The Total Cost of Childcare for 2023

A child developing sensory activities at early learning.

Childcare is a significant expense that gets parents wondering—is it worth it? On average in Victoria, sessional kindergarten sessions charge between $50-$85 per day and long day care services charge between $100-$188 per day. The Government provide a childcare subsidy with the intention that all children have access to early learning and that more parents have the option to work. The total cost of childcare will depend on several family factors. When deciding whether childcare is worth it for your family, you should consider the costs to your family as well as the benefits for your child. In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of childcare, how you can calculate your total cost of childcare, and the most recent childcare subsidy updates.

The Benefits of childcare

When children reach the ages of 3-5 years of age they can attend kindergarten at childcare in preparation for school. Before these ages, parents enrol their children in childcare for a variety of reasons such as allowing them to work or for the educational and socialisation value for the child. The benefits of childcare include:

  • Social Development;
  • Communication skills development;
  • Cognitive and motor functioning development;
  • Positive well-being practices;
  • Creative development.

What is the total cost of childcare?

The total cost of childcare depends on your location, the type of care you require for your child, the services provided and what’s included in the services and standard of care you expect.

Childcare Subsidy

The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is a Government initiative available for families to assist with the cost of childcare, should you choose to send your child to an approved service provider.

All families are encouraged to apply for the subsidy but you’ll need to meet some requirements:

  • You or your partner provide care for your child for at least two nights per fortnight (14%);
  • Are liable for childcare fees;
  • Are an Australian citizen or permanent resident;
  • Your child is up to date with immunisations.

How much can I get in childcare subsidies?

The amount of CSS you receive is based on a range of situational and lifestyle factors. These can include the type of childcare, the number of children you have, family activity and combined family income.

The childcare service you choose and the childcare subsidy

There is a different hourly subsidy cap for the different types of childcare services offered and what you pay in fees. For centre-based childcare services such as long day care, sessional kindergarten and occasional care the hourly rate cap is $13.73 which you can be subsidised for.

The number of children you have under 5 in approved childcare and the childcare subsidy

If you have more than one child aged 5 or younger in care, you may get a higher CSS.

Fortnightly family activities and the childcare subsidy

The childcare subsidy takes into account the amount of recognised activity that you and your partner undertake to determine your CSS percentage. This activity might include working, studying, volunteering or travel time to and from work.

Your family’s combined income and the childcare subsidy

Your family’s combined income determines your subsidy amount for childcare services.

Your family income  CSS percentage
$0 to $80,000 90%
More than $80,000  Between 50% and 90%. The percentage goes down by 1% for every $5,000 of additional income your family earns above $80,000.
More than $530,000 0%


  • Families earning below $362,408 with more than one child aged 5 or under in care can get a higher rate for one or more of their children.
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children can get at least 36 subsidised hours of early childhood education and care per fortnight, regardless of their family’s activity level.

Source: Australian Government, Services Australia 

You can calculate your childcare subsidy and know what your family might pay for early childhood education and care.

The Childcare Subsidy is increasing from 10 July

From July 10, 2023, the Child Care Subsidy is increasing. This means that more families whose combined income has been too high will be able to access it. The income limit for CCS is increasing from $356,756 to $530,000. For families earning up to $80,000, the maximum amount of CCS is increasing from 85% to 90%. Most families using early childhood education and care will get more CCS. Learn more about these updates.

Is childcare worth it?

You need to weigh up the cost and benefits for your family. Will childcare provide the care that you expect, will your child benefit from the socialisation and learning? Are they at an age where they should be preparing for school? How much subsidy are you entitled to and is the cost affordable for your family?

At Child’s Play ELC, we try to make our costs affordable for our families whilst not sacrificing the needed income to maintain our high-quality childcare standards. Our childcare facilities are located in Torquay, Tarneit, Tarneit West, and soon, Wyndham Vale. Come and visit a Child’s Play early learning centre and experience our early learning for yourself. You can register your interest here.