Child care centres may be built in more areas to address shortages and meet projected demand for 2700 more long day care centres by 2036.
Under the current system, centres are prohibited in light industrial zones in two-thirds of NSW, some councils restrict centres in residential zones and developers face delays of between 204 and 265 business days.
Among the proposed planning reforms:
- child care will be permitted in low density residential and light industrial zones
- rules that have limited new child care ventures in some councils will be abolished, including caps on children per centre, age ratios and anti-clustering policies preventing new services close to each other
- school-based child care will be assessed as exempt or complying development, slashing approval times
- all centre-based child care development proposals will be assessed using a single set of controls and guidelines
- guidance will be provided upfront to assist developers and service providers to deliver high quality and safe child care facilities
- the National Quality Framework for planning and building early childhood education centres will be aligned with NSW planning controls
- temporary use of land provisions will allow for temporary relocation of child care services in emergencies such as floods or fires.
- Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the NSW Government has worked closely with childcare industry stakeholders over the last 12 months.
“The proposed changes will streamline planning approvals for child care services to increase the supply of facilities and support families who are struggling to access quality care,” Mr Stokes said.
The proposed reforms also encourage greater workforce participation, provide greater certainty of places and save the child care industry time and money.
An upcoming public consultation will allow councils, industry and the community to have their say on the details of these reforms.