Approvals for National Quality Framework services


The Chief Executive of the department is the Regulatory Authority in Queensland responsible for approving early childhood education and care providers and services under the National Quality Framework (NQF).

The following approvals are required to operate a service in Queensland under the NQF.

Provider approval

A person or entity (such as a corporation, eligible association or partnership) must first obtain a provider approval, which is ongoing and recognised nationally, before applying for service approval to operate a service.

The approved provider is legally responsible for ensuring any service they operate complies with the requirements of the NQF.

An individual (a person) applying for provider approval must satisfy the Regulatory Authority they are fit and proper to provide an education and care service.

If the applicant is not an individual, the Regulatory Authority must be satisfied as to the fitness and propriety of:

  • the applicant (e.g. board members as the controlling mind of the corporation), and
  • each person who will manage or control the service that the applicant is to operate (this may include all or some of the board and potentially other key officers of the corporation).

As part of this process, the Regulatory Authority may interview the applicant.

Read more about fitness and propriety and management capability, including persons with management or control.

Authorisation to act on behalf of approved providers

Approved providers may wish to authorise another person/s to act or communicate on their behalf with the Regulatory Authority. Read more about acting on behalf of an approved provider.

Service approval

To operate an education and care service, an approved provider must hold a service approval

Service approvals relate to the individual site/premises and the type of care provided.

The approved provider must demonstrate their capability to operate the service in compliance with the National Law and National Regulations.

As part of this process, the Regulatory Authority may interview the applicant.

The Regulatory Authority may refuse to grant a service approval if the service's proposed location or design poses an unacceptable risk to children's safety, health and wellbeing. This is regardless of whether the local council has approved the proposed site and development. 

Read more about building approval requirements.

Addendum to service approval application

To submit a service approval addendum for the rest period condition (centre-based service), download, complete and email the service approval form (PDF, 138KB) (DOCX, 44KB) to the department. This is an interim measure until Queensland-specific forms can be included on the National Quality Agenda Information Technology System (NQA ITS). Find out how to contact us via email or post.

Nominated supervisor

As part of an application for service approval, an approved provider must identify the nominated supervisor for the service and provide evidence of that person's consent to fill the role. Visit the ACECQA website to read more about nominated supervisors including their responsibilities and obligations under the National Law.


Approved providers who have exhausted all other available options and are having difficulty meeting operational requirements such as the following may apply for a waiver as a last resort:

Read more about the above types of waivers and other waivers under the NQF.

Submitting applications or information

Applications for provider or service approval, amending an approval or notifying of changes must be submitted through the NQA ITS. Note there is a PDF version of the provider approval application (PA01 form) on ACECQA’s website but the Queensland Regulatory Authority will only accept applications submitted via the NQA ITS

To use NQA ITS, the approved provider account needs to be linked to an individual who is authorised to complete the notification and other actions on behalf of the approved provider.

Please note only one person can link to the approved provider account. This person can give other users access to the account but the approved provider is legally responsible for all information and submissions on NQA ITS.

For help with this and other NQA ITS processes, read the getting started online guidance (PDF, 274KB) or a more comprehensive user guide (PDF, 12MB) on the ACECQA website.

How long does it take to assess an application?

Under the National Law, the Regulatory Authority must decide applications for:

  • provider approval within 60 days after receiving a complete application which includes all documentation and information set out in section 11 of the National Law and regulations 14-15 of the National Regulations
  • service approval within 90 days after receiving a complete application which includes all documentation and information set out in section 44 of the National Law and regulations 24-25 (for centre-based services) and regulation 26 (for family day care services) of the National Regulations.

Note if the Regulatory Authority requests more information to assess an application, applicants should provide this as soon as possible because this response time is not included in the above decision-making timeframe.

It is an offence to knowingly provide false or misleading information or documents.

Certificates are issued for provider and service approvals granted by the Regulatory Authority. Approved providers must display approval certificates at the premises.

If the application is refused, applicants will receive this decision in writing. Applicants may apply to have an internal review within 14 days of the day on which they were notified or became aware of the decision. Find out more and download the AR01 form (Application for internal review of reviewable decision) on ACECQA applications and notifications

Related information

Learn more about approval requirements for NQF services:

  • Education and Care Services National Law Act (2010) 
    • Sections 10 and 11 – Provider approval requirements
    • Sections 43 and 44 – Service approval requirements for centre-based services
    • Section 49(1)(a) – Service approval requirements for centre-based services
    • Regulations 14 and 15 – Provider approval requirements
    • Regulations 14 and 15 – Service approval requirements for centre-based services.

Read more about specific approval considerations and other regulatory requirements for different service types including:

Help and support

If you have questions about provider and service approvals, please contact us.

Last updated 19 September 2019