The City of Sydney is investing $55 million into new child care centres in Sydney, with six new centres offering 360 extra places expected to be available by 2016.
About $33 million will be spent on creating the six new centres in areas of the city where demand is greatest. A further $22 million has been allocated for the development of more centres.
The City investigated potential sites and facilities and found that we can fast-track the opening of new centres more efficiently and at a lower cost than we previously thought.
This means we can reallocate $22 million of the childcare budget into creating more than the six centres we originally committed too - this is really good news for parents who live or work in the City of Sydney area.
We know that quality childcare is essential for working parents and that more families are moving to the inner-city - it's estimated that by 2031 the number of families will increase by around 45 per cent.
Construction is already scheduled to begin mid this year on a 60-place childcare centre in Darlinghurst, with the centre due to open in early 2016 and design work has started for a new centre in Green Square.
The City has established a Childcare Steering Group to investigate City-owned properties that may be suitable for childcare facilities, in areas where the gap between supply and demand is likely to be high.
Potential sites have been tested to ensure they meet planning regulations, community needs, operational capacity and current and future childcare strategies.
The draft 2014/15 budget also includes the creation of a Child Care Centre Development Manager, to project manage and coordinate an implementation plan on how best to work with childcare providers, the crÃ¨che industry, other levels of government and interested parties to help address the existing market gap of 3,000 childcare places.
The City already provides 24 per cent of all childcare places in the inner city area, and is meeting with childcare operators to explore other ideas and opportunities to increase the supply of places.