One of the safest countries globally, Australia is a top destination to raise a family. Not to forget the vast amount of open space for kids to play, ride bikes, or run wild. Australia also boasts one of the best education systems in the world, ranking as the 9th best country in the global education rankings.
But all those perks come with a heavy price, which parents must pay as part of the childcare costs.
If you’re an expat trying to prepare a budget for raising your family in Australia, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading as we break down all the details and costs behind accessing childcare in Australia.
Childcare In Australia
Childcare in Australia includes a wide variety of options. From long-day care and outside-of-school hours care to family daycare and preschool, there are plenty of options for your needs.
On average, childcare and education in Australia can cost parents up to $6,572 per year. But many factors affect this cost. Depending on the number of hours you’re accessing childcare for and the type of options you select, you can expect a bill of a few hundred dollars or over 1,000 dollars per month.
Another major factor that will affect your total childcare bill is your location. Expect major cities like Sydney and Melbourne to be more expensive on all counts for childcare than cities like Adelaide or Hobart.
While there is a list of government subsidies and programs to help reduce the cost burden of childcare, you need to be eligible to access them. We cover all that and more in detail below.
Childcare Costs In Australia
Here are all the different types of childcare costs you can avail of in Australia and how much they’ll cost you.
Long-day care is a form of childcare that extends for up to 10 hours a day. It typically runs from Monday to Friday and is for kids up to 5 years old. These programs run all throughout the year and can cater to many kids, too.
Long-day care is strictly regulated and run by qualified staff; it can be private or community-based. It typically costs anywhere between $70 to $190 per day.
Pre-schooling, also known as kindergarten, is considered a very common form of early childhood education in Australia. It is aimed at children between 3 and 5 years old and is available as a standalone service or a part of a long-day or family day care program.
Preschools can cost between $45 and $80 per day. While most kids in Australia will attend preschool before starting primary school, the program is compulsory in Western Australia.
Family Day Care
Family day care is an approved form of childcare program provided by an educator in their home. It has a limit of 4 children and is only for children under school age.
Family daycare provides the kids a home-like environment where they can learn and play in small groups. Despite the informal structure, family daycare is highly regulated.
Family daycare can cost parents anywhere between $7 and $17 per hour. The charges are levied on an hourly basis and can also change based on additions like transport, meal, non-standard hours, etc.
Outside School Hours Care
Outside school hours care is for school-going kids and can include vacation care, before-school care, or after-school care. Morning sessions or before-school care fees can cost $15 to $30 per session, while after-school sessions can cost between $25 and $45 per session.
Business-related crèches are a type of informal childcare service that parents can access in business spaces such as shopping centres or gyms. These aren’t regulated or centre-based, so you’ll have to check their features yourself.
They typically charge you an additional fee built into your subscription, but you can also pay a separate fee. The fee can vary based on the type of service, but it should be between $6 per hour to $190 per day.
Nannies and Au Pairs
Nannies and Au Pairs are types of in-home childcare services that you can access within your home. The range of services you get under these programs can vary widely, and so can the hours. They’re more flexible than other childcare options, so the costs can vary as well.
Hiring a nanny can cost parents $30 to $55 per hour, plus an additional agency fee. On the other hand, au pairs will cost parents a national minimum wage, which is around $18 per hour. However, there will be additional costs for boarding and agency fees for au pairs too.
You can hire these types of services with the help of specialized employment agencies. However, if you’re trying to access government childcare rebates, make sure you hire registered care providers.
Playgroups are optional childcare sessions where kids indulge in a variety of activities along with their parents, grandparents, or caregivers. It can involve art or craft activities, outdoor play, outings, or music and singing sessions.
The parents or caregivers organise it, which is considered a type of local, community-based activity. While most playgroups won’t cost you anything, they can sometimes involve a small fee of between $5 and $10 based on the activity.
Occasional care is a temporary childcare solution for those who only need childcare services at certain intervals or once in a while. It is available for children from birth up to 5 years old and can include a wide variety of services or activities.
Occasional care costs can vary based on whom you’re hiring, hourly rates, caretaker qualifications, etc. An informal babysitter service can cost you $12 to $25 an hour, while a formal agency-based one will cost you between $25 and $35.
Childcare subsidy (CCS) is a program designed to help parents in Australia access childcare facilities. It is accessible to eligible families and based on the combined family income. The subsidies given under the program can range from 0 to 90% depending on the combined family income.
Some of the criteria to avail of this subsidy are as follows,
- Residency requirements
- Children under 13 years old
- Family income test
- Immunization requirements
In addition, the subsidy is only accessible for certain types of childcare programs.
These subsidies are typically paid to the daycare provider and passed off to the parents as low childcare costs. In other cases, parents may have to pay the daycare bill and wait for the rates to get the subsidies. It suffices to say the CCS can be a huge relief for your budget, depending on how well you fit the requirements.
Australia also provides another type of subsidy, the Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS), which helps support parents with a child who has a disability or has additional needs.
To Sum It Up
Accessing childcare services in Australia can be an expensive affair. Thankfully, it’s a highly-regulated childcare system with plenty of options of services and programs.
Whether you’re planning to run a work-from-home business or need to set hours aside for work and other commitments, ensuring your kids have the best care takes priority.
While there’s no shortcut to finding the right childcare solution for your child, calculating the cost associated is easy.