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Defence Community Organisation

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608

Childcare assistance

DCO has a range of programs to support the availability of childcare services to Defence families, who might face difficulties in sourcing childcare in new posting locations.

We maintain a network of childcare centres around Australia. Children of newly-posted Defence families can receive priority of access to the centres, where the local community is unable to accommodate them.

We also provide financial assistance to community childcare organisations and Defence partners seeking to start a family day care business, to increase the availability of childcare to Defence families.

Finding childcare options

Find your nearest Defence childcare centre under the Defence childcare centres tab. Alternatively, you can search for different childcare options in your local area at or call the government-run Childcare Access Hotline on 1800 670 305.

Connecting with local community is an effective way for Defence families to source other childcare options. There are often playgroups, parents’ groups or other support networks you can tap into in your local area. We maintain information and resources to assist you to connect with local community resources, which you can readily access by calling the Defence Family Helpline.

This year, Defence is trialling a new individual case management service for childcare placement to support ADF families when they move to a new area or change their work or care arrangements, such as when a serving member returns from maternity leave.

Defence childcare service provider, Mission Australia, will use specialist Early Learning (MAEL) staff to support families who need help to find appropriate childcare. MAEL will negotiate with all local registered childcare providers, including family day care and before and after school care, to ensure childcare is tailored to individual family circumstances.

  • The service provides parents with detailed options that will allow them to decide which childcare service best suits their family.
  • It is available to all Defence families across Australia, and civilian families in some regional locations, such as Geraldton and Alice Springs.
  • The placement assistance service is free. However, please note that normal childcare fees will apply for any options selected by families.
  • To discuss your family’s needs, call the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608 or email

Salary packaging

Defence employees can choose to salary package childcare - this means sacrificing part of their future salary or wages in return for childcare benefits to the same value. 

If you choose this option, you will no longer be eligible to receive the Child Care Benefit or the Child Care Tax Rebate. It is strongly recommended that you seek independent advice to determine whether salary packaging is financially advantageous for your family.

You can access more information including a list of centres that offer the salary packaging option to Defence families at by entering the employer code A100.


Defence has 21 early childhood education and care centres around Australia, made up of 17 long day care and four out of school hours centres.

The Defence childcare centres are operated by Mission Australia Early Learning . Families with queries regarding the daily functions of the centres including enrolments can contact Mission Australia’s information hotline on 1800 757 343 during regular business hours.

Priority of access

Defence facilitates priority of access to these childcare centres for mobile Defence families, where the local community cannot accommodate them and they have been posted to the new location within the last six months.

Priority is given over non‑Defence families in recognition of the difficulties you may face in relocation. Centres create waiting lists and award priority of access, by employing a points system as per Defence Priority of Access Guidelines.

The childcare service provider

Defence contracts a licensed childcare service provider to manage and operate the Defence childcare centres.

The contract periodically undergoes a competitive tender process under Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines to determine the preferred service provider for the centres. 

In July 2012, Mission Australia Early Learning Services succeeded B4Kids as the contractor providing childcare to the centres.

Defence Childcare Centres


Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Centre Address Building
Russell Hill Early Childhood Centre

R8 Annex, Kelliher Drive Russell Offices




New South Wales (NSW)

Centre Address Building
Kangaroo Cottage Child Care Centre

HMAS Creswell 19 Benson Road
Jervis Bay

Little Diggers Child Care Centre

Holsworthy Barracks MacArthur Drive

Little Eagles Child Care Centre

Canberra Ave RAAF Base

The Blue House Outside School Hours Care

RAAF Base Richmond Wood Street

Tingira Child Care Centre

HMAS Albatross Bedford Ave

Kids Crew Room Outside School Hours Care

HMAS Albatross Bedford Ave

Williamtown Child Care Centre

RAAF Base Williamtown, McNamara Drive




Victoria (VIC)

Centre Address Building
Cerberus Child Care Centre

HMAS Cerberus 12-14 Cook Road
Crib Point

East Sale Child Care Centre

RAAF Base Heart Ave 
East Sale

Williams Child Care Centre

RAAF Base Williams 17 Campbell Parade


Puckapunyal Child Care Centre
Includes OSHC

Lone Pine Cres
Puckapunyal Military Area

Victoria Barracks Child Care Centre

32 Coventry Rd 
Southbank Melbourne



Western Australia (WA)

Centre Address Building
The Sunny Child Care Centre

50 Seaward Ave

Flying Start Child Care Centre

RAAF Base Pearce Brownwell Ave



Queesnland (QLD)

Centre Address Building
Enoggera Child Care Centre

2 Taurama St

Coral Sea Child Care Centre

71 Bamford Lane, Kirwan




Norther Territory (NT)

Centre Address Building
Kids Brigade Child Care Centre

Cnr University Ave & Woodlake Blvd
Durack, Palmerston NT

Little Geckos Child Care Centre

RAAF Base, Easton Parade

Big Geckos Outside School Hours Care

RAAF Base, Easton Parade
Tindal NT


More information

For more information about the Defence childcare centres, contact Defence Childcare Programs by emailing or the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608.

Any enquiries about daily operations of the centres, including enrolments, should be directed to Mission Australia on  1800 757 343 (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday).

Any complaints from parents should first be directed to the Centre Director, who will respond as appropriate. Mission Australia or DCO will take further action if necessary. The parent complaint and grievance policy is available at each centre.


Organisations or groups that provide childcare services to Defence families may be eligible for financial assistance under the Extended Child Care Program. As a general principle the funding is offered to the organisation to expand the number of places that can be provided, in order to increase access for Defence families.

The funding is available to groups or organisations which provide work-related childcare services, in particular before and after school care, family day care, vacation care, occasional care or 24‑hour/irregular hours care. Groups must be incorporated to receive this assistance and to employ childcare workers that meet the necessary state and territory regulations.

How to apply

To apply, complete the application form, attaching relevant documentation including incorporation, constitution and insurance policies.

Applications are accepted throughout the year for consideration.

For more information about this program, contact the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on or 1800 624 608.

You can also find the details and eligibility criteria in the guidelines.

Family day care set-up

Funding is available to assist with some of the initial set‑up costs incurred by Defence partners starting up a family day care business, in areas of high Defence need.

As a family day carer, you can work from home providing small group childminding services—this may be particularly convenient if you have children of your own at home. Family day care is a very portable career and can get you involved in your new community after posting.

Set‑up costs that may be reimbursed include First Aid certification, public liability insurance, police checks, car safety certification, and Family Day Care Australia registration fees (this supplies you with the support of a specialist coordination and resource team).

This assistance does incur Fringe Benefits Tax . We strongly recommend you seek independent financial advice before committing to the program, as it may affect government benefits or child support payments you currently receive.

How to apply

To apply, complete the application form for reimbursement of initial set-up costs, attaching all relevant receipts, and forward it to

For more information about this program, email or call the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608.

You can also read the details in the guidelines.