The NECS Ombudsman does not have jurisdiction to investigate:
- complaints about the level of child care fees set by individual child care services;
- childcare services debt recovery processes; or
- matters related to the Commonwealth Government’s Child Care Subsidy.
Complaints about an individual child care service’s fee policies and procedures
Under the Education and Care Services National Law approved providers of early childhood education and care services are required to have a written policy about the setting and collection of fees they charge families for using their service. Copies of all policies and procedures required by the national law must be available for inspection at all times the service is caring for children or otherwise on request.
In addition, families must be notified at least 14 days before any changes are made to the fees policy that will affect the way fees are charged or collected.
If the service does not have a written policy about fees and/or the service has not provided the required 14 days’ notice of any changes to the fees, families are able to make a complaint about this to their State or Territory Regulatory Authority. Contact details for the Regulatory Authorities are available on our Useful Links page
Fee setting is a business decision made by individual services. If families wish to challenge the fees charged by a service they should seek their own legal advice. Parents may also contact their state or territory consumer affairs or fair-trading departments.
Enquiries and complaints about the Child Care Subsidy (CCS)
The Australian Government helps families with the cost of child care through the Child Care Subsidy. Details about how to claim the CCS are available on the Services Australia website at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/online-help/centrelink/claim-child-care-subsidy.
If you have a complaint or query about your CCS payments you can contact Services Australia (Centrelink) on 136 150
If you wish to make a complaint about a Services Australia decision you should first seek a review by Services Australia itself. Details of how to make a complaint can be found on the Services Australia website at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/contact-us/complaints-and-feedback
If you remain dissatisfied with how Services Australia handled your complaint you can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman through their website at www.ombudsman.gov.au/
Important information on the impact of COVID-19 – Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE)
The DESE website at www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/childcare contains extensive, up to date information for both families and child care providers about the impacts of COVID 19 on child care provision and support. This includes information about additional allowable absence days available to families due to COVID-19 and gap fee waiving options available to services.
The DESE also provides an avenue for complaints about individual child care services. If you know a child care service is doing something illegal or fraudulent, you can report this information (anonymously if you wish). Illegal activities include:
- not complying with reporting and administration obligations
- not providing appropriate staff or conditions
- operating without proper registration
Telephone 1800 664 231 to report an issue or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The DESE also provides a Child Care Subsidy Helpdesk for child care providers to deal with queries about:
- Child Care Subsidy payments
- Additional Child Care Subsidy
- Fee reductions
- Debts or repayment arrangements
- Provider Entry Point
Telephone 1300 667 276 or email: email@example.com.