There are many proven benefits to enrolling a child in day care. They develop more quickly, build social skills and develop immune systems that will seem to stay healthier later in life. Of course, nothing good comes for free. So how much does childcare cost in Australia?
There are many factors to this, which we’ll explore later on in this article. And don’t forget that most parents in Australia are entitled to childcare subsidies that can bring the price down significantly.
What Determines the Cost of Childcare?
The cost of childcare in Australia is determined by a few different factors. The five most important ones tend to be:
- Services included
There may be other factors at play too, but these are the core guiding principles in most cases.
As you’ll see later in this article, the location of a childcare centre plays a huge part in its costs. The average cost of childcare in Sydney is much higher than it is in regional New South Wales, but even within Sydney there are disparities, with the cost in centres on the Northern Beaches unsurprisingly at the higher end of the scale.
Child care centres need to cover their costs if they want to survive, so the better equipped a centre is, the more expensive it will be. While it’s nice to have a smaller ratio of children to educators, that means the centre has to pay extra wages — which gets passed on to parents.
As with any business, supply and demand plays a huge factor in how much a childcare centre charges for its services. If a centre has a great reputation and a huge waiting list, it’s likely that its costs will go up. On the other hand, a quieter centre may drop its rates to entice parents to sign up.
The services offered by your child care provider has a direct impact on the costs you pay. For example, longer opening hours are great for working parents, but it also means a centre needs to pay staff to cover the extra time looking after children.
Other services like offering tech facilities, updates through apps and food all add to costs.
We all want the best for our children (and ourselves), and we love to see when a centre has extras like a wide range of craft activities, excursions, treats on special days and even on-site baristas.
But each of these things comes with a cost — whether it’s in wages, materials or insurance — that again has to be covered somehow.
Costs for Different Types of Childcare
There are several different types of childcare available in Australia. Each has its own pros and cons, and its own costs.
Whether you’ve decided if you want long day care, family day care or something else, childcare costs need to be taken into account.
These average costs are Australia-wide and before subsidies are taken into account.
Long day care (child care centre)
Child care centres are the most common type of day care in Australia, but their prices can vary a lot as the factors above suggest.
For a full day, the average cost in Australia is between $70 and $188 per day.
Pre-school care, or kindergarten, is often a stepping stone for children who are soon to be in school.
This helps prepare children for the next step in their educational journey and normally cost between $45 and $80 per day.
Family day care
Family day care facilities are similar to long day care, but with smaller and more intimate groups.
Family day care centres often charge by the hour, but for an 8-hour day you’re looking at around $60 to $135.
Outside of School Hours Care
Outside school hours care options are great for parents who struggle to make the commute from home to school and to work on time.
Because these hours are shorter than long day care you do pay less, but it’s a little more per hour. Expect to pay $15-30 for before school care and $25-$45 for after school care.
Child care costs around Australia
Child care costs in Australia are some of the highest in the world, with households spending, on average, 31% of their income on child care. The OECD average is just 11%.
Costs vary depending on where in the country you are, with different states in Australia having different average costs.
New South Wales
It may come as no surprise that Sydney is home to the most expensive child care centres in Australia.
An average cost per child is around $165, which works out to $825 for a five-day week.
Day care is cheaper elsewhere in the state, from Newcastle and Wollongong out to more remote areas.
Nearby Canberra is cheaper than Sydney, with an average of $125 per day.
Melbourne’s average day care costs are noticeable cheaper than Sydney’s, coming in at $149 per day. This equates to $745 per week.
Like in NSW, regional Victoria has lower average costs than its capital city.
Queensland ranks towards the lower end of the scale, with average day care costs in Brisbane falling around $105 a day, or $525 a week.
Tasmania is blessed with some of the cheapest child care options in Australia, with the average day costing parents $90-$95.
This is almost $80 cheaper than Sydney per day or more than $350 cheaper per week.
Northern Territory ranks second behind Tasmania for cheapest day care costs.
Parents in Darwin can expect to pay a few dollars over the $100 mark for day care, before subsidies are taken into account.
Adelaide is home to a disproportionately high number of child care centres rated as exceeding the NQS expectations and local parents don’t have to pay through the nose for this pleasure.
Average costs in Adelaide for child care is $110 per day or $550 per week.
Costs for child care in Perth are very similar to those in Melbourne, with average day care costs coming in at $148. This works out to $749=0 per child for a full week.
Child care Rebate in Australia
Parents in Australia are entitled to a rebate on their child care to help make it more affordable. This starts at a 20% subsidy rate for families with a combined annual income between $341,248 and $351,248 up to 80% subsidy to those earning up to $66,958.
There are other factors like annual caps that apply to certain earnings brackets too.
Find the right service for your family
Cost of childcare is just one of many factors that comes into play when you’re trying to find the best option for your kids, but it’s an important one.
Space helps you find suitable child care options easily. You can search by postcode and filter by fee range, rating, type of child care and more — making sure you make an informed decision on where your child takes their next steps.