How much does child care cost?

How much does child care cost?

Contributed by
Roxanne Elliott


The first things most visitors to want to know is where they can find child care and how much it will cost.

The table below provides an approximate guide of current costs for child care and should be used as an indication only, as prices vary significantly.

Type of Child Care Price Range


$17-$25 per hour live in $17-$35 per hour live out (+agency fee)

Nanny sharing

$17+ per hour per family (+agency fee)

Au pair

$200-$300 pocket money per week (+agency fee)

Mother's help

$12 per hour live in $16 per hour live out (+agency fee)

Long day care (child care centre)

$70-$192 per day


$45-$80 per day

Family day care

$7.50-$16.80 per hour dependent on location and service

In-home care

$20-$25 per hour


$15-$35 per hour (+agency fee)

Outside of School Hours Care

$15-$30 per morning session
$25-$45 per afternoon session

It’s important to remember that child care costs vary from provider to provider and from state to state and they are not regulated by the Government. Most providers charge a minimum daily rate or an hourly rate. Some service fees may be inclusive of food and nappies, while others, such as family day care, require parents to provide everything.

Financial Support

It’s also useful to remember that these are the prices before Child Care Rebate and Child Care Benefit have been taken into account. These subsidies reduce the cost of care considerably and are eligible to families who meet certain residency and activity requirements. The Australian Government's Child Care Estimator can help you determine your eligibility for CCB and CCR and how much assistance you are entitled to.

Jobs for Families Childcare Package

Further changes take effect in July next year with the introduction of the Jobs for Families Childcare Package. This legislation is set to replace the CCR and the CCB with a single subsidy, which will make child care expenses lower for low and middle income families but will remove the subsidy for families earning more than $350,000 per annum. 

With the subsidy comes the introduction of hourly fee caps for early childhood education and care services:

  • Centre based long day care will have a maximum hourly fee cap of $11.55
  • Family Day care will have an hourly fee cap of $10.70
  • Outside School Hours Care will have an hourly fee cap of $10.10

Cost Widget

In addition to the table above our unique cost widget is another way to check prices for centre based care. Simply type in your postcode and the cost widget averages out the prices of providers in your area. For the exact costs of care in your area, you will need to contact the providers directly.

ABS Child Care Cost Survey

While a breakdown of the costs of every type of care in each state and territory is beyond the scope of this article, we have sourced some information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) which will hopefully give you a little more information about what prices to expect as you look for care.

Every three years the ABS conducts a nationwide Child Care Survey which presents information about the use of, and demand for, child care for children aged 0-12 years.

The last survey was completed in 2014 and the findings provide useful information on average child care costs across Australia.

It is worth pointing out that the costs reported here are the net costs to parents after the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate have been taken into account.

The ABS survey showed that in June 2014, more than 1.8 million children (48 percent) aged children aged up to 12 years usually attended some kind of early childhood education and care service.

As with previous survey years, long day care was the most commonly used type of formal care (14 per cent) and this was followed by before and/or after school care programs (8 per cent).

For the majority of children who usually attended formal care (56 per cent or 515,100), the usual net cost was less than $100 per week.

Long day care costs were typically higher than for other forms of care, with a median cost at $102 per week, see graph below.

A large majority of children (91 per cent or 1.1 million) who usually attended informal care (such as care provided by family members or friends) did so at no cost.

Children who usually attended formal care, median cost per week by type of care

Factors which increase cost

The best way to determine the cost of child care in your area is to contact a few of the child care services and chat to them directly. Think about whether you would prefer to have everything provided for your child or whether you would prefer to send your child off each day with nappies and food. This decision alone will help you determine the best type of child care for your family and will directly affect the cost.

When comparing costs it is also important to think about peripheral expenses such as the price of travelling to and from the child care service in terms of petrol, public transport and/or convenience. These factors can have a considerable effect on the total price you end up paying for your child care.

This child care article was last updated on Monday, 5 February 2018


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