I'm pleased to report that the City has allocated $55 million to build six new child care centres in Sydney over the next 10 years - with three set to be funded over the next four years. This is a big investment in families in Sydney.
We have more families moving to the city, more working parents looking for quality care in the city, and a growing shortage of childcare spaces.
By 2031, the city's total population is expected to increase by 35 per cent. Over the past decade the Sydney local government area has been both the fastest and largest growing area in NSW, with an increase of over 50,000 people.
Since our last childcare survey in 2005, the number of spaces has increased by about 1000, due to the expansion of our own services and by encouraging new developments to provide childcare spaces. But despite this, and the actions of the private sector, there are still large waiting lists for quality childcare in the city and the demand will continue to grow well into the future.
That's why this $55 million investment is so important. Parents need to know they can count on quality childcare near their home or work and that their children will be looked after by professional and loving staff.
We have committed to building the centres over the next 10 years and making these funds available now means we can fast track the purchase of land in step with the projected demand.
Designs are being developed, in consultation with the community, for the first of the six childcare centres, at 277 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst. This not-for-profit centre would offer more than 45 childcare spaces, including places for babies aged zero to two.
The five other childcare centres would be located in areas where demand is greatest.
The City of Sydney currently provides about 23 per cent of all childcare places within the LGA of Sydney, either through direct service provision or through subsidised leases to not-for-profit groups.
The City subsides the fees that parents pay at all its childcare centres and ensures the cost of its fees are in line with other low to medium priced centres. The City also provides further reduced rates to eligible families.