What are licensing fees?
The Child Care Act 2001 specifies that fees must be paid for the following processes:
- Application for a licence
- Renewal of a licence
- Late lodgement of an application for a renewal
- Amendment of a licence
- Replacement of a licence.
The Child Care (Fees) Regulations 2013 specify the fee amounts.
These fees are paid to the Education and Care Unit by the service operator.
Licensing fees are not related to the fees paid by families to the child care service.
Why are there going to be changes to child care licensing fees?
In Tasmania, regulations cease and must be renewed every ten years. The Child Care (Fees) Regulations 2013 are due to expire in May 2023, providing opportunity for review and amendment.
The review of the regulations is considering whether the fee structure and fee amounts remain fit for purpose.
The following considerations have informed the review:
- Proportionality of the fee to the regulatory activity required of the Education and Care Unit staff to process the transaction.
- Closer alignment of fee amounts to similar fees under the National Quality Framework.
- Impact of fees on the financial viability of services.
No changes to the Child Care Act 2001 will be made during this review.
Who will the proposed changes affect?
Operators of services that are currently licensed under the Child Care Act 2001.
Potential future operators of child care services that may seek to have a service licensed under the Child Care Act 2001.
What are the proposed changes?
Most of the fee changes proposed apply to centre-based care services. There are minimal changes proposed that are applicable to approved registration bodies and home-based care.
The proposed changes are:
- Formalising the power of the ECU to waive a fee (i.e. to not charge a fee, either in part or in full on a discretionary basis, for example under exceptional circumstances).
- Removing variations in fee amount charged based on service size for processes that require a similar amount of regulatory activity regardless of service size, including:
- Amendment of a licence.
- Late lodgement of an application for renewal of a licence.
- Removing the fee charged for the replacement of a licence.
- Restructuring the service capacity categories used for the application and renewal of centre based licences. This change better reflects the current spread of service sizes.
- Increasing fee amounts charged for applications and renewals of centre based licences. This change better reflects the regulatory activity required of ECU staff to process the transaction, and aligns the fee amount more closely to similar fees imposed under the National Quality Framework.
- Other minor wording and layout changes to the regulations to improve readability and function.
Please refer to the Fee Comparison Table for detail of the current and proposed fee structure and fee amounts.
When would the proposed changes be implemented?
In order to provide services with adequate lead time to budget for any increased costs, the ECU intends to delay the effective date of some changes to the fee structure and fee amounts.
The increases in fee amounts would be waived until 1 July 2024.
Other proposed changes, including the decrease of current fee amounts and changes to service capacity categories would come into effect on the official commencement of the revised regulations, expected to be in May 2023.
The Fee Comparison Table provides further detail of expected application dates.
How can I provide feedback on the proposed changes?
Please note the public consultation described below is now closed. The ECU is conducting a review of responses received and will provide a further update on any proposed changes in due course – 27 February 2023.
The best way to provide feedback is through completing the survey. This will enable the ECU to collate the feedback in a consistent way to inform the review.
Two surveys have been developed to capture responses about the fee regulations, with some additional questions specific to the impact of service operation included in a survey intended for current operating services. The two survey links are included below.
Service operators and staff please complete this survey.
Members of the public, families using a licensed service, members of peak bodies, or service providers or other personnel from a service approved under the National Quality Framework please complete this survey.
The survey will need to be completed by 26 February 2023. Please note that each survey can only be completed once per device.
The short feedback period is due to the tight timeframes imposed by the requirement to complete all mandated legislative and administrative processes ahead of official commencement of the revised regulations expected to be in May 2023.