Understanding What Affects Childcare Costs

Choosing the right childcare service for your family can be an already overwhelming experience, without the added stress of finding a service that suits your financial needs. By international standards, Australia has one of the highest out-of-pocket childcare costs in the world, behind the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand. While Australia’s childcare services might be considered expensive, this is usually related to industry regulation and its high level of quality. The National Quality Framework ensures properly trained staff and a good ratio of staff to children are required in every childcare service.

The cost of childcare for your family depends on several factors, including:

  • What type of childcare do you use?
  • How many children you have needing care?
  • How many days a week your child attends care?
  • Whether you can get government assistance with childcare costs or not.

Costs can vary across childcare services. For example, costs might depend on whether your childcare service:

  • charges fees for days children are away
  • charges fees on or are closed for public holidays
  • supplies things like nappies and meals

Types of Government Assistance

Child Care Subsidy

The Government Child Care Subsidy (CCS) aims to make early learning more affordable. If you’re eligible, the Australian Government pays the Child Care Subsidy directly to your approved childcare service to reduce the fees you pay.

Approved childcare services

The following types of services are approved by the Australian Government. You must use one of these types of services to get the Child Care Subsidy:

  • centre-based daycare, including long daycare and occasional daycare
  • family daycare
  • outside school hours care including vacation care
  • in-home care

The Australian Government pays different maximum hourly rates to these different types of approved services.


Who can receive the Child Care Subsidy?

You can receive the Child Care Subsidy if you are:

  • responsible for paying childcare costs for a child for whom you care for at least two nights a fortnight or 14% of the time
  • an Australian resident or your partner is (there are some exemptions)

Your child must be:

  • immunised or catching up with immunisations (there are some exemptions)
  • not attending secondary school, unless you can prove your child needs supervision

You can receive the Child Care Subsidy if you’re a parent, step-parent, foster parent, grandparent or kinship carer.

How much Child Care Subsidy can you get?

The amount of subsidy you can get depends on:

  • the type of childcare you use
  • your child’s age
  • how many children you have in care
  • your family’s income
  • the things you and your partner do while your child is in care

Are you getting the most out of the Child Care Subsidy (CSS)?

Use our FREE estimator to find out approximately how much Child Care Subsidy you can expect to receive when you enrol your children at a Little Zak’s Academy centre close to you!

Additional Child Care Subsidy

The Additional Child Care Subsidy provides extra help with childcare costs for some carers who can also get the Child Care Subsidy


You can get the Additional Child Care Subsidy if you’re a grandparent or great-grandparent with at least 65% care of your grandchildren. If you’re a step-grandparent or grandparent of adopted children, you’re also eligible. You must also be getting income support like the Age Pension.

Transitioning to work

You can get the Additional Child Care Subsidy if your family income is below a certain amount and you’re also studying, looking for a job, working or training. Under most circumstances, you must have an active job plan and be receiving government assistance.

Temporary financial hardship

If something happens in your family that makes it harder to pay childcare fees, you might be able to get the Additional Child Care Subsidy. The sorts of things that make you eligible include losing your job, having your home severely damaged or having to leave your home because of family violence.

If you’re interested in a childcare service, it’s best to contact the service directly to ask about fees. If you have any questions about costs of childcare, enrolment or our centres, please contact us.