Originally published in On Line Opinion on April 27, 2006

Corporate chains – which now own around a quarter of centres in Australia – offer the lowest quality of care on all indicators surveyed, in some cases markedly lower than that provided by community-based centres. Beyond tightening up the centre accreditation processes, as announced recently, the government should consider offering capital grants to new community-based centres. Parents are more likely to enrol their children in higher quality centres, and so this measure should result in children moving from lower quality corporate centres to higher quality community-based ones, without disadvantaging independent private providers. Such action by the government would give corporate chains a strong incentive to raise their standards, as well as hamper any further expansion until they have done so.

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