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Deserts and oases: how accessible is childcare in Australia?

Early childhood development Early childhood services Child care Australia

Access to quality childcare is increasingly critical to Australian children, families and the economy. There are many anecdotal reports of families having difficulty finding appropriate childcare services, especially in regional Australia and some parts of our major cities. However, there is a lack of evidence exploring the nature and extent of the problem.

This report aims to help to fill this evidence gap by examining access to childcare in Australia. In this report, the researchers are focussing on one type of childcare - centre-based day care, which is subsidised by the Commonwealth Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and is the service most used by children and families.

The researchers measured the supply of childcare in almost every part of the country and compared this to the potential demand – the number of children who living in each neighbourhoods. We used spatial measurement techniques that enabled us to determine the relative accessibility of childcare in Australia and to determine where there are childcare deserts and oases.

The analysis shows that where you live matters. Families in regional areas are the most at risk of suffering from poor access. There are also concerning correlations between access to childcare and socio-economic status. The analysis also highlights that Australia needs new policy approaches to ensure that all Australian families can access the benefits of high quality childcare.

Related Information

Deserts and oases - interactive maps https://www.vu.edu.au/mitchell-institute/education/early-learning/childcare-des…

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