PARTS of central Victoria are some of the worst hit in the country by childcare shortages, according to a new report.
The Mitchell Institute at Victoria University report found 40 per cent of people in regional NSW were living in a "childcare desert", which is an area where more than three kids are vying for one place in centre-based day care services.
Using population figures gathered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics during the 2016 census, the report found the Loddon-Elmore region had a staggering 34 kids per vacant place in childcare.
The Creswick-Daylesford-Ballan region was the next worst hit with 6.2 kids per vacancy, followed by Maryborough-Pyrenees with 4.5 kids per vacancy and Heathcote-Castlemaine-Kyneton with 4.4 kids per vacancy.
The study's lead author Peter Hurley said limited or no access to childcare could have long-term impacts on a child's development.
"There is a huge body of evidence showing the positive long-term impacts produced by high-quality early learning in setting children up for success as they transition to school, with the benefits continuing throughout their life," Dr Hurley said.
To help ease the burden on families, the federal government introduced the childcare subsidy in 2018 and has plans to invest $11 billion into the sector during 2022-23, including reducing the cost for families with more than one child aged under five in care.
Acting Federal Education and Youth Minister Stuart Robert said the government was also investigating ways to help make childcare more accessible in the future.
"To support thin markets, especially in regional and remote Australia, we are already investing $432.5 million over the next four years through the Community Child Care Fund," Mr Robert said.
"In 2022-23, there are 824 services; 403 are in regional and remote Australia, receiving 65pc of CCCF funding.
"The government is also investing in a market strategy to be delivered by September."
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