Opening a new service
What you need to know about opening a new service
What you need to know to open an education and care service in Australia.
I want to learn about:
- the legislation
- the National Quality Framework
- the types of education and care services
- applying to operate a service
- who to contact
Before opening a service you must understand what regulatory and funding requirements apply.
The Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations applies to most education and care service types in Australia.
You should be aware of:
- local government planning controls
- working with children checks and child protection laws
- health department rules
- food safety requirements.
Understanding how these rules apply in your state or territory is important to planning a new business and working out the costs involved.
There are funding programs that subsidise child care fees for families using child care. Find out more about the Australian Government fee support.
The National Quality Framework is a national system which aims to raise quality and drive continuous improvement and consistency in children’s education and care services through:
- the National Law and National Regulations
- the National Quality Standard
- an assessment and quality rating process
- national approved learning frameworks
- a regulatory authority in each state and territory responsible for the approval, monitoring and quality assessment of services in their state or territory
- a national body – ACECQA, which assists governments to implement the NQF.
Most long day care, family day care and outside school hours care services are regulated under the NQF. The NQF also applies to preschools (or kindergartens), except in Western Australia and Tasmania.
If the service you are planning to operate is covered by the NQF, you will find information about applying for approval and regulatory requirements below.
Services that are not covered by the NQF may be regulated under local law. Information on seeking approval to operate one of these services is available on the website of your local regulatory authority.
To operate a service, you will need to apply for provider approval and service approval. You can apply for these online after registering an account on the NQA IT System (NQA ITS). Lodging notifications and applications through the NQA IT System offers reduced processing times.
Note that the NSW and Victorian regulatory authorities only accept applications and notifications submitted online using the NQA IT System.
Find out what we do and how we can support you.
Regulatory authorities in each jurisdiction are responsible for assessing most applications and notifications. In most cases your regulatory authority is the first point of contact.
The Australian Government Department of Education website has information about registering a childcare service for Child Care Benefit.
The Child Care Services Handbook is an operating guide for approved services that offers practical information for you to think about when opening and managing a centre, including information about the Child Care Benefit and contacts for your particular state or territory.
You may also find useful information about setting up and running a service from your local council and state or territory government agencies responsible for health and child protection.
For information and resources on business planning and the steps for setting up a new business, visit www.business.gov.au.