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Defence Member and Family Support

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608

Childcare assistance

DMFS 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. Defence employees can also choose to salary package childcare costs at these centres.

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.

Childcare options

Connecting with your 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 Member and Family Helpline to access information and resources to assist you to connect with your local community.

We also provide an individual case management (ICM) 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, One Tree Community Services , 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 ICM service provides parents with options that will allow them to decide which childcare service best suits their family. It is available to all ADF families across Australia.

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 Member and Family Helpline on 1800 624 608 or email

You can also search for different childcare options in your local area on the Child Care Finder website 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 your 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 Services Australia website.

You can get more information including a list of centres that offer the salary packaging option to Defence members at Smart Salary website.

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 16 locations around Australia, comprising 16 long day care and three out of school hours centres operated by One Tree Community Services .

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 2018, One Tree Community Services successfully won the tender and took over from Mission Australia Early Learning from 1 January 2019.

*Indicates located on Base facilities.


Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Centre Address Building
Russell Hill Early Childhood Centre R8 Annex, Kelliher Drive Russell Offices, Canberra 1004/RDCCC
Kangaroo Cottage Childcare Centre * HMAS Creswell 19 Benson Road, Jervis Bay 6020/019


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


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


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


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


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

Defence priority of access guidelines

  1. The following Defence Priority of Access Guidelines were introduced to manage allocation of placement in all Defence childcare centres on and from 14 July 2005. These Guidelines replace all previous Defence Priority of Access Guidelines.
Category Criteria Point Allocation Per Category
A At least one parent is an ADF member 5
B At least one parent is a Defence APS employee 4
C At least one parent is Reserve Member not on Continuous Full Time Service 1 (see note 1)
D Mobility. Defence Personnel have undertaken a Defence relocation to a new posting locality 4 (see note 2)
E The child’s parent is: single or unaccompanied, is a dual Defence Personnel family; or, Defence Personnel returning from maternity leave. 1 (see note 3)
  1. The point system has been introduced to assist ‘mobile’ Defence families to access Defence employer-sponsored childcare within six months of arriving in a new posting locality. Childcare places will be allocated on the highest point’s basis in accordance with the above table, with placement given to the highest number of points and the earliest ‘date of arrival’.
  2. An exception to the above Priority of Access Guidelines exists for the Russell Hill Early Childhood Centre, Canberra, ACT. Defence agreed that, as part of the Russell re-development, a number of places be reserved for children of Defence Australian Public Service (APS) employees with these Guidelines being applicable to the separate ADF and APS waiting lists.
  3. General definitions and interpretation. The following terms have been defined for the purposes of these guidelines:
  1. Australian Defence Force (ADF) member is defined as a person who is either:
    1. a member of the permanent forces, or
    2. a Reserve member on Service Option (SERVOP) