Planning your service


​​​​In planning a new service, it is important to understand legislation and regulations that will apply and also the type of service you are considering.

Understanding the legislation

Most services are approved and regulated under the National Quality Framework (NQF). If the service you are planning to operate is not one covered by the NQF, it may be regulated under the Education and Care Services Act 2013 (ECS Act).

The NQF comprises the Education and Care Services National Law (National Law), the Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Regulations) and the National Quality Standard (the NQS). The NQF applies to most education and care services including long day care centres, outside school hours care, family day care and kindergartens.

Under section 5 of the National Law, an education and care service is defined as any service providing or intended to provide education and care on a regular basis to children under 13 years of age (other than those services expressly excluded).

Learn more about the National Quality Framework.

The National Authority

The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is the National Authority overseeing the NQF in education and care services in Australia. Valuable resources including copies of the National Law and National Regulations and information for providers are available on the ACECQA website. ​

Regulatory authorities

The NQF is administered in Queensland by the Queensland Regulatory Authority, being the Chief Executive of the Department of Education. It is responsible for:

Learn more about what we do and the role of the department.

Local government planning regulations

Local government authorities are responsible under the applicable local government planning scheme for approving development applications, including how an existing building or piece of land is used. Approval by the relevant local government authority of a proposed premises for an education and care service does not mean the premises will automatically be approved by the Regulatory Authority under the National Law and National Regulations.

The Regulatory Authority is responsible for assessing applications for service approval and may not grant a service approval even if the local government authority has not raised an objection to the proposed site or development. The Regulatory Authority must be satisfied that the approved provider can ensure the service will meet the legislative requirements and ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children.

Help and support

If you have any questions about development application approvals please contact the local government for the area in which the service is proposed to be located. Contact details can be found on the local government directory.

Choosing a service type

In planning your new service you need to consider the type of service you will be operating as elements of the legislation and regulations may apply only to specific service types.

Long day care

Long day care services usually provide education and care for children from birth to 12 years old, at least 10 hours a day, Monday to Friday, for at least 48 weeks a year. The care provided to children in long day care​ can be full-time or part-time. An approved kindergarten program taught by a qualified early childhood teacher may be offered by the long day care service.


Kindergarten services offer early childhood education programs taught by qualified early childhood teachers to help prepare your child for Prep. Kindergartens accommodate children who are at least 4 years of age by 30 June in the year in which they are enrolled to participate. Kindergartens usually operate during school hours each school term only.​

Outside school hours care

Outside school hours care​ (OSHC) services provide an opportunity for children to relax and play in a supervised environment, before school, after school or during school holidays. OSHC services accommodate primarily school-age children and generally operate before and after school (7am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm) and for 10 to 12 hours a day during school holidays and pupil free days.

Family day care

Family day care service give small groups of children from birth to 12 years of age access to flexible education and care usually in the private homes of registered educators.

Family day care​ can be provided:

  • all day
  • on a part-time basis
  • in the evening
  • overnight
  • before and after school
  • during school holidays.

Family day care services can offer care to children with parents who work outside centre-based normal hours.

Last updated 28 August 2023