To operate a service you must apply for provider approval and service approval. Applications must be submitted online via the National Quality Agenda (NQA) IT System. Please refer to the ACECQA website for more information on
registering an account on the NQA IT System.
An applicant for provider approval must satisfy the Regulatory Authority that they are a fit and proper person to be involved in the provision of an education and care service.
Under section 12 of the National Law:
- An applicant who is an individual must satisfy the Regulatory Authority that the applicant is a fit and proper person to be involved in the provision of an education and care service.
- If the applicant is not an individual, the applicant must satisfy the Regulatory Authority that:
- each person who will be a person with management or control of an education and care service to be operated by the applicant is a fit and proper person to be involved in the provision of an education and care service, and
- the applicant is a fit and proper person to be involved in the provision of an education and care service.
In the case of (2), therefore, the Regulatory Authority must be satisfied that each person with management or control of the service to be operated by the applicant is fit and proper, and the non-individual applicant (corporation, eligible association, partnership) itself is fit and proper.
In the case of a corporation, for example, this would involve consideration of the fitness and propriety of:
- persons with management or control – which may include some or all of the board, and potentially other key officers of the corporation
- board members – as the controlling mind of the corporation.
The Regulatory Authority may invite the applicant to participate in an interview with Regulatory Authority officers as part of this process. If granted, provider approval allows the operator (approved provider) to apply for one or more service approvals to operate education and care services in any State or Territory in Australia.
Sections 10 and 11 of National Law and Regulations 14 and 15 of the National Regulations set out the requirements for an application for provider approval.
Learn more about: approvals for
National Quality Framework providers.
To operate a service, an approved provider must first apply for, and be successful in obtaining, a service approval. When making an application for a service approval, the approved provider must demonstrate their capability to operate the service in compliance with the National Law and the National Regulations. The Regulatory Authority may also invite the approved provider to participate in an interview with Regulatory Authority officers as part of this process.
Sections 43 and 44 of the National Law and Regulations 24 and 25 of the National Regulations set out the requirements for an application for service approval for a centre-based service. Approved providers are encouraged to seek their own independent legal advice to consider their obligations under the National Law before making an application for service approval.
Services must comply with a range of legislative requirements including:
- physical environment requirements
- staffing requirements including minimum educator-to-child ratios
- educator qualifications
- educational programs
- health and safety.
Learn more about: approvals for National Quality Framework services.
The Regulatory Authority may refuse to grant a service approval if the service's proposed location or design pose an unacceptable risk to children's safety, health and wellbeing (section 49(1)(a) of the National Law). This is regardless of whether the local council has approved the proposed site and development. Please refer to the Regulatory Authority's fact sheet for local councils,
Queensland Regulatory Authority and Local Council Interaction – early childhood education and care services (PDF, 191KB) (DOCX, 38KB).
When applying for a service approval, the approved provider must satisfy the Regulatory Authority that the service can adequately manage or address any potential risk to children's health, safety and wellbeing.
This will help ensure the service meets operational requirements (Chapter 4 of the National Regulations), including protecting children from harm and hazard (section 167 of the National Law).
As part of an application for a centre-based service, you must provide a certificate of classification (or a statement) issued by a Building Practitioner stating the proposed premises complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) for a Class 9b building (which generally cannot be provided for a residential property) and also a copy of the planning permit for the proposed education and care service premises (if required). Factors specific to the individual layout of the premises and facilities should be considered early in the planning and design stages of construction in consultation with your architect, developer, planner and building practitioner.
If you are proposing to operate an education and care service in a multi-storey building, please consider the Regulatory Authority's fact sheet
Guidance for approved providers – early childhood education and care services operating in multi-storey buildings (PDF, 261KB) (DOCX, 29KB).
Learn more about:
facilities and building requirements.
The Queensland Department of Health provides information on licensing requirements for childcare providers under the
Food Act 2006.
Under the Act, certain food businesses must be licensed by the local government where the food business is located. Child care providers that supply food are considered to be a food business and may be required to hold a licence.
Learn more about:
food licences for early childhood education and care services.
Applying for a service waiver or temporary waiver
Approved providers that are unable to meet their requirements under the National Regulations can apply for a service waiver where an issue is likely to be ongoing, or a temporary waiver, where the issue can be addressed within 12 months. Regulations 41 (service waivers) and 44 (temporary waivers) of the National Regulations contain the relevant prescribed elements.
waiver can be applied for either at the time of an application for service approval is being made or at any other time during the life of the service approval.
Waiver applications are submitted via the
National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS).