DoET data highlights QLD long day care attendance not increasing at same rate as other states
The Australian Department of Education and Training has released a report for the December 2017 quarter, which showcases a range of insights about the state of the childcare sector in Australia. Overall, the trends continue from the previous quarter, however there are a few interesting points to watch in the next release.
The report demonstrates that the number of children accessing long day care (LDC) and outside school hours care (OSHC) across Australia continues to rise, with the number of children attending family day care (FDC) services in decline. This reflects record high rates of female workforce participation as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Victoria has seen a relatively steep increase in the number of children attending LDC in the last two to three years. Queensland is yet to see as marked an increase in LDC attendance compared to the other states.
Similarly, the number of LDC and OSHC services available continue to rise across Australia, while FDC services are falling in availability. As with the number of children in care, Victoria has seen an increase in the rate of services available in the last few years. It looks like Queensland may be beginning to pick up the rate also, so this will be one to watch.
In terms of the cost of childcare, LDC continues to increase at a steady rate. It appears that the rate of increase for the cost of OSHC may be decreasing but it is a bit early to draw any firm conclusions.
The trend in vacancies continues, with the final quarter generally delivering the lowest vacancies in both number and percentage of centres with vacancies. The December 2017 quarter is up compared to the same time last year, indicating that an increasing number of centres have availability, and therefore the number of unfilled places is also increasing. This suggests there may be oversupply in the sector as discussed by the Australian Financial Review.
Generally there is little change in the trends from the last reported quarter, however there are a few points to watch in the next release, such as the number of services available in Queensland and the cost of OSHC.