New inner-city childcare centres will meet demand

Four new childcare centres built by the City of Sydney will soon open their doors, creating 294 much-needed places to help meet the demand of inner-city families.

The new centres are in Alexandria, Darlinghurst, Annandale and Green Square and construction is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said with more families choosing to live in the inner city, the City was committed to supporting them by meeting current and future demand for child care.

“We are using every lever at our disposal to meet the demand for childcare in our city, from planning approvals through to our own construction budgets,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We introduced a Childcare Development Control Plan, which encourages all developments over a certain size to provide space for a childcare centre. Our planning staff have also negotiated new childcare centres through voluntary planning agreements.

“We’ve also been building our own centres, with construction of four new centres in Alexandria, East Sydney, Annandale and Green Square due for completion by the end of this year.

“Since June 2013, this work has resulted in a net increase of 967 new operating places and more than 2,500 places in the development pipeline. Overall it’s an increase of more than 3,500 places, which means we will meet the demand for new spaces – making the City of Sydney one of the few governments in Australia to prioritise and meet this important need.”

The City’s 2013 childcare needs study identified a shortfall of 3,100 places that year estimated to climb to a 3,400-place gap by 2016 if action was not taken.

In response, the City committed $56.1 million for the development of new centres, with excess funds set aside for future spaces.

The centres are located at Bourke Street, Darlinghurst (60 places); Huntley Street, Alexandria (80 places); The Crescent, Annandale (80 places); and the former South Sydney Hospital site at Green Square (74 places).

Childcare - Green Square - Fox Johnston Architects

A proposed childcare centre at Sydney Park cannot go ahead because of landfill excavation concerns. City staff are now investigating childcare in or near the Ashmore Estate. A skate park is being considered for the Sydney Park site.

One of the new child care providers will be Goodstart Early Learning, one of Australia’s largest early learning providers and not-for-profit social enterprise that provides high quality early education and care for over 71,000 children across Australia.

Goodstart will provide priority access to children with additional support needs, children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and children who speak a language at home other than English.

The centres will also provide affordable places to children from low-income families, and maintain a minimum number of childcare places for the 0–2 year age group and maximum staffing levels to allow for full uptake of places.

The Lord Mayor said the centres would provide quality education for children and support for working parents.

“These much-needed spaces will allow parents and carers to continue working or to take up further study,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Children who attend our centres will have access to an educational program that will develop their skills and knowledge, and help them reach their full potential.”

The City is also looking at creating additional outside school hours care places at the Joseph Sargeant Centre in Erskineville. This would provide up to 60 new OSHC places.

The City has a long-term commitment to child care, directly operating one long day care centre, one occasional care centre, two pre-schools and six out-of-school-hours care programs. The City also leases a further 17 centres to not-for-profit and commercial child care operators. By 2018, the City will own and either operate or lease 25 childcare facilities and seven out of school hours care facilities.

Parents and carers wanting to place their names on waiting lists for the centres should