It may come as a pleasant surprise that childcare in Australia is state-subsidised. This year the Australian government introduced an unpaid paternity leave for fathers or second partners in same sex couples, this is in addition to the 18 weeks of paid maternity leave for mothers. There are around 6,000 “long day” and numerous “half day” care centres around the country that provide a high level of care and education. As advised in our article on Preparation to Migrate to Australia it is recommended to register your children in a new school or a childcare centre about 2 months before you move.
Finding a Childcare Centre
There is a number of different types of child care centres across the country. You can choose between long day care, family day care (where a child is often looked after in a carer’s home), outside school hours care (before and after school and vacation), occasional care and ‘in home’ care. Whatever type of child care services you need, and regardless of whether it is a private or government operated centre, they all need Government accreditation to operate. Before enrolling your child you can check the status of any childcare centre through National Childcare Accreditation Council.
Childcare Financial Assistance
In order to help families access the day care they need the Australian Government provide financial assistance through Child Care Rebate and Benefits.
Child Care Benefits are income tested and usually paid directly to the child care provider. Child Care Rebate is not income tested, so you may be eligible to receive it even if you don’t qualify for Child Care Benefits. Child Care Rebate pays up to 50 per cent of your expenses for child care up to an annual cap of $7,500 per child. The amount of annual cap is subject to change ahead of every academic year. Visit Department of Human Services to check your eligibility for Child Care Rebate or Child Care Benefits.
Among other factors you or your partner must meet residency requirements or have an exemption. It means that you must live in Australia as either an Australian citizen, New Zealand citizen who meets certain extra requirements or a holder of a permanent resident visa, for example Skilled Migration visa subclasses 189 or 190.
1. To find out more information about child care visit a Family Assistance Office located within a Medicare office or check out Family Assistance Office website.
2. To find approved child care services in your area by the type of care (long, occasional, after school etc.), location (town, postcode etc) or name of the centre visit the Government run website My Child.
3. The Child Care Access Hotline provides information to help you choose a child care service that meets your needs and provides information on possible child care vacancies in local areas.
4. The Child Care Benefit provides a description of the eligibility requirements, methods of claiming benefits and much more.
5. Child Care Rebate
6. Information for families using child care – Fact sheet kit
Using the information and the links provided you can find the best child care services available, find out if you qualify for any of the Government schemes to reduce child care costs and establish the accreditation status of the child care centre near you. You can expect accredited child care centres in Australia to provide a high level of care, education and entertainment. It is worth remembering that the availability of a child care centre near you, especially in remote areas, as they can be as important as employment opportunities and deciding where to settle.