Access to affordable and high-quality childcare is one of the key components to the ‘liveability’ of a regional town or city - according to the Regional Australia Institute (RAI).
Regional stakeholders in the Maranoa and Western Downs areas will soon get their chance to have a say on the access, availability and affordability of childcare in their regions, with a new study to kick off this month.
Funded by Origin Energy, RAI CEO Liz Ritchie says the independent study will take stock of what is on offer and the needs of the local workforce in these regions.
“Recent feedback received by Origin Energy from employees and community members has identified that availability, accessibility, and affordability of childcare in the Maranoa and Western Downs regions is a concern for many,” Ms Ritchie said.
“As a working mum, I know how important childcare is to all parents. We know that access to childcare in many regional areas is difficult,” RAI CEO, Liz Ritchie said.
“More than 3.7 million regional Australians live in a ‘child-care desert’, and we know at the RAI that this is impeding growth in many towns and cities,” Ms Ritchie said.
“More than 25,000 jobs were advertised in regional Queensland in July, as reported in our Job Vacancy Index. To fill those roles, the availability of affordable childcare can be a key factor if regional towns want to attract newcomers,” Ms Ritchie said.
The study will take place from September through to December 2022. It will investigate current childcare options and develop a range of recommendations to support sustainable, high-quality childcare for local residents and people moving into the regions in the future.
The RAI will undertake consultation with a wide range of community stakeholders across both the larger centres and smaller towns in the Maranoa and Western Downs Local Government Areas (LGAs).
The study will include a survey and interviews in September, with group forums to be held from 3-17 October across the Maranoa and Western Downs.
The completed report will be shared with local councils and businesses to disseminate to community for further collaboration and discussion, with the aim of identifying long-term solutions to this critical issue.
More information on forum times and locations will be on the RAI website shortly - www.regionalaustralia.org.au.
For media enquiries contact:
Regional Australia Institute
0409 652 465