it has been opaque. Who the company actually consulted and who they claimed to have consulted have been revealed as very different. Key groups have never been consulted—some despite repeated promises to do so. And what the company claims those consulted said and what they claim they said have been sometimes diametrically opposed.

The MWCC ignores the community and recreation groups, the nature-lovers, the conservation groups, and the thousands who have stood up against it, a suburb in revolt, it ignores the slap in the face Cascade gave it for "not convincing the community of the merits of its proposal" and to the Hobart City Council that refused MWCC consent to use its public land: it threatened them with "political suicide". It talks to its supporters about "winning the war". 

Combining twenty-five years of debate and six of active consultation, there are 7 key conditions the Tasmanian public insist we adhere to, over and beyond the planning scheme.
— Mount Wellington Cable Car company
I have no objection to a cable car providing the company gains social licence by presenting a design that is sensitive enough to gain the support of the major groups in the community that now object. But the company would probably have to drop this proposal or at least start all over again because they got off on the wrong foot. They don’t have a social licence.
— Professor Ted Lefroy

Instead of any of this, the MWCC claims to have distilled all feedback into the conditions for a Social Licence and argues that it has fulfilled all the conditions. There is no evidence that the MWCC has listened to the full range of the community’s objections but even examining its own Conditions: the proposal does not achieve them. If, as the MWCC boasts, the key social conditions are "the fundamental building blocks of our proposal" then something is clearly fundamentally wrong with the proposal. Its scheme would fail at least six, arguably all seven, of its Key Social Conditions.

Key Social Conditions

The MWCC posited seven "key social conditions" that it claimed the Tasmanian public "insisted" the MWCC adhere to. Put them together and, the company indicated, the MWCC would have obtained Social Licence and fulfilled their quadruple bottom-line commitment.

The company has demonstrably failed to comply with every single one of its self-imposed "Key Social Conditions".

Our proposal has been built upon community input and feedback, each step of the way through Phases 1 to 4 [because] we believe it is a moral obligation for any private investment on public land. This ethos continues today.
— Mount Wellington Cable Car company
The proponents have, from before 2012, conducted sham polls, made misleading statements about who they have consulted and cancelled, again and again, their own community consultation sessions. The MWCC is deaf to the howling winds of protest against their scheme. Hollow pontification.
— Mountain Preservation Society
Sick Sick.jpg
We present the details of our Development Application - prior to formal submission - for public feedback. We encourage all feedback.
— Mount Wellington Cable Car Company
A cable car Proposal document has been prepared  (it is over 300 pages thick, 100,000 words) but it as never been presented to the public. The list of secret, un-presented MWCC documentsis long. The “Full Proposal” is just 4,000 words—and most of those words are straight from the failed Masterplan.
— Mountain Preservation Society


The list of secret, un-presented MWCC documents is long.

The MWCC is always asking for feedback, but on their website no critical feedback is published. On facebook, all critical comments are shunted off the main page. Simultaneously, the MWCC has attempted to gag public debate online with its cybersquatting strategy.

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More on: Detractors

More on: The Social Costs