Childcare the centre of attention

Census figures released for Orange earlier this year pointed to a boom of children - with the under fours making up 8 per cent of the population.

So it will come as no surprise the huge demand for childcare in Orange has sparked interest from developers of at least two new childcare centres.

While the centre earmarked for the corner of Dalton and McLachlan streets could still be a while away, in Orange's north a new centre could be up and running as early as Easter next year to ease the burden for families struggling to find care.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics census data showed that the number of children under four in Orange had increased 22 per cent in the past five years to 3049 from 2500 in 2006.

To put it in national perspective, under fours account for 8 per cent of Orange's population compared to just 6.6 per cent of the rest of the country.

The news of the two centres will no doubt be welcomed by many parents who have been waiting years to secure a spot in care for their child.

But finding a space in a childcare centre is only half the battle.

Once enrolment is confirmed most families are left wondering how they will pay the expensive fees that can be almost $100 per day.

Many parents are left scratching their heads about whether it is worth going back to work at all when they find themselves back in the workforce just so they can afford to pay the high fees.

Although some families are able to take advantage of federal government childcare subsidies, if incomes change through the year some parents can be left with a hefty tax bill.

For childcare operators, strict rules on child-to-carer ratios make it difficult to keep businesses sustainable without increasing fees to pay for extra workers.


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