ECEC services to expand Gunnedah’s capacity by more that 240 places, easing demand

ECEC services to expand Gunnedah’s capacity by more that 240 places, easing demand

by Freya Lucas

January 19, 2022

More than 240 new early childhood education and care (ECEC) spaces will soon be available for families in the NSW regional town of Gunnedah and surrounds through a combination of expansion of existing services and the creation of new ones in response to soaring demand

 

Established local service Li’l Achievers Early Learning Centre will add 48 places, while new centres Puggles and Imagine Childcare will bring 194 places between them. 

 

Imagine Childcare is currently under construction with its Brisbane-based developer, Australian Childcare Solutions (ACS) anticipating it will be open by spring. Puggles, which is being developed by Moore Development Group, was originally slated to open this month, however delays have meant work remains outstanding. 

 

ACS Director Don Jonsson said the developer was originally going to build a centre in nearby Tamworth, but after researching the area, discovered Gunnedah was “crying out for childcare”, so the company shifted its focus.

 

During meetings with Gunnedah Shire Council and Gunnedah’s business chambers, Mr Jonsson said the company was told that the town’s growth was being negatively affected by lack of child care places, local paper Namoi Valley Independent reported

 

“We were getting a very consistent message of shortage, so we decided to contract this site near Gunnedah South Public School,” he explained.

 

Moore Development Group spokesperson Lisa Rochfort said the developer was pleased to be able to offer the community a choice about care, rather than settling for any place in light of 6-12 month waiting lists. 

 

“It’s always got to be demand-driven, but I think it’s important that parents have choice, rather than necessity…parents should feel they have the choice of the best childcare to put their child into,” she said.

 

This is why the developer is happy to wait for the right staff. 

 

“Even if we’re ready to open, we won’t open until we have staff we’re very comfortable with,” she said.

 

“I think that’s when you can afford to put standards before business, and that’s a philosophy we’re very comfortable with.”

 

“This is a very long-term venture. It’s something we want to get right from the start.”

 

To read the original coverage of this story please see here

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