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Defence Community Organisation

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608


DCO provides a range of services and resources for Defence children, to assist with the transition between schools and education systems when a member is posted within Australia, and to provide support for the unique needs of Defence students.

We recognise that some Defence children may experience disruption to their education each time they move for a posting. We have a range of services and resources on offer which work to assist with the transition between schools and education systems.

This support includes:

  • specialist staff in each state and territory to advise families and schools on education issues and Defence student wellbeing,
  • funding for in-school support staff, Aides and Mentors, to help Defence students integrate into a new school and provide them with support,
  • financial assistance for some education costs incurred as a result of relocations, and
  • regional education information to inform families about the major differences between the state and territory education systems.


Education Liaison Officers, or EDLOs, give education support to Defence families as they move around the country, providing information, advice, referral and specialised assistance.
This includes:

  • informing families about local schools and education systems and working with parents, students and teachers to manage the transition to a new, location and school,
  • linking families with special education providers, resources or support agencies according to their children’s individual needs (including special needs students),
  • working with schools to ensure a supportive educational environment and to raise awareness of issues facing Defence children,
  • informing families about Defence support services available, including financial assistance entitlements.

Aides & Mentors

To minimise the impact of the mobile lifestyle on children’s education, DCO provides funding to schools with high numbers of enrolments of Defence children.

The Defence School Transition Aide (DSTA) Program provides funding to support schools engage a Defence School Transition Aide (DSTA) or Defence Transition Mentor (DTM) to minimise the impact of mobility on education and build the capability of the school to support Defence students particularly during transitions into and out of the school and during parental absences.

The aim of the DSTA Program is to facilitate the best possible educational outcome for children of Defence members through on-site, direct and flexible assistance to students, parents, teachers and other support services.

This program is a reflection of the commitment by Defence to support its members and their families and recognises the partnership between education authorities, Defence and schools.

Funding and program guidelines

The DSTA Program is funded annually and each allocation is determined by eligibility criteria which determine the amount of funding that each eligible school is entitled to. The criteria include the following:

  • number of students who are dependants of full time serving Defence members
  • rate of mobility in the local posting location, and/or isolation of posting location
  • operational tempo of the local military base or training facility

Other factors which are considered:

  • school commitment to continuous improvement in response to Defence family needs
  • school commitment to the DSTA Program and compliance to the governance requirements as detailed in the program guidelines If at anytime you would like any information regarding the DSTA program send an email to

In-school support

DSTAs and DTMs are based within primary and secondary schools across Australia for the purpose of providing support to the children of mobile Defence families.

Aides and Mentors' activities include:

  • assisting children and families to integrate into the new school and local community,
  • monitoring the social, emotional and academic wellbeing of Defence students,
  • helping students develop self-confidence, self-reliance and resilience,
  • referring students to services, or school and community programs that meet their needs,
  • enhancing awareness and appreciation of the unique Defence lifestyle in schools and communities, and
  • providing support to children during times of parental absence.
  • Find out which schools are currently supported by the DSTA Program in the tabs below, or contact the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608 for more information.



School Location
Adamstown Public School Adamstown
Ashtonfield Public School Ashtonfield
Bomaderry High School Bomaderry
Bungendore Public School Bungendore
Cambewarra Public School Camberwarra
Ermington Public School West Ryde
Ermington West Public School Ermington
Forest Hill Public School Forest Hill
Francis Greenway High School Beresfield
Glendore Public School Adamstown
Grahamstown Public School Raymond Terrace
Hammondville Public School Hammondville
Holsworthy High School Holsworthy
Holsworthy Public School Holsworthy
Illaroo Road Public School North Nowra
Irrawang High School Raymond Terrace
Jerrabomberra Public School Jerrrabomberra
Kapooka Public School Kapooka
Kooringal High School Wagga Wagga
Kooringal Public School Kooringal
Maitland Grossmann High School East Maitland
Medowie Christian School Medowie
North Nowra Public School North Nowra
Nowra Anglican College Nowra
Nowra Christian School South Nowra
Nowra High School Nowra
Nowra Hill Public School Nowra Hill
Nowra Public School Nowra 
Oran Park Public School Oran Park
Richmond Public School Richmond
Rydalmere Public School Rydalmere
Rydalmere East Public School Ermington
Singleton Heights Public School Singleton Heights
Soldiers Point Public School Soldiers Point
South Coogee Public School South Coogee
St Aloysius Catholic Primary School Chisholm
St Brigid's Primary School Raymond Terrace
St Christopher's Primary School Holsworthy
St Georges Basin Public School Basin View
St John the Evangelist Catholic High School South Nowra
St Matthew's Primary School Windsor
St Michael's Catholic Primary School Nowra
St Monica's Primary School Windsor
St Philip's Christian College Salamander Bay
Thornton Public School Thornton
Tomaree High School Salamander Bay
Tomaree Public School Salamander Bay
Vincentia High School Vincentia
Vincentia Public School Vincentia
Wagga Wagga Christian School Wagga Wagga
Wattle Grove Public School Wattle Gove
Wirreanda Public School Medowie



