Building plans bypass council approval procedures

The Queensland Government’s Sustainable Planning Regulation has been amended to allow existing schools and hospitals to make building extensions without council approval.

Premier Anna Bligh said this regulation change is an extension of the rules put in place for the federal government’s Building the Education Revolution construction fund.

“This meant that Queensland outstripped other states in our ability to deliver the program quickly because of the streamlined planning provisions,” Ms Bligh said.

According to Ms Bligh, it made “little sense” for the 1800 state schools and 450 private hospitals in the state to be subjected to lengthy council planning processes to improve their facilities.

It means “less red tape when schools are being expanded on existing sites”, Ms Bligh said.

She said schools and hospitals built 60 years ago need to be able to adapt to modern technology, especially hospitals looking to expand the number of beds.

“These are buildings that should be able to go ahead quickly,” she said.

Ms Bligh said teachers and doctors should not be “getting stuck completing paper work” so modern facilities can be built.

Minister for Local Government, Paul Lucas said public facilities like schools and hospitals are “vitally important” given that the state’s population is expected to grow from four million to six million by 2031 on “medium term forecasts”.

Mr Lucas said schools and hospitals need large amounts of land to build facilities such as gymnasiums or medical wards.

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