Parents hoping to re-enter the workforce are set to be big winners with at least three new childcare centres opening in Bendigo.
The private facilities will provide the city and its surrounds with hundreds of extra places for children aged between zero and six years.
A new childcare centre in Kangaroo Flat opened on Monday and construction is underway on facilities at Jackass Flat and Epsom.
What’s more, the Victorian government is funding a $650,000 kindergarten in Strathfieldsaye,
Private service providers said they were encouraged to open in Bendigo due to the projected population growth in some of Bendigo’s boom suburbs.
Country Kids Early Learning owner Tania Avtarovski, who owns an established centre in Macedon, this week opened a facility in Kangaroo Flat that had closed several years ago.
She said the decision to take over the site was driven by a strong demand for childcare places among Kangaroo Flat residents.
“We’ve been getting a lot of inquiries and a lot of enrolments … There’s been a lot of people asking ‘is it opening? Isn’t it opening? It is’,” Ms Avtarovski said.
“We find that the cost of living, even in places like Macedon, is going up. And people are going back to work earlier.”
Existing childcare providers across the city are also reporting healthy enrolment numbers.
The Loddon Mallee Preschool Association’s Phil Hocking said his group, which oversees 24 services across the region had higher enrolments than in the past.
“I think this year our preschools are pretty much all full,” Mr Hocking said.
The association delivers delivers 24 services across the Loddon Campaspe region, including kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs.
City of Greater Bendigo community services manager Caroline Grylls said Bendigo’s population was predicted to reach 156,000 by 2036.
She said a report to be presented to council found 400 more childcare places and 400 more pre-school places would be needed.