Australian Competition and Consumer Commission child care price inquiry

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has delivered its final report to the Australian Government from its inquiry into early childhood education and care (ECEC) prices.

On this page:

The final report

The ACCC’s final report from its inquiry into early childhood education and care pricing was released on 29 January 2024. Key findings include:

  • the Cheaper Child Care reforms cut costs for families across all care types
  • a ‘one size fits all’ government intervention is unlikely to be effective.

Key recommendations include:

  • consider and consult on changes to Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and hourly rate cap
  • ensure the information provided on better meets parents’ and guardians’ needs
  • make policy changes to support educators and teachers
  • design policy options to better meet the needs of those who use In Home Care services
  • develop alternative approaches for First Nations households to access CCS.

Read the report on the ACCC website

Read the ACCC's media release

Read the Ministerial media release


On 28 October 2022 Treasurer the Hon Dr Jim Chalmers directed the ACCC to conduct an inquiry into ECEC pricing.

The inquiry began on 1 January 2023 and ended on 31 December 2023, when the ACCC delivered its final report to the government.

About the inquiry

The scope to be examined by the ACCC inquiry included:

  • costs and availability of labour
  • finance and administrative costs
  • regulatory and compliance costs.

The ACCC was directed to consider how costs and prices differ by factors including:

  • provider type and size
  • geographic location
  • quality rating of child care services.

The ACCC carried out extensive consultation via roundtable and surveys, inviting contributions from a wide range of stakeholders including:

  • families and those who care for children
  • child care educators and workforce participants
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • people with children who experience disability or complex needs.

Inquiry process

The ACCC carried out significant information gathering activities before reporting its draft findings and recommendations.

First interim report

The ACCC published the first interim report on 5 July 2023.

The interim report provided early insight into the ACCC’s investigations into prices, affordability and the market for ECEC. It drew on:

  • department data
  • preliminary results from the ACCC’s survey of parents and guardians
  • information that providers submitted directly to the ACCC.

Second interim report

The ACCC published the second interim report on 1 October 2023. The second interim report made draft findings and recommendations about:

  • the costs of providing ECEC services
  • the nature of competition in ECEC markets
  • the profitability and viability of the sector
  • the effectiveness of Australia’s price regulations in aiding affordability of ECEC.

Submissions were published on 19 December 2023 and can be accessed on the ACCC website.