North Queensland
School Location
Annandale Christian College Annandale
Annandale State School Annandale
Bluewater State School Bluewater
Bohlevale State School Bohlevale
Calvary Christian College Mount Louisa
Freshwater State School Freshwater
Good Shepherd Catholic School Rasmussen
Heatley State School Townsville
Holy Spirit School Cranbrook
Ignatius Park College Cranbrook
Kirwan State High School Kirwan
Kirwan State School Kirwan
Mundingburra State School Hermit Park
Northern Beaches State High Deeragun
North Shore State School Burdell
Oonoonba State School Idalia
Redlynch State College Redlynch
Ryan Catholic College Kirwan
Southern Cross Catholic College Annandale
St Andrew's Catholic College Redlynch
St Anthony's Catholic College Deeragun
St Clare's Catholic School Burdell
St Therese's School Bentley Park
The Willows State School Kirwan
Thurwingowa State High School Condon
Townsville Grammar School Townsville
Weir State School Kirwan
William Ross State High School Annandale
South Queensland
School Location
Albany Creek State High School Albany Creek
Albany Creek State School Albany Creek
Albany Hills State School Albany Creek
All Saints Parish School Albany Creek
Amberley District State School Yamanto
Augusta State School Augustine Heights
Bounty Boulevard State School North Lakes
Brassall State School Brassall
Bray Park State School Bray Park
Bremer State High School Ipswich
Eatons Hill State School Eatons Hill
Enoggera State School Enoggera
Ferny Grove State High School Ferny Grove
Ferny Grove State School Ferny Grove
Grand Avenue State School Forest Lake
Highfields State Secondary College Highfields
Highfields State School Highfields
Ipswich State High School Brassall
Kelvin Grove State College Kelvin Grove
Lawnton State School Lawton
McDowall State School McDowall
Middle Ridge State School Middle Ridge
Mitchelton State High School Mitchelton
Mitchelton State School Mitchelton
Mt Maria College Mitchelton
Oakleigh State School Ashgrove
Our Lady of Dolours Primary School Mitchelton
Our Lady of the Assumption School Enoggera
Raceview State School Raceview
Springfield Central High School Springfield Central
Springfield Lakes State School Springfield Lakes
St Andrew's Catholic School Ferny Grove
St Edmund's College Ipswich
St Mary's College Woodend
St Mary's Primary School Ipswich
West Moreton Anglican College Karrabin



School Location
Arbour Grove Primary School Ellenbrook
Baldivis Primary School Baldivis
Baldivis Secondary College Baldivis
Charthouse Primary School Waikiki
Comet Bay College Secret Harbour
Comet Bay Primary School Secret Harbour
Ellenbrook Secondary College Ellenbrook
Endeavour Primary School Port Kennedy
Golden Bay Primary School Golden Bay
Kolbe Catholic College Rockingham
Living Waters Lutheran College Warnbro
Makybe Rise Primary School Baldivis
Malvern Springs Primary School Ellenbrook
Mother Teresa Catholic College Baldivis
Mount Claremont Primary School Mount Claremont
Pilbara Education Regional Office Karratha
Port Kennedy Primary School Port Kennedy
Rivergums Primary School Baldivis
Rockingham Beach Primary School Rockingham
Rockingham Lakes Primary School Port Kennedy
Rockingham Senior High School Rockingham
Safety Bay Primary School Safety Bay
Safety Bay Senior High School Safety Bay
Secret Harbour Primary School Secret Harbour
Settlers Primary School Baldivis
Shenton College Shenton Park
St Bernadette's Catholic Primary School Port Kennedy
Star of the Sea Primary School Rockingham
Swanbourne Primary School Swanbourne
Tranby College Baldivis
Tuart Rise Primary School Baldivis
Waikiki Primary School Waikiki
Warnbro Community High School Warnbro



