OSHC stabilising in cost and number of services; number of LDC vacancies increasing
Long day care (LDC) centres are continuing to increase the cost of care, whereas outside school hours care (OSHC) appears to be stabilising in cost and number of services, according to the March 2018 quarterly release of the Early Childhood and Child Care in Summary report from the Department of Education and Training.
Continuing the trend from the previous quarter, the number of children attending LDC and OSHC services continues to rise across Australia. The number of Queensland children attending LDC appears to be increasing at an accelerated rate compared to previous observations. Family day care (FDC) continues to observe a declining number of children attending their services.
The number of LDC services available continues to increase, while FDC services are falling in availability. The number of OSHC services in Queensland appears to have stagnated, with the rate of increase across Australia slowing slightly. This may indicate the sector has a reached a balance in the supply and demand of OSHC services or tipped into oversupply in some areas.
In terms of the cost of childcare (before any subsidy assistance), LDC continues to increase at a steady rate. The rate of increase in the cost of OSHC services seems to be slowing, with smaller year-on-year increases being observed for the past two years.
The number of LDC vacancies has increased from both the December 2017 quarter, and the March 2017 quarter. The estimated number of vacancies across Australia has increased from 98,850 to 145,907 since December 2017 – an increase of 48 per cent. The year-on-year increase saw the estimated number of vacancies rise from 122,570 to 145,907 – an increase of 19 per cent. This compares to an 11 per cent increase from March 2016 to March 2017. The increase in number of vacancies could be due to the increased number of centres as well as decreased occupancy.