NQF changes overview

View a summary of the NQF Review outcomes for providers and services, including those outlined in the Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (DRIS)

Acecqa – The Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority

 

NQF Review 2019 logo small kids and coloured circles around

Decisions from the 2019 NQF Review have been made following two rounds of consultation with the education and care sector, families and the broader community.

Regular reviews of the NQF ensure the regulatory system remains current, achieves its objectives and supports Australia’s approved services to provide high quality education and care to children and young people.

Summary of the NQF Review outcomes

The following tables provide a summary of the NQF Review outcomes for providers and services, including those outlined in the Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (DRIS). For more information about the DRIS and other NQF review documents click here.

For further information on the sections of the Law and regulations listed, see National Law and Regulations. Please check the legislation for commencement dates in Western Australia. 
 

View the changes and supporting resources:

 

Children's health and safety

Overview of changeKey legislationSupporting resources

Safe arrival of children

New safe arrival of children policies and procedures including risk assessment requirements.

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023



 

  • Regulation 102AAB
  • Regulation 102AAC
  • Regulation 168(2)(gb)

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Sleep and rest 

New prescribed matters in sleep and rest policies and procedures, risk assessment.

See new prohibition of bassinets requirements (regulation 84D) in the Other amendments to the National Law and Regulations outside the DRIS (as approved Education Ministers) section.
 

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023


 

  • Regulation 84A
  • Regulation 84B
  • Regulation 84C

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Sleep and rest requirements (continued)

Legislative change to require compulsory training on safe sleep practices for all FDC educators subject to governments undertaking further research, costing and impact analysis of any proposed training and implementation options.

 

 

Work on this recommendation is being undertaken by governments and ACECQA.

Children’s safety during regular transportation (centre-based services)

New staff responsibilities, record keeping and accounting for children and mandatory notifications requirements.

New transportation regulations commenced 1 March 2023

  • Regulation 102E 
  • Regulation 102F
  • Regulation 24(ha)
  • Regulation 175(2)(f) 
  • Regulation 175(2)(g)

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Multi-storey buildings

New requirements for evacuations and approvals for services in multi-storey buildings. 

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023

  • Regulation 25(1)(ba)
  • Regulation 26(1)(n)(ia)
  • Regulation 26(3)
  • Regulation 27(c)
  • Regulation 34(1)(f)(ia)
  • Regulation 97(1)(c)
  • Regulation 97(2)
  • Regulation 97(2A)
  • Regulation 97(2B)
  • Regulation 116(2)(ba)

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Multi-storey buildings (continued)

Amend service approval processes to require approved providers wishing to operate a centre-based service in a multi-storey building in Victoria or ACT to apply to the regulatory authority for pre-approval of development and building plans for the proposed premises prior to development and construction. (Victoria and ACT only)

 Work on this recommendation is being undertaken by governments and ACECQA.

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Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Overview of changeKey legislationSupporting resources

National Child Safe Principles 

New requirements under regulations 84, 149 and 168.

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023



 

  • Regulation 84(1)
  • Regulation 84(2)
  • Regulation 149(1)(b)
  • Regulation 149(1)(c)
  • Regulation 168(2)(h)
  • Regulation 168(2)(o)
  • Section 162A

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Record keeping requirements to support child protection

Changes to align with the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

 

 

No changes to the Education and Care Services National Law or the Education and Care Services National Regulations, however it is recommended that records related to child sexual abuse that has or is alleged to have occurred, be:

- kept for 45 years (including incident, injury, trauma, and illness records relating to child sexual abuse)

- clear, objective, and thorough 

- maintained in an indexed, logical, and secure manner 

- retained and disposed of in a consistent manner.

This aligns with the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

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Family Day Care (FDC)

Overview of changeKey legislationSupporting resources

FDC Register and notification requirements

This proposal aims to improve the timeliness of access to FDC register information by regulatory authorities, and to support risk-based proactive approaches to regulation.

 Work on this recommendation is being undertaken by governments and ACECQA.

FDC Register: exceptional circumstances 

New requirements for recording exceptional circumstances.

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023

 

  • Regulation 153(1)(ma)

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Swimming pools and other water hazards in FDC

New display, fencing and  monthly inspection report requirements

Jurisdiction-specific regulations apply in Tasmania and Western Australia.

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023

 

  • Regulation 116A
  • Regulation 116B
  • Regulation 116C

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Glass requirements in FDC

New 0.75 metres height requirements for safety glass. 

For services in WA, any glass surface under 1 metre must be approved safety glass or must not be accessible to children.
 

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023

 

  • Regulation 117(1)(b)

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

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Outside School Hours Care (OSHC)

Overview of changeKey legislationSupporting resources

Assessment and Rating of OSHC services

This proposal aims to ensure an appropriate assessment and rating process for OSHC services, including giving adequate consideration to the unique features of the service type and ensuring that ‘quality’ is measured in the context of an OSHC service.

 

 

Work on this recommendation is being undertaken by governments and ACECQA.

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Workforce

Overview of changeKey legislationSupporting resources

Short-term relief for early childhood educators at centre-based services

Changes to replacement of certificate III, diploma level educators, early childhood teachers and suitably qualified persons, including record keeping requirements.

Updated regulations commenced 1 July 2023

 

  • Regulation 126A
  • Regulation 135
  • Regulation 152A
  • Regulation 152B

Key guidance:

Educators who are ‘actively working towards’ a qualification

New guidance for documentary evidence.

Updated guidance commenced 1 July 2023
 

No changes to the Education and Care Services National Law or the Education and Care Services National Regulations.

Refer to regulation 10 for the meaning of 'actively working towards a qualification'.

