Staff shortages are forcing council-run childcare centres to limit their numbers because they don't have the employees they need to operate at capacity.
A Warrnambool City Council spokesman said the capacity of its three childcare centres was based around staffing availability.
He said while it could increase the number of places in 2023 and had the physical capacity to take on more children, it was unable to due to staff shortages.
There are about 280 children on the waiting list across council's three centres which offer childcare and family day care.
He said the wait list had reduced from 2022 and families wanted part-time, full-time or after-hours care.
"There is currently a waiting list at services due to these workforce shortages in our childcare centres but also due to increased demand for childcare," the spokesman said. "Other services across the city are facing similar issues. Services across Victoria and nationally are experiencing the same challenge."
He said council was looking to employ more qualified staff and seeking to address workforce shortages.
It comes after a privately-run Warrnambool centre locked its doors on families this month because it had reached capacity.
Parents were told Koala Childcare and Early Learning Centre may need to pause enrollment for some children of non-working families until they were able to recruit more educators.
Moyne Shire community and corporate services director David Rae said it too was experiencing increased demand for childcare and kindergarten and had a "significant number" of families on its waiting list.
Mr Rae said some factors included the introduction of a second year of kindergarten and the Victorian government's free kinder.
"Like other public and private providers across the state, Moyne continues to be impacted by workforce pressures due to staff shortages," he said. "We are continuing to work towards addressing these workforce issues with several initiatives in place, including our traineeship program and other professional development programs.
"We understand how important these services are to families in the region and we encourage parents and carers who are looking for care in the near future to get in touch with our early years team to discuss their individual circumstances."
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