The ACT government will boost its budget for childcare services by $3.5 million in the next financial year to upgrade childcare centres and help the sector meet national regulations introduced by the federal government.
The figure is in addition to last year's injection of $60 million over four years to fund scholarships in early childhood education, upgrades and the construction of new centres in Holder and Franklin.
Community Services Minister Joy Burch said the government would spend $1.5 million in 2012-13 to upgrade the territory's childcare facilities, on top of the $9 million it committed for upgrades in 2011-12.
Ms Burch also promised $1.65 million to help the industry implement the federal government's national quality framework for early childhood education, a move that was welcomed by the sector yesterday.
A further $350,000 will be spent on a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the Civic Early Childhood Centre.
''This is no insignificant investment from this government over the last two budgets,'' Ms Burch said. In the past 12 months, the number of childcare places in the ACT has grown by 500.
Ms Burch said the same level of growth was likely over the next 12 months.
Civic Early Childhood Centre director Timothy Toogood said he hoped the feasibility study would recommend replacing the outdated centre with a larger building to cater for the demand for places.
He said the centre currently had 70 places and next year's waiting list had already reached 200 children. ''Across the whole of the ACT there's a huge demand so we would expect to increase in size'' he said.
Ms Burch also announced $1 million yesterday to upgrade community facilities in the ACT and published a new workforce strategy to help the childcare sector attract and train staff.