Opening a new service

What you need to know about opening a new service.

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

What you need to know to open an education and care service in Australia.

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Prior to applying to become an approved Provider it is recommended you complete the National Law & Child Care Subsidy Approval Course. This course provides important information about becoming an approved Provider and your responsibilities under the National Law and Family Assistance Law. These five eLearning modules unpack how to submit your application, your responsibilities as an approved Provider and an overview of the approvals process.

For new approved provider applicants, you will need to complete 4 out of 5 modules in the National Law & Child Care Subsidy Approval Course on the ACECQA LMS to receive a completion certificate. This certificate can be submitted with your application as additional evidence. If you would like to preview the course before registering in the LMS, you can access the modules from the links below.

Applying to become an Approved Provider and opening (or adding) a service

Provider and Service approval from your state or territory government (National Law).

This approval deems you suitable to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of children. To be approved, you need to demonstrate your understanding of your obligations under the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations.

Understanding how the following rules apply in your state or territory is also important to planning a new business:

  • local government planning controls  
  • working with children or vulnerable person checks and child protection laws  
  • health department rules  
  • food safety requirements.  

Provider and Service approval from the Australian Government (Family Assistance Law).

This approval deems you suitable to administer Child Care Subsidy under the Family Assistance Law. If you are applying for the Child Care Subsidy approval, you will also need to demonstrate your understanding of your obligations under the Family Assistance Law. Most children education and care providers must be approved under the National Law to be eligible to administer the Child Care Subsidy. Click here for more information www.education.gov.au/early-childhood

For information and resources on business planning and the steps for setting up a new business, visit www.business.gov.au.  

The National Quality Framework

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:

National Law approval

Your state or territory regulatory authority will assess your application for National Law approval. 

You will need to apply for:   

  • Provider approval – to become an approved provider. Provider approval is recognised nationally and allows you to apply for service approval/s.  
  • Service approval – to operate an education and care service. Service approvals relate to the individual site/premises and the type of care provided. Click here to read more about types of care education and care service types.

Click here to find the contact details for your state or territory regulatory authority. Contact your regulatory authority | ACECQA

Child Care Subsidy (CCS) approval

The Australian Government will assess your application to administer Child Care Subsidy payments. This is known as Child Care Subsidy approval under the Family Assistance Law.

The Family Assistance Law sets out the rules you must follow if your service is approved to administer the Child Care Subsidy. These obligations are outlined in the Child Care Provider Handbook.

Visit the Early Childhood – Department of Education, Australian Government to find out more about the Child Care Subsidy and the Family Assistance Law.

The application process  

National Law and Child Care Subsidy approval applications are submitted through the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA IT System). You can apply for National Law and the Child Care Subsidy at the same time following the steps below.

1. Create a PRODA account and obtain an individual Registration Authority number

PRODA (Provider Digital Access) is an online identity verification system that strengthens the security of personal information for new Persons with Management or Control (PMC).

New PMCs will need to create a PRODA account and obtain an individual Registration Authority (RA) number if they are submitting a National Law provider approval application or an application to administer the Child Care Subsidy under the Family Assistance Law. The RA number is unique to your PRODA account.

When completing your application in the NQA ITS you will be asked to verify your identity by entering your RA number.

PRODA entry field

 

Prospective providers seeking approval to administer the Child Care Subsidy (under the Family Assistance Law) will also need to register their organisation in PRODA and add the NQA ITS and the Child Care Subsidy System as service providers before starting an application.

Access instructions on how to create a PRODA account to obtain an individual RA number or register an organisation, including the identity documents you will need to commence this process.

Please refer to the Frequently asked questions | ACECQA for more information about creating a PRODA account, RA numbers and the benefits of using PRODA to verify your identity.


2. Identifying Persons with Management or Control (PMC)

From July 2023, the National Law definition of a PMC will be similar to the definition used by the Australian Government for a PMC of a provider entity for administering the Child Care Subsidy under the Family Assistance Law.

In some cases, a provider’s PMC will be the same individuals for the National Law and for Child Care Subsidy purposes. However, in some circumstances, a person may be a PMC in relation to the Child Care Subsidy, but not a PMC under the National Law.

A PMC has legal responsibilities under the National Law and Regulations, and the Family Assistance Law for Child Care Subsidy purposes.   

For more information read the following information sheets

A new Declaration of fitness and propriety form (PA02), is available for National Law and/or Family Assistance Law to administer the Child Care Subsidy and/or the Additional Child Care Subsidy applications.


3. Submit your application in the NQA IT System   

Provider and Service applications for National Law and Family Assistance Law to administer the Child Care Subsidy are submitted through the NQA IT System.

By accessing this link https://public.nqaits.acecqa.gov.au/Pages/Landing.aspx you can login to the NQA IT System or register for an account.

If you experience technical issues email [email protected].

If you'd like to find out more about the application process or about the progress of an application already submitted contact your regulatory authority.

Next steps 

Knowledge assessment and/or interview  

Before making a determination on your application you may be asked to complete an online multiple-choice knowledge assessment and/or interview determining your understanding of the requirements under the National Law and Family Assistance Law.

  • The 75-minute National Law assessment consists of 46 multiple choice questions.
  • The 110-minute Family Assistance Law assessment consists of 25 multiple choice questions.

To prepare for a knowledge assessment, you can complete the National Law & Child Care Subsidy Approval Course designed to help you understand your responsibilities as an approved provider.  

You will need to complete 80% of the course to download a completion certificate. This certificate can be submitted with your application as additional evidence. If you would like to preview the course before registering in the LMS, you can access the modules from the links below.


National Law application assessment timeframes

The regulatory authority must:  

  • make a decision within 60 calendar days of receiving a complete provider approval application, and 90 calendar days for a service approval application  
  • give the applicant written notice of its decision and the supporting reasons, within seven (7) calendar days of making the decision.   


Child Care Subsidy application assessment timeframes

Approval for the Child Care Subsidy can only be determined after an approval under the National Law and after the Australian Government has assessed your application.

An estimated assessment timeframe cannot be given, however ensuring all mandatory information documentation is submitted with your application will assist in this process.   

Watch this 2-minute video for information about the National Law and Family Assistance Law (to administer the Child Care Subsidy) application process.

Who to contact

Family Assistance Law (FAL) Child Care Subsidy (CCS) inquiries, including

  • How to become an approved provider
  • Understanding your obligations under the FAL

FAL/CCS new and submitted applications, including inquiries about the FAL Knowledge Assessment

1300 667 276

[email protected]

www.education.gov.au/early-childhood

[email protected]

PRODA – Provider Digital Access

PRODA (Provider Digital Access) - Services Australia

PRODA Helpdesk – 1800 700 199 (option 1)

8am – 5pm

Monday to Friday

NQA ITS inquiries, including

  • Registering for the NQA ITS
  • Logging in
  • User Guides

National Quality Agenda IT System | ACECQA

Email: [email protected]

National Law new and submitted applications, including inquiries about the National Law online knowledge assessment.Contact the regulatory authority in which the application will be or has been submitted https://www.acecqa.gov.au/help/contact-your-regulatory-authority
Please read these Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Joined-up National Law and Family Assistance Law (for CCS) Provider/Service - Frequently Asked Questions