As they relocate around Australia, mobile Defence families may encounter differences in the way states and territories and individual schools deliver education.

Our educational advisory service can provide you with advice and information to help you make informed decisions about education options for your children.

Education advice

The My School website is a government-run website which allows you to search and compare almost 10 000 schools across Australia, and includes a find-a-school function, school performance ratings and profiles, and links to school websites.

You can source other information from the state or territory department of education, including details of:

  • local schools (including specialist schools),
  • government school term dates and public holidays,
  • support for students with special needs,
  • compulsory schooling and school entry ages,
  • state or territory curriculum (note that the Australian Curriculum is being progressively developed and implemented nation-wide), and
  • education and training policies.

However, you should contact individual schools for details of:

  • enrolments,
  • courses and programs on offer,
  • uniform requirements,
  • school fees or levies payable,
  • programs and opportunities for high-achieving students,
  • private school term dates,
  • special needs facilities and programs,
  • distance education options (for students in isolated areas or with special circumstances), and course selection for secondary students, including vocational options and prerequisite subjects for university admission.

Financial support

A range of financial support is available to help minimise disruption to schooling caused by posting within Australia. The aim is to provide the student with limited interim assistance to help overcome any immediate difficulties with the child’s education that occurs as a result of posting.


Defence may reimburse fees for educational services that a child’s school cannot provide. Students may be entitled to up to 14 weeks of tutoring in any subject that has been recommended by the school principal or the child’s teacher. This applies to primary and secondary students, within the first 18 months of commencing at the new school.

Boarding school allowances

You may choose to have your child attend boarding school, so they do not have to relocate with you and disrupt their education. In this instance, where the child is in the critical years of schooling (years 9‑12), you may be entitled to financial assistance for the compulsory tuition fees and accommodation costs of the school.

Tertiary accommodation

If your dependant is studying at a tertiary institution, and their chosen course is not available in the new posting location, financial assistance may be available for accommodation costs for the dependant to live near or at the tertiary institution. This applies only to full time undergraduate students and is capped at a maximum of three years' assistance.

Students with special needs

Practical assistance is available for dependants with special needs. This includes assessment, therapy, tuition and additional support where students had received these services in their old location and aren't able to access them at their new posting. Dependents with special needs may also be entitled to reimbursement of private schooling costs, if a special program is only available at a private school and it is critical for the child's educational progress.

Scholarship loss

If a student has to give up an education scholarship or bursary due to changing schools, Defence may pay their educational costs to the value of that scholarship.

Reunion travel

If your child is studying at a location distant from your posting, you may access funds towards the child's travel expenses to come to your location for a reunion. The member must be eligible for education assistance, and depending on the type of education assistance the member is eligible for, the child will be entitled to one or more return journeys each calendar year.

To apply

For more information about this program, contact the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on1800 624 608, or consult your local EDLO.

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

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

Families facing difficulties accessing childcare, such as when they move to a new area or change their work or care arrangements, can now access an individual case management service to help them find childcare.

Defence employees can also choose to salary package childcare costs.

Childcare options

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

We also provide an 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.

Specialist early learning staff from Defence childcare service provider, Mission Australia, provide support to families who need help to find appropriate childcare. They 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 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.

The placement assistance service is free. 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

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.

