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New data highlights need for priority action on Sydney child care shortage
THE HON KATE ELLIS MP Minister for Employment Participation Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care
10 May, 2013
NEW DATA HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR PRIORITY ACTION ON SYDNEY CHILD CARE SHORTAGE
New data revealing a clearer picture of Sydney’s growing problems in child care availability must jolt the New South Wales Government into action, Early Childhood and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis said today.
Ms Ellis said an analysis of local government areas showing the number of child care places as a percentage of its child population confirms availability is a significant challenge for many Sydney families.
Many councils have less than one child care place for every five children aged under five - one council has just one place for every 25 children residing in that local government area.
The statistics are based on the latest ABS Census data and the National Early Childhood Workforce Census.
Ms Ellis said there were now more than 316,000 NSW children receiving child care, a growth of 31 per cent in five years.
“Our Government is absolutely prepared to do our bit and we’re proud to fund an unlimited number of places at an unlimited number of services,” Ms Ellis said.
“We need State Governments who oversee planning laws to equally do their bit.
“We hear too many stories of childcare providers who want to invest in new services but are being prevented by restrictive State and local Government provisions and a lack of priority given to the issue.
“At a time when the NSW Government is reviewing planning laws I call on them to ensure that this issue is viewed as a priority and that they specifically include child care as vital social infrastructure.
“No parent who wants to head back to the workforce should have to face such extreme waiting lists because adequate local planning has not occurred.”
Ms Ellis said the ten local government areas in Sydney with the scarcest amount of child care places were Woollahra, Auburn, Holroyd, Strathfield, Manly, Marrickville, Bankstown, Sutherland, Blacktown and Ku-ring-gai.
She said half of these councils had a cap on the number of places in a child care centre development before it could be properly assessed. Many of these caps render child care centre projects unviable.
“There are councils in Sydney that are doing all they can to open up more places and they should be commended,” Ms Ellis said.
“But this has become an issue of state significance requiring state government intervention because many councils are not acting.
“We need the State Government to step up to the plate and provide that leadership.
“Child care is no longer used by a small minority of families like it was 30 years ago, it’s now absolutely vital to many families so that both parents are in paid work to help pay off the mortgage.
“The shortage of child care places in NSW is stopping thousands of mums and dads from returning to work- ultimately that’s bad for productivity and that’s bad for the economy.”
LGA Name Total Children
Total Licenced Places % of Long Day Care
places to children
Caps on places in control plans
Woollahra 8253 340 4.1% NO
Auburn 6631 717 10.8% NO
Holroyd 9653 1132 11.7% 45
Strathfield 2300 312 13.6% 30
Manly 3530 490 13.9% NO
Marrickville 5842 820 14.0% NO
Bankstown 16546 2361 14.3% 40
16734 2408 14.4% 45
Blacktown 30314 4576 15.1% 40
Ku-ring-gai 7235 1099 15.2% NO
Minister Ellis’ media contact: Joshua Cooney 0428 300 514