How much does child care cost?

Library Home  >  Cost of Child Care
  Published on Thursday, 02 February 2017

How much does child care cost?

Library Home  >  Cost of Child Care
  Published on Thursday, 02 February 2017
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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-$188 per day


$45-$80 per day

Family day care

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

In Home care

$30-$35 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 the Child Care Subsidy has been taken into account. This subsidy, which was introduced in July 2018 to replace the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate, reduces the cost of care to eligible families.  The Child Care Subsidy Calculator can help you determine how much support you can expect to receive and our article about the Single Child Care Subsidy is also a helpful source of information. Cost Widget

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.

How much does child care cost?

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 2017 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 were taken into account.

The ABS survey showed that in 2017, more than 1.8 million children (49 per cent) aged up to 12 years usually attended some kind of care, whether formal or informal. 

As with previous survey years, long day care was the most commonly used type of formal care and this was followed by before and/or after school care programs. Grandparents were the most popular type of informal care.

For the majority of children who usually attended formal care, the mean cost after subsidies was $110.50 per week and the mean number of hours attended was 16. 

The Department of Education also produces a regular update of child care use and costs called the Early Childhood and Child Care in Summary. The last available report from the June quarter 2017 shows the average hourly child care cost across all services was $8.90 and fees varied across service types from a low of $7.20 per hour for outside school hours care to a high of $10.25 per hour for occasional care. 

Which factors increase cost?

The best way to determine the cost of child care in your area is to contact a few 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 reviewed or updated on Thursday, 01 October 2020

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