Government excludes communities from big ticket development decisions

A school car park
The State Government’s move to exclude councils from the planning and approval process for new buildings or building extensions in schools and hospitals risks opening the floodgates to unregulated development – and that may cost ratepayers millions of dollars to fix.  Local Government Association of Queensland chief executive Greg Hallam says the decision, rammed through just before the Government went into caretaker mode, cuts communities out of the decision making process.
“Worse, it risks leaving those same communities reliant on inadequate water, sewerage, road  and transport infrastructure,” said Mr Hallam.
“These changes allow for large developments to occur on prominent sites in our communities without any regard for the impact on surrounding residents and businesses or the road, water and other infrastructure needed to support them. “The Government is promoting this as a move to cut red tape but in truth it is about disregarding community input into development decisions.’’ Mr Hallam said the move was further demonstration that the Government was all about fast tracking policy to the detriment of proper planning principles.
He warned the change would give schools a blank cheque to build what they wanted with no obligation to consult neighbouring property owners who were likely to wear the cost in the long run. “It displays an appalling lack of regard for community consultation and a willingness to lump councils and their communities with the burden of working out what such developments mean for future council finances,’’ Mr Hallam said.
“It’s also worth noting that this move was made at the very last minute before caretaker provisions came into force. “What is the Government’s real motive here?  “The LGAQ will continue to lobby the incoming government, following the 24 March state election, to scrap this decision and allow local communities more influence over the shape and scale of development on school and hospital grounds, so that the full implications of such  decisions are better understood.’’

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