Plea for new NSW Government to fix “chronic childcare supply issues”: ACA NSW
The New South Wales Government needs to intervene to fix “chronic” oversupply issues relating to the state’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW branch has said.
“We have a triple whammy situation at the moment where fees are going up, parents are missing out and childcare operators are losing out,” said ACA NSW CEO Chiang Lim.
“Childcare oversupply and undersupply are rife across Australia. Fees are increasing, yet the current NSW Government, which regulates approvals, will not take any responsibility over supply,” he said.
ACA NSW pointed to independent analysis published by Urban Economics in December 2018 that revealed that the nett increase of centres being approved and built was approximately two to three times the estimated number of new centres needed in the same year to meet future demand; and, the Federal Department of Education and Training’s Early Childhood and Child Care in Summary reports, which confirm that vacancies in long day care settings increased for a sixth consecutive year.
According to the Department of Education’s reports the average number of vacancies increased to 145,907 in 2018 compared to 98,510 in 2015. It was also found that 94 per cent of ECEC centres reported vacancies in 2018.
The ACA NSW also said that it can “confirm through two Freedom of Information applications that despite assurances, the NSW Government and the Federal Government have not discussed oversupply or supply and demand issues during official meetings”.
The advocacy group highlighted that, since the NSW Government implemented the State Environmental Planning Policy (Educational Establishments and Child Care Facilities) in August 2017, new childcare centres have been approved in locations deemed inappropriate and where an oversupply already exists, leaving local councils frustrated that the approvals process has been taken out of their jurisdiction.
“Given that there are two elections this year, voters are looking for governments that can make sensible decisions to solve their everyday problems. They are not interested in the blame game. Young parents and childcare service providers just want common-sense solutions especially when market-forces fail,” said Mr Lim.