Media Release by The Hon John Cobb MP

Child Care Vacancy Data

Acting Federal Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Minister John Cobb said the Government yesterday provided information on Child Care Vacancy Data in response to their request for the most recent data.

Mr Cobb said that data (attached) is compiled from the Child Care Access Hotline. The data is not manipulated. It is actual vacancy information provided by providers.

‘The Government did not and has not editorialised this vacancy data and has not used words like ‘crisis’ or ‘myths’. The data speaks for itself.

‘Labor’s Jenny Macklin seeks to dispute the data but provides no data in response – because she can’t. These are actual vacancies.

‘Jenny Macklin’s suggestion that there might be vacancies in Tamworth but not Sydney is trite. And wrong. There are vacancies in Sydney and a number of Sydney councils and indeed other providers have been asking the Government to restrict the number of funded places because, as the NSW Local Government Association said – there are not enough children for their places.

‘The Government has maintained that the data shows that in general there are vacancies. There are likely to be localised hot spots of demand as demographics change and different areas develop and the child care market shifts. This reinforces the importance of collecting accurate data and not making unsubstantiated comments as Labor does,’ Mr Cobb said.

‘The Child Care Access Hotline provides a one stop shop for information for parents considering their child care choices. It uses information based on real provider returns. It now also seeks to target information not only on total vacancies but for 0-2 year olds and school aged children – to better respond to individual parent needs.

‘The Government also announced recently the development of a National Child Care System to better support the $10 billion investment in childcare the Howard Government makes every 4 years. That system is under development now and is expected to roll out early next year.

‘The Government has indicated that it will routinely publish appropriate market data on such things as vacancies as those systems become more automated. It will provide the best data for parents, providers and the Government than has ever been available.

‘Labor opposes the one phone number Child Care Access Hotline, preferring 620 council run waiting lists which will create duplication as people join multiple lists, and will create conflicts of interest as many councils are also providers. Labor also questions the validity of having a National Child Care Management System – probably because the real data does not conform with Labor’s unsupported claims on child care.

‘The Howard Government has doubled the number of funded places from Labor’s 300,000 to 600,000 and has uncapped funding for approved Long Day Care, Family Day Care and Outside School Hours Care.

‘The OECD recently noted that Australia has higher levels of cash subsidy for parents childcare choices than comparable nations,’ he said.

Mr Cobb said by comparison Jenny Macklin is proposing to increase fees to parents by requiring all carers, including family day carers to have 4 year teaching degrees.

Reported vacancies by State, working week ending 15 Dec 2006
State Monday 11/12
Available Places
Tuesday 12/12
Available Places
Wednesday 13/12
Available Places
Thursday 14/12
Available Places
Friday 15/12
Available Places
ACT 3408 3148 3107 3192 3635
NSW 34836 27801 26576 27285 32736
NT 1071 977 1013 1011 1025
QLD 33993 27944 27633 27179 30712
SA 11004 9525 9534 9571 10553
TAS 2456 2300 2359 2224 2387
VIC 31715 28426 28035 27354 30659
WA 9047 7127 7004 6977 7439
AUSTRALIA 127530 107248 105261 104793 119146
Source: Child Care Access Hotline.