LDC annual supply growth up to 3.7% in Q2 2021 according to latest ACECQA snapshot
The growth in supply of new long day care (LDC) centres across Australia rose to 3.7 per cent year on year according to the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) latest NQF Snapshot.
In the three months to June 2021 a total of 55 LDC service approvals were issued taking the total number in Australia to 8,332.
The 3.7 per cent annual growth rate showed a slight pick up from last quarter and moves the rate back towards the centre of the well defined channel of increases that has been in place for the last five years.
Queensland growth rates moving higher, NSW and VIC broadly steady
The main standout across the states and territories this quarter was Queensland which is now adding services at the fastest annual rate, 4.0 per cent, since pre COVID-19 in Q1 2020.
Although growth rates have been higher than 4.0 per cent for Queensland, they hit 5.0 per cent in Q2 2019. The current rise is coming at a point in time when both of the other two larger states, New South Wales and Victoria, are steady.
That being said, it should be noted that the ACT saw an increase of new LDC services in the quarter, which pushed up annual growth rates to 6.7 per cent, the highest on record although it does come off a low base with just 174 LDC’s currently licensed in the territory.
OSHC sees substantial increase in supply with largest jump in Q2 2017
The outside school hours care (OSHC) sector saw a break of trend with growth in new licences annualising at 2.2 per cent, matching rates not seen since 2017 and breaking a relatively well established trend of moderate, (ie: sub 1.0 per cent) growth that has been in place for three years.
It is unclear what has driven this increase, particularly given the outsized challenges the OSHC setting has experienced at the hands of rolling state and territory COVID-19 related lockdowns.
Preschool/Kindergartens service approvals contract for 8th straight quarter
The preschool / kindergarten setting across Australia continued to hold firm to the recent trend of net closures with 25 less licenses outstanding as at 30 June 2021, then at the end of the March 2021 quarter.
The setting has reported falls in the number of licences each quarter since June 2019 which, in percentage falls, amounts to a fall of around 2.5 per cent that may not seem material but when compared to the 7.6 per cent growth in LDC centres over the same period is notable.
There are now 2.75 LDC services for every one preschool / kindergarten in Australia, a new all time high and a continuation of what appears to be an embedded structural shift towards LDC services.
NSW has the highest ratio of LDC to preschool / kindergarten at 4.39, followed by Queensland at 3.45 with both seeing substantial increases in LDC over the years relative to preschools.
To read the latest ACECQA snapshot please click here.
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