[of age] which we think is because of parental leave,” Ms Cornish said. “Once upon a time there was a big demand for the little tiny babies but we’re pleased to see that change and [parents staying home] during those crucial early months.
“The demand is up to the age of about three. But with the city starting to come alive again, with the university and Royal Hobart Hospital developments and Myer, people want to have childcare close to their workplace for convenience, in case of emergency and to participate in any activities. We talk about the economy and job losses but we haven’t felt the impact here.”
She predicted that the growth in university buildings, including the waterfront Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, the Domain and the Menzies precinct, would lead to a sharp increase in demand because of the influx of professional couples.
Ms Cornish, also president of Early Childhood Australia, said 243 families were waiting for childcare places at their centres in and around Hobart, including 128 families for next year.
Early Childhood Tasmania president Chris Symons, of Goodstart, said there had been an increase in attendance and waiting lists for certain days, while there were usually places at some times and days.
“If you’re looking at full-time, it’s certainly difficult,” Mr Symons said.
Lady Gowrie had planned a centre for childcare and extra services in West Hobart adjoining Lansdowne Crescent Primary School. It withdrew the plan after parent and resident concern.
Ms Cornish said they were investigating a range of sites and had considered Clarence and Kingborough, although Hobart was preferred. Two sites in North Hobart had excellent potential.
“Hobart City Council has been very supportive but the urgency is now,” she said.
Lady Gowrie and Goodstart are not-for-profit organisations.
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