In 2018, 1 283 285 (or 31.4 per cent) of children aged 0–12 years, attended Australian Government Child Care Benefit approved child care services, an increase of 1.8 per cent from 2017.
In 2017, 528 367 children were enrolled in a preschool program. Of children aged in the state-specific year before full time schooling, 295 826 children (or 90.1 per cent) were enrolled in a preschool program. Of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged in the state-specific year before full time schooling, 94.8 per cent were enrolled in a preschool program.
At 30 June 2018, 77.9 per cent of National Quality Framework approved services with a quality rating were rated as Meeting or Exceeding the National Quality Standard (including Excellent) — up from 73.4 per cent at 30 June 2017.
Total Australian, State and Territory real government recurrent and capital expenditure on early childhood education and care services was $9.2 billion in 2017‑18, compared with $9.5 billion in 2016‑17.
Early childhood education and care services aim to meet the education, care and development needs of children, and meet the needs of families including enabling increased workforce participation, by providing universal access to early childhood education services for eligible children and accessible child care services that:
- are high quality, affordable, flexible and can be implemented across a range of settings
- are delivered in a safe, nurturing and inclusive environment
- target improved access for, and participation by, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, vulnerable and disadvantaged children.