Think tank to examine school infrastructure challenges

QUEENSLAND will need to invest an estimated $3 billion to build more than 100 schools in the next 10 years to keep up with population growth, a think tank will be told.

The challenge of planning for this infrastructure will be discussed on Thursday at a think tank in Brisbane being convened by Independent Schools Queensland.

More than 40 representatives from the independent, state and Catholic school sectors, as well as state and local government experts, and finance and construction representatives, will come together for the School Infrastructure - New Directions Think Tank.

ISQ executive director David Robertson said the highest demand for new schools was expected to be in south-east Queensland, particularly in the western corridor, Caloundra South and Caboolture, as well as in mining service centres such as Mackay and Townsville.

The projection was based on predicted growth of 146,000 additional students in Queensland schools over the coming decade.

Mr Robertson said Queensland would need to build the equivalent of 10 schools each year for the next decade across the three schooling areas just to meet demand.

"This could mean expanding the size of some existing schools to accommodate more students, but it is still the cost equivalent of 10 new schools a year, every year, until 2022.

"The new State Government in Queensland has an opportunity to re-examine the public policy settings and our planning needs afresh."

Mr Robertson said ISQ had been heartened by the Newman government's commitment to cutting red tape, reforming the Sustainable Planning Act and the establishing the Queensland Schools Planning Commission.

While families contributed significantly to the cost of establishing new independent schools, he said government support was also critical.

Thursday's discussion is part of ISQ's regular think tank series designed to stimulate debate about critical issues facing the education sector.

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