There's been plenty of news lately about the urgent need for more child care in Sydney.
We know that there is a growing gap between the number of parents looking for child care and the number of places on offer. The result is long waiting lists and parents who are unable to re-join the workforce.
To help fill this gap, I asked the City of Sydney to fast-track $55 million in funding for six new child care centres. One year on from that commitment, I want to update you on our progress.
City staff have been working to find potential sites for new child care centres across our local government area.
Two sites - 277 Bourke Street in East Sydney, and the former South Sydney Hospital site in Green Square - have already been given in-principle support and will now proceed to the design and development application stage.
At next Monday's Council meeting we will also vote to develop plans for a child care facility in Sydney Park. We will upgrade the current Sydney CARES cycling facility and create a new purpose-built child care centre at the site so that it does not impact on the existing parkland.
These three facilities could provide space for up to 200 children by 2017, and we're continuing to investigate a number of other options for new child care centres.
Our latest Child Care Needs Analysis Study provides a detailed and up-to-date understanding of the current need for child care, population growth trends impacting on demand and the supply of new child care centres.
The number of zero to five-year-old children in the City has grown from 6,040 in 2006 to 7,348 in 2011. This is forecast to grow to 12,946 by 2031.
The City owns and leases centres providing 24% of all current available places in the City area and ensures that fees are in the low to mid-range compared to other centres.
The City is doing what it can to address this important issue but we can't do it alone, we need State and Federal Governments to play their part.