Understanding the Child Care Subsidy

Understanding the Child Care Subsidy

Breaking down the child care costs in Australia can feel confusing for families, especially when there is a multitude of services, costs, hourly rate caps and subsidy amounts to consider!

The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) doesn't have to be complicated.

It's easier to consider each component with your family’s requirements in mind. Below, we take a look at the average costs of childcare, as well as what the Child Care Subsidy is and how much rebate you can expect to receive.

How Much Does Child Care Cost per Week?

With so many child care options and services available in Australia, it’s difficult to identify the average cost of child care day fees per week. For example, one child may be in long day care (also known as centre-based care) five days a week, whereas another child may be in family day care three days a week. Your location should also be taken into account as a child care service on Sydney’s north shore will usually cost more than a service in greater Brisbane due to the real estate market. With these variable factors, the overall cost will inevitably vary.

However, the Early Childhood and Child Care Summary July 2018 Report provides you with a medium-cost summary of popular child care services, which means we can look at the average rate per hour.

In the table below, find your preferred child care service, take note of the average rate per hour and multiply this with your expected amount of weekly hours. It’s a rough estimate but it’s helpful to know when planning your child care finances.

Child Care Service
Average Rate Per Hour
Long Day Care
Family Day Care
Casual Care

What Is Child Care Benefit?

Previously known as the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the Child Care Rebate (CCR), the Australian Government significantly changed the early childhood and child care system back in 2018.

Today, the Government can financially assist families with their child care fees through the Child Care Subsidy (CSS).

What Does CCS Do?

The Child Care Subsidy (CSS) is a regular payment designed to help with the costs of child care. The subsidy is designed to be simpler than the previous multi-payment system, make child care affordable for more families and to better target low and middle-income families.

To be eligible to receive the Child Care Subsidy for your child, some basic requirements must be satisfied first.

  • Your child must be aged 13 or under and not attending secondary school. Certain circumstances may be exempt such as children with a disability or medical condition.

  • Your child must meet the immunisation requirements.

  • You or your partner must live in Australia and meet the residency rules.

  • The service must be an approved child care provider.

  • The service must not be part of a compulsory education program.

At Lifelong Learning Centres, the CSS is paid directly to our child care centres which reduce your out of pocket fees.

How Much Child Care Rebate Will I Get?

The Child Care Subsidy (CSS) is a single, means-tested contribution. Each family’s financial and lifestyle circumstances are taken into account to correctly calculate your subsidised amount which can potentially pay up to 85% of your child care fees for up to 100 hours per fortnight.

The amount of Child Care Subsidy your family are entitled to depend on three key requirements:

  1. Your combined family income: This decides what percentage of the hourly fee you’ll be subsidised.

  2. The activity level of both parents over a fortnight: This decides how many hours you can be subsidised for over a fortnight. Recognised activities include work, education, training courses and volunteering. Essentially, the more hours of activity parents do, the more subsidised hours they can access.

  3. The child care centre fees you pay: What type of child care service do you want to use? This is important as the hourly rate cap for that service is also taken into account.

Don’t worry about working our your child care subsidy rate alone though as there is a useful Child Care Calculator to help you estimate a total based on your lifestyle and child care arrangements.

The easiest way to apply for the Child Care Subsidy is online. You will need a myGov account linked to Centrelink.

If you would like to speak to a Lifelong Learning representative about the CCS or your child care options, please call 1800 CHILD CARE and one of our Family Support Consultants will be glad to help you. All Lifelong Learning Centres are Child Care Subsidy approved.

Find out more about Lifelong Learning Centres