June quarterly childcare attendance slows according to DET report
The number of children attending child care services grew by only 0.1 per cent in the June quarter of 2019 according to the latest released of the Department of Education’s Early Childhood and Child Care in Summary.
While June typically experiences smaller growth than other quarters, the June 2018 result of 0.1 per cent was the lowest quarterly results since the report started being published. Queensland has seen a small increase of 0.4 per cent across all care types, whereas New South Wales and Victoria have seen decreases of 0.4 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.
Within the different setting types Long Day Care (LDC) and OSHC recorded gains with 1.9 per cent and 4.0 per cent respectively.
With respect to LDC the 1.9 per cent increases compares to an average year-on-year increase of 3.2 per cent seen in previous quarters and is the lowest quarterly year-on-year increase recorded since September 2012.
It is unclear what is at the root of this unseasonably large slowdown in LDC attendance although affordability stress associated with the Child Care Rebate subsidy structure and family apprehension around the introduction of the new Child Care Subsidy could have been influencing factors.
OSHC growth of 4.0 per cent is below the average June increase of around 8.0 per cent recorded in the last seven years.
Victoria and New South Wales saw quite large increases in the number of children attending outside school hours care (OSHC) services, with increases of between 3 – 6 per cent. In comparison, Queensland has seen a drop in the rate of increase for children, with just a 1 per cent rise from June 2017.
Nationwide there has also been a continued large decrease in the number of children attending family day care (FDC), with decreases in the range of 9 – 18 per cent across the major states.
This is likely due to the tightened regulations around the running of FDC services.
Despite the slowdown in the growth of children attending care, there has been no change in the rate of increase in new services.
Across Australia there has been a 4.1 per cent increase in the number of LDC services in June 2018 compared to June 2017. This is similar to the year-on-year rises seen in previous quarters.
Victoria saw the largest increase in LDC services, with a 7.2 per cent rise from the June 2017 quarter. This indicates that there may be an oversupply of LDC services in the near future.
There has been little change to the hours of LDC attended by children, however the average number of hours of FDC attendance has decreased by two from March 2018.
In terms of the cost of child care, there has been small increase of ten cents per hour on average for LDC and FDC, and an average rise of 30 cents per hour for OSHC. These figures are the cost of care before any government assistance is taken into account.