Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Child care vacancies up to 139,000 across Australia

"Latest figures confirm large numbers of child care vacancies across Australia," Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

"The information, from the Child Care Access Hotline shows there are currently between 113,000 and 139,000 vacancies each weekday across all forms of child care across Australia.

"In particular the areas of much media focus have been Sydney and Melbourne. This data confirms that there is no locality in metropolitan Sydney or Melbourne that was without approved day care vacancies during the reporting period."

The Minister released the information today, including details of a small number of potential hotspots where availability for Long Day Care (LDC) was tight in some postcode areas.

"Since the reporting period, some of those areas are now reporting vacancies. In Katherine in the NT for example, a new centre has opened and an existing centre has expanded alleviating shortages there and there are hundreds of centres either under construction or awaiting approval.

"This is the first substantive data on Long Day Care availability and is based on information supplied to the Childcare Access Hotline, with information reported directly by child care services.

"The Hotline provides parents with information about local services, types of child care and Government funded assistance. It was expanded in July 2006 to provide vacancy information for parents.

"The data does not detail demand and it may well be the case that in some potential hotspots, particularly in regional and rural areas, there is not sufficient demand for a long day care centre to be viable. In these areas, the Government works closely with the community and other providers, such as family day care, in-home care or in venue care, to assist parents with their child care needs.

"This is initial data, but as previously announced, the Child Care Management System is being established and will provide detailed data on availability when the system is progressively rolled out from next year.

"This will not only better inform parents about availability, but also inform the child care market to assist it to plan investment in areas where there may be need.

"The Howard Government provides significant support to parents with $10 billion over four years in subsidies and rebates for child care. This includes low-cost child care, at 10 cents an hour, to help low income earners who qualify under Jobs Education and Training to re-enter the workforce, to ensure cost of child care is not a barrier to training or work.

"The table below provides a state-by-state breakdown of child care availability across all sectors as at the end of March 2007."

Available places by State, week ending 1 April 2007

State/ Territory/ National Available Places
26 March
Available Places
27 March
Available Places
28 March
Available Places
29 March
Available Places
30 March
ACT 2906 2474 2450 2519 3146
NSW 39507 30787 29613 30005 37957
NT 1285 1179 1155 1110 1271
QLD 37354 30404 29652 30212 34737
SA 12529 11160 11106 11060 12584
TAS 2791 2616 2667 2539 2840
VIC 31960 27936 28095 27180 30669
WA 11501 9239 8909 9019 9604
AUSTRALIA 139833 115795 113647 113644 132808

The Childcare Access Hotline number is 1800 670 305.