Provider obligations

Early childhood education and care providers must comply with the rules under Family Assistance Law. We regularly check providers are following the law and take compliance action when they’re not.

On this page:

If you receive the Child Care Subsidy (CCS), you must ensure you, your services, relevant staff and educators comply with their obligations under Family Assistance Law.

We may take compliance action if you fail to meet your obligations. Compliance action could include:

  • putting conditions on your approval
  • issuing an infringement
  • suspending or cancelling your approval.

The actions we take will depend on:

  • the severity of the non-compliance
  • your past behaviour or compliance history
  • your response to any earlier non-compliance action
  • overall trends of non-compliance in the sector.

Find information and resources below to help you do the right thing.

Family Assistance Law

Family Assistance Law sets the rules for administering CCS. Providers must be familiar with and comply with the law.

Child Care Provider Handbook

The Child Care Provider Handbook outlines the legal requirements and responsibilities of running a child care service.

Compliance videos

Watch a series of short videos on key compliance topics to ensure you’re doing the right thing.

Persons with management or control

Providers have specific legal obligations. These obligations are completed by certain people. We call these people ‘persons with management or control of the provider’. They are also called ‘persons with management or control’ or simply ‘PMC’.

Providers must identify their PMCs to us – it’s the law. PMCs must:

  • be included in applications for provider approval
  • notify the department when they join or leave an approved provider or service
  • be fit and proper
  • be registered in PRODA and linked to the provider
  • provide correct and up to date contact information in the Child Care Subsidy System
  • complete specific tasks.

If PMCs don’t do these things, the provider may:

  • not be approved to run a child care service
  • lose approval to run a child care service
  • receive an infringement.

PMCs must identify persons responsible for the day-to-day operation of a service. If the provider requires it they may also identify service contacts.

Learn about PMCs and their obligations

Fit and proper requirements

Certain people at a service must be considered by us to be fit and proper’ to handle public money.

Learn about fit and proper requirements

Background checks

Certain people at a service must have background checks. Providers must have evidence of these checks.

Learn about mandatory background checks

Infringements

We issue infringements to providers who do not comply with their obligations under Family Assistant Law. An infringement is a fine, much like a parking ticket.

See how and why we issue infringements

Help us keep the system fair

Send a tip-off

If you think a child care service is doing something illegal or fraudulent or is trying to get an unfair advantage, you can tell us anonymously.

Illegal activities include:

  • not complying with reporting and administration obligations
  • not providing appropriate staff or conditions
  • operating without proper registration, including the type of service provided.

Call 1800 664 231 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (AEDT) or send an email to the tip-off line at tipoffline@education.gov.au anytime.

Section 158 notice

A section 158 notice is a legal document requiring you to provide us with information.

You may get a section 158 notice if we think you have information, documents or records that will help us administer Family Assistance Law.

Learn what to do if you get a section 158 notice

Information sharing and data matching

Most providers do the right thing. There are a few who exploit government programs by claiming payments they aren’t entitled to. 

We work with other agencies, like the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and law enforcement, to deal with suspected: 

  • non-compliance 
  • collusion 
  • fraud 
  • criminal activities. 

When we collaborate with these agencies we: 

  • exchange data 
  • share intelligence and information 
  • engage in joint activities 
  • share referrals, tip-offs and compliance outcomes. 

We also participate in the ATO’s Government Payments Program. The program ensures service providers getting government payments are meeting their tax and superannuation obligations. 

Visit the ATO Government Payments Program website for details and view the data matching protocol. 

Compliance pilot project

We are stepping up our efforts to detect and prevent child care fraud. Throughout 2022, we are partnering with authorities in NSW and Victoria on a compliance pilot project.

Child Care Enforcement Action Register

The Child Care Enforcement Action Register lists services that have been penalised for breaking the law.

Child Care Financial Integrity Strategy

The Child Care Financial Integrity Strategy outlines how we make sure child care payments are properly administered. If you have questions about the strategy send an email to ccshelpdesk@education.gov.au.

Inducement and advertising at your service

From 1 January 2023 early childhood education and care providers may offer only certain types of inducements.

An inducement is an incentive offered by a provider to secure a child’s enrolment.

From January, inducements that are financial or not directly associated with the quality or provision of education or care services will not be allowed. Some examples of inducements not allowed may include:

  • cash or vouchers
  • iPads, tablets or other electronic devices
  • other gifts.

Discounted or free care is not affected by this ban and may still be offered. However, fee discounts must be reported correctly if any CCS is being claimed.

You can still advertise your service to prospective families and offer free site visits or trials periods. You may also issue marketing merchandise to the value of $30 per complying written arrangement.

By 1 January 2023, you must:

  • stop offering inducements that are not allowed
  • ensure any services or educators under your approval stop offering inducements that are not allowed
  • update your marketing material, both printed and online, to remove inducements not allowed.

The measure is part of the Government’s commitment to improving the transparency of child care fees. It supports a fairer market across the sector.

We may take action against providers that continue to offer inducements not permitted under the law. This could include:

  • putting conditions on your approval
  • issuing an infringement notice and penalty
  • suspending or cancelling your approval.

If you have questions, contact the CCS Helpdesk on 1300 667 276 or by email at tipoffline@education.gov.au.

If you think a provider is offering inducements that are not allowed after 1 January 2023, you can tell us. Call 1800 664 231 or email the tip-off line at tipoffline@education.gov.au.