An increasing number of NSW childcare centres that have been around for decades are now going out of business due to too many vacancies.
Keiraville Community Preschool, which has been operating since 1952, is safe for the moment but the oversupply issue is definitely on director Margaret Gleeson’s radar.
‘’We are concerned, especially given what has happened in other areas of the state where there has been oversupply. We don’t want it to happen in this area,’’ Mrs Gleeson said.
Lyn Connolly, the president of the peak industry body for privately run childcare centres in NSW, Australian Childcare Alliance (NSW) said the oversupply of childcare spots was a very real and prevalent issue.
‘’Centres throughout NSW have closed down, including privately-run operations in the Sydney CBD and a community-based centre in Mt Druitt,’’ Ms Connolly said.
‘’The lack of government regulation in this area is causing multiple facilities to open within far too close proximity of existing centres.
“It’s imperative that the government steps in and takes responsibility. The viability of childcare centres that have been around for decades shouldn’t be at the mercy of property developers who are pumping out new centres purely as investment vehicles.
The viability of childcare centres that have been around for decades shouldn’t be at the mercy of property developers who are pumping out new centres purely as investment vehicles.Lyn Connolly
‘’Regulations need to be put in place to protect existing childcare centres from being cannibalised and put out of business.
‘’These sorts of regulations already exist for schools and aged care facilities, and they should exist for childcare centres, too.’’
Mrs Gleeson shares this view and fears for at risk areas in the Illawarra where large child care centres are popping up despite no demonstrated need.
‘’There are areas of demonstrated need but people are choosing to open new services in the areas where there has been historic oversupply,’’ she said.
‘’The effect has been very detrimental to the existing services.
‘’Having lots of services sounds like you are getting lots of choice but in effect it can see the reduction in services.
‘’The focus should be on quality education for children and options for families and oversupply is counterproductive to that.’’
Mrs Gleeson said the business-driven model was not necessarily best for small community owned preschools such as Keiraville, whose focus has always been on providing quality education for its children.
I wonder why you would locate a service of 120 children on a rooftop in Corrimal.Margaret Gleeson
‘’I wonder why you would locate a service of 120 children on a rooftop in Corrimal,’’ she said.
‘’This willy-nilly approach to putting in services wherever one chooses needs to be looked at as a matter of urgency.
‘’The government surely needs to look at where there is a need or a projected need for childcare services. If there is already existing services and no projected need, then go elsewhere.
‘’At the forefront of those decisions should be the interests of the children, families and the demonstrated need.’’