Salary packaging

Defence employees can choose to salary package childcare, where you can use your pre-tax dollars to pay for childcare costs at approved childcare centres. 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 Subsidy or the Additional Child Care. If you salary sacrifice your childcare costs it is likely to be classified as a fringe benefit, which would be reported on your payment summary at the end of the financial year. It may also be used to calculate a range of things including:

  • the medicare surcharge
  • deductions for personal super contributions
  • superannuation co-contributions
  • certain tax offsets
  • private health insurance rebate
  • Higher Education Loan Program, Student Financial Supplement Scheme, Student Start-up Loan, ABSTUDY Student Start-up Loan or Trade Support Loan repayments
  • child support obligations
  • your entitlement to certain income-tested government benefits.

It is strongly recommended that you seek independent advice to determine whether salary packaging is financially advantageous for your family.

More information about the Child Care Subsidy, the Additional Child Care Subsidy or a range of other payments you may be entitled to, read A Guide to Australian Government Payments, available from the Department of Health and Human Services website.

You can access more information including a list of centres that offer the salary packaging option to Defence families at

Family day care

Under our Partner Employment Assistance Program, eligible partners who run an existing family day care business can apply for reimbursement for re-registration costs (where required under state/territory legislation), if they relocate with their ADF partner to a new posting location.

Defence Childcare Centres

Defence has childcare and early childhood education centres at 17 locations around Australia, comprising 17 long day care and three out of school hours centres operated by Mission Australia Early Learning.

Priority of access

Defence provides priority of access to Defence childcare centres for ADF families, particularly where the local community is unable to accommodate them or they have been posted to a new location.

The childcare service provider

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

*Indicates located on Base facilities.


Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Centre Address Building
Russell Hill Early Childhood Centre

R8 Annex, Kelliher Drive Russell Offices, Canberra

Kangaroo Cottage Child Care Centre * HMAS Creswell 19 Benson Road, Jervis Bay 6020/019


New South Wales (NSW)
Centre Address Building
Little Diggers Child Care Centre Holsworthy Barracks MacArthur Drive, Moorebank 0382/K049
Little Eagles Child Care Centre * Canberra Ave RAAF Base Richmond 0902/230
The Blue House Outside School Hours Care * RAAF Base Richmond Wood Street, Richmond 0902/D59
Tingira Child Care Centre * HMAS Albatross Bedford Ave, Nowra 6026/035
Kids Crew Room Outside School Hours Care HMAS Albatross Bedford Ave, Nowra 6026/036
Williamtown Child (Raymond Terrace)  Care Centre 20a Kangaroo Street, Raymond Terrace tba


Victoria (VIC)
Centre Address Building
Cerberus Child Care Centre * HMAS Cerberus 12-14 Cook Road, Crib Point 0066/A0356
East Sale Child Care Centre * RAAF Base Heart Ave, East Sale 0937/A0638
Williams Child Care Centre * RAAF Base Williams 17 Campbell Parade, Laverton 0927/A0017
Puckapunyal Child Care Centre, Includes OSHC * Lone Pine Cres, Puckapunyal Military Area 0596/A1478
Victoria Barracks Child Care Centre 32 Coventry Rd, Southbank Melbourne 1043/A0019


Western Australia (WA)
Centre Address Building
The Sunny Child Care Centre 50 Seaward Ave, Swanbourne 0767/D0005
Flying Start Child Care Centre * RAAF Base Pearce Brownwell Ave, Bullsbrook 0967/A0900


Queensland (QLD)
Centre Address Building
Enoggera Child Care Centre 2 Taurama St Enoggera 0129/B0050
Coral Sea Child Care Centre 71 Bamford Lane, Kirwan (Townsville) 1493/0001


Northern Territory (NT)
Centre Address Building
Little Geckos Child Care Centre * RAAF Base, Easton Parade, Tindal 0990/B1031
Big Geckos Outside School Hours Care * RAAF Base, Easton Parade, Tindal 0990/B0240
Kids Brigade Child Care Centre Cnr University Ave & Woodlake Blvd Durack, Palmerston NT 1561/A0001

More information

For more information about the Defence childcare centres, contact the Defence all-hours Defence Family Helpline in the first instance. You will be referred to a representative of Mission Australia Early Learning who will answer enquiries about daily operations of the centres, including enrolments.

Any complaints from parents should be directed to the Mission Australia Early Learning 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 Defence childcare centre.