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Minimum FDC educator qualification requirements 

New minimum qualification requirements- FDC educators must hold an approved certificate III level (or higher) qualification prior to commencing their role in a family day care service and they cannot be 'actively working towards' a qualification.  

Existing educators currently engaged at a family day care service have until 1 July 2024 to complete an approved qualification
*This does not apply in South Australia. 
 

Updated regulations commenced 1 July 2023 (Please check the legislation for the commencement date in WA)

 

  • Regulation 127

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

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Quality ratings

Overview of changeKey legislationSupporting resources

The quality ratings system 

This proposal seeks to improve families’ understanding of service quality and the quality ratings system, and support families in making informed decisions when choosing an education and care service.

 

 

Work on this recommendation is being undertaken by governments and ACECQA.

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Changes in fees within the NQF system

Overview of changeKey legislationSupporting resources

Fees: Regulatory Authority 

Increased fees for regulatory authorities, including new ‘extra-large’ category of application/annual fee and a new fee for applications for amendment to service approval.

Updated regulations commenced 1 July 2023

Part 6.3 division 3 of the National Regulations

Key guidance:

Fees: ACECQA

Increased application fees for ACECQA functions - Second Tier Review and assessment of a tertiary education provider’s course 

Updated regulations commenced 1 July 2023

Part 6.3 division 3 of the National Regulations

Key guidance:

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Oversight and governance of services and providers

Overview of changeKey legislationSupporting resources

Assessing suitability of individuals to work directly or indirectly with children

Changes to definition of persons with management or control and new requirements for FDC educator to notify approved provider.

Updates to the legislation commenced 1 July and 1 October 2023

 

  • Section 5A
  • Regulation 164(3)
  • Regulation 164(4)
  • Regulation 176A

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources

Provider approval suspension or cancellation

New grounds for suspending or cancelling a provider approval under National Law.

Updates to the Law commenced 1 July 2023

  • Section 25 
  • Section 31

Key guidance:

Service transfer 

New requirements for transferring a service to another approved provider and changes to notification timeframes to families.

Updates to the Law commence 1 October 2023

  • Section 59
  • Section 59A
  • Section 66
  • Section 67A
  • Section 69

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Maintaining current information about service delivery

New notification requirements for changes to ages of children and nature of care provided for centre-based services.

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023

  • Regulation 175(2)(ab)
  • Regulation 175(2)(ac)

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources

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Technical Amendments

Overview of changeKey legislationSupporting resources

 Commencing and ceasing regular transportation 

New mandatory notifications for centre-based services to be lodged through the NQA IT System. 

Updated regulations commenced 1 March 2023

  • Regulation 24(ha)
  • Regulation 175(2)(f) 
  • Regulation 175(2)(g)

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Implementing physical activity guidelines

No change recommended as physical activity is already covered by NQS requirements.

  

FDC display requirements

New requirements for prescribed information to be displayed in FDC residences and venues.

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023

 

  • Regulation 173A

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Tasmania specific legislation

Regulation 353 revoked. All Tasmanian services will be required to meet all NQF Physical Environment requirements.

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023

 

  • Regulation 353

 

 

Excellent rating

Expiry period for the Excellent rating is extended to five years.

Updated Law requirements commenced 1 July 2023

 

  • Section 152
  • Section 155
  • Section 158

Key guidance:

Death of an approved provider

No change recommended as there are current guidelines in place in the event of a death or incapacity of an approved provider.

  

Waivers for NQS Elements

Approved providers  can no longer apply for waivers from NQS elements, waivers from specified regulations continue to apply.

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023

  • Regulation 41
  • Regulation 42
  • Regulation 44
  • Regulation 45
  • Section 87(1A)
  • Section 94(2)

Key guidance:

Documentation requirements for children over preschool age

Program level documentation requirements for children over preschool age apply  in South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.

Updates to the regulations commenced 1 July 2023

(Education and care services located in Western Australia must check state specific regulatory references.) 

  • SA – Regulation 325B 
  • Tas – Regulation 345A 
  • Vic – Regulation 359A 
  • WA – Regulation 373A

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

FOI Act

Proposed modifications to the application of the FOI Act for the purposes of the National Law.

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023
 

  • Regulation 209 
 

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Other amendments to the National Law and Regulations outside the DRIS (as approved by Education Ministers).

Overview of changeKey legislationSupporting resources

Prohibition of bassinets  

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023.

  • Regulation 84D

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Penalty amounts 

Increased maximum penalties for offences payable under the National Quality Framework, in line with inflation by 14.9% (rounding down to the nearest $100).

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023

 

  • Throughout the legislation

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Display of ratings in FDC

New requirements for display of ratings in FDC residences and venues.

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023  

  • Regulation 173A

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

FDC coordinator to educator ratios

Clarification for calculating FDC coordinator to educator ratio requirements.

Updated regulations commenced 1 July 2023

 

  • Regulation 123A
  • Section 163(1)

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

First Aid qualifications

New first aid currency requirements for approved first aid qualifications, approved anaphylaxis management training and approved emergency asthma management training.

Updated regulations commence 1 October 2023

 

  • Regulation 136(4A)

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

FDC educator assistant

FDC educator assistants can escort (by walking) a child between the FDC residence or venue and a school; another education and care service or children’s service; or the child’s home (in addition to existing requirements)

Updates to the legislation commence 1 October 2023

 

  • Regulation 144

Key guidance:

Updated guidance and resources:

Protection of personal information
 

New requirements for releasing information requested by a parent

  • Regulation 177(4A)
  • Regulation 177(4B)
  • Regulation 177(4C)

Key guidance: 

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