What is The Cost of Child Care in NSW?
Choosing the right childcare service for your child can be overwhelming enough, without the added stress of finding a service that suits your financial needs. The cost of childcare in NSW is dependent on several factors such as location, type of service, hourly or daily rates, and frequency of attendance.
Additionally, the Australian Government implemented a new childcare system in July 2018,
replacing Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate. The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is now in place to help you pay for early childhood education and care.
Before deciding which childcare options are best for your child, you should first check your CCS
eligibility and the amount you can potentially claim. Understanding how CCS can help gives you the
most accurate insight into which services your budget will allow, providing a broader range of
options for your child. We explain how CCS works and outline the average childcare costs in Sydney
to help guide your search for the right service.
Understanding Child Care Subsidy (CCS)
Before you apply for CCS, you need to make sure you/your partner and your child meet the eligibility
criteria. To determine your eligibility for the CCS, you must fulfil the following basic requirements:
- Your child is aged 13 or younger and does not attend secondary school (unless they meet
other criteria, such as having a disability or medical requirement).
- You have primary care of your child for at least two nights per fortnight or have at least 14%
of the care for your child.
- Your child is up-to-date with immunisations.
- You or your partner live in Australia as either an Australian citizen or hold an appropriate
If you have satisfied the basic requirements, the amount you are eligible for is then determined by
The amount your family earns establishes your CCS percentage entitlement, depending on your
income bracket. There are six brackets, ranging from 0% for the highest earners to a maximum of
85% for the lowest income bracket. You can also use the use Centrelink’s Payment and Service
Finder to estimate your CCS entitlements or find a child care subsidy calculator online.
The hourly rate cap is the amount you can potentially claim per hour for childcare services. As there is no regulation regarding fees, hourly/daily rates for childcare vary between services and the Government cap the amount you can claim per hour based on the type of service you choose. The rate cap is in place to help you determine whether the Government consider a service’s fees as relatively ‘high’, ‘low’, or ‘average’. They do so to give you more flexibility to choose how much you are willing to pay out of pocket and shortlist your options accordingly.
The hourly rate cap for CCS is dependent on the type of childcare service – Centre Based Day Care, Outside School Hours Care, Family Day Care, or In-Home Care. For Centre Based Day Care centres like Reggio Academy, the hourly rate cap is currently $12.20 for children below school age.
The Government assess the number of hours you/your partner spend on ‘recognised activities’ (e.g.
paid and unpaid work, studying, looking for a job, volunteering) to determine your fortnightly CCS.
You can claim between 24-100 hours per fortnight, depending on your level of activity and family
What is the Average Monthly Fee for Childcare in NSW?
The cost of childcare varies regionally in NSW but using the monthly state average costs can give you
a rough baseline for reference across services. The average monthly childcare fees in NSW (by
service type)* are listed below:
- Centre Based Day Care: $1,296.40
- Family Day Care: $1,036.30
- Outside School Hours Care: $393.68
Source: Department of Education, Skills and Employment – Child Care in Australia report March quarter 2020.
*Monthly averages were calculated using the formula: Average hourly fee x Average weekly hours x 4.
- Check that you/your partner and your child meet the Government’s basic requirements for
- Estimate your CCS entitlements using the Payment and Service Finder or find a child care
subsidy calculator online.
- Use the average monthly costs in NSW as a rough baseline for fees.
- Research the costs and offerings of several services in your area to ensure you can enrol
your child with confidence.
- Remember that early childhood education and care is a crucial stage of your child’s life,
helping to develop the vital social, physical, and intellectual skills needed for their eventual
transition to primary school and beyond.
Interested in learning more about Reggio Academy’s fees? Contact us today.