ACECQA register review suggests LDC supply levels tracking below last year but still elevated
A review of the ACECQA National Registers as at the end of the first half of 2019 suggests that the number of new long day care centres receiving a license to operate continues to track at levels comparable to last year, albeit slightly lower.
Overall, in the first half of 2019 a total of 206 new licences were issued to long day care services across Australia. This is lower than the around 214 issued in the same period in 2018 but still higher than those recorded in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.
When considering the data from a June quarter perspective, the reduction in the number of new licenses issued, to 77, in total compares favourably to last years 87 but as with the half year numbers higher than 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The reduction in new licences being issued is consistent with the theme of a moderation of supply generally, as highlighted by operators earlier in the year, and confirmed by the March quarter ACECQA snapshot but the degree of moderation appears to be stalling.
It is however important to recognise that early education supply and demand dynamics are localised, so a national snapshot may not be representative of a particular catchment’s characteristics but as a guide to overall trends remains instructive.
State by state new centre openings trends more nuanced in 2019
From a state and territory perspective the license trends so far in 2019 have been quite varied.
New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (VIC) and Queensland (QLD) saw large spikes in new licence issuance at the beginning of the year which have not been matched since although NSW has remained stubbornly high.
Western Australia also saw a large increase in the beginning of the year issuance and has settled since and South Australia has been moderately steady, albeit at a lower level, so far this year.
Compared to last year state by quarterly state issuance lower but only just
With respect to comparisons with previous June quarters the state by state performance confirms the national trend of being slightly lower than the same period last year but still quite elevated.
The exception here is QLD which is tracking at the same overall level as the June quarter in 2018 which itself was a record quarter for new licence issuance.
The monthly ACECQA register review is conducted as a precursor to the release of the ACECQA Quarterly snapshot which provides a definitive breakdown of sector supply trends including for Family Day Care, Outside School Hours Care and Pre-school / Kindergartens.
The next ACECQA Quarterly Snapshot is expected to be released on or around the 1st August at which time a thorough review will be conducted with conclusions reported on.