New LDC service approvals in NSW, QLD and VIC rise in January 2019
The number of new service approvals issued to long day care (LDC) centres opening in January has seen an increase on previous years according to The Sector’s latest monthly analysis of the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) register although the increase was mitigated to some degree by centre closings.
In total, 67 new licenses were granted to new centres across Australia in January this year. This compares to 50 in January 2018, 42 in January 2017, and 33 in January 2016.
The largest increase was to be found in Queensland, which saw 20 new licences granted compared to eight last year, and Victoria, which saw 23 this year compared to 11 last year. The fall in the number of licences issued in New South Wales was not sufficient to compensate for the rises in QLD and VIC.
Although a relatively large increase in licences issued in January has become the norm as developers and operators seek to ensure their centres are open for a full calendar year, the magnitude of increases in QLD and VIC this year are larger than expected, especially in light of indications, particularly in Victoria, that the rate of new centre openings in the second half of 2018 were showing signs of abating.
With regards to centres closing in the period, the steady rise of cancelled licences observed in 2018 continued into 2019 with 15 centres closing in January.
Of the closed centres five were in NSW, one was in QLD, seven were in VIC, and two in South Australia.
On a net basis the closed centres in NSW and VIC mitigated the number of new openings but for QLD, with only one centre closing, the overall levels of new centres opening in the state remains high at 19.
The opening of new LDC centres in the less populous states across Australia showed similar trends to previous periods.
January also saw an increase in the number of new outside school hours care (OSHC) services across Australia, with a 0.8 per cent average increase in service numbers compared to the previous month, but a decline of 13.6 per cent compared to last year.
The number of family day care (FDC) services across Australia continues to decrease, with an overall 0.9 per cent decline compared to December. In Victoria and Queensland there was a net increase of one centre each in January, whereas all other states experienced decreases or no change.
In total, 177 FDC services have closed in the last six months compared to just 72 opening.
There has been a rise in the number of kindergarten services in Victoria, with 18 new centres opening and just three closing. This is an increase of 1.3 per cent which is much larger than the -0.1 per cent average monthly change over the past six months and also significantly larger than the same period last year.
The remaining states have seen small rises or declines, resulting in an average 0.5 per cent increase in kindergarten services across Australia.
The Sector’s next monthly analysis of the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) register will be released in the first week of March.