New LDC opening rate remains elevated at end of 2023
The Sector > Provider > General News > New LDC opening rate remains elevated at end of 2023 says ACECQA snapshot

New LDC opening rate remains elevated at end of 2023 says ACECQA snapshot

by Jason Roberts

February 12, 2024
New LDC opening rate remains elevated

The number of long day care (LDC) services in Australia as at the end of 2023 stood at 8,994, up around 3.6 per cent compared to a year ago, with 313 new services opened, the latest release of ACECQA’s NQF snapshot notes. 


The rate of growth was consistent with levels experienced in June and September of last year at around 3.5 per cent, which, relative to the long term trends, is more or less in the middle of the 2.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent growth rates historically experienced.


Annual growth of new LDC service approvals - Australia


The December quarter of 2023 saw 70 new centres added – 24 in New South Wales, 12 in Western Australia, 11 in South Australia and 9 in Victoria. South Australia recorded the fastest growth rate of 5.5 per cent. 


2023 saw the number of new centres opened exceed the levels recorded in 2020, 2021 and 2022, and fell only just short of that recorded in 2019, which was a record year for new service openings. 


Total LDC service approvals - Annual


Despite percentage growth rates suggesting a middle of the range trajectory, the absolute number of centres opened in 2023 was substantial and, should it continue into 2024, would likely start to see demand related competition challenges start to re-emerge as a theme. 


Another notable development that has been playing out over time is the convergence of growth rates across the three largest by centre numbers namely NSW, VIC and QLD. 


LDC service approvals - Larger states


Queensland, having recorded fairly muted growth rates post pandemic has now moved up meaningfully, whilst VIC, which has had a long stretch of high growth rates, has moderated somewhat while NSW has gradually ticked higher. 


It is unclear what factors are driving these changes but it is clear that QLD is becoming an increasingly important driver of relative LDC growth in Australia, a role that VIC has held solely for a number of years. 


To read the latest ACECQA snapshot please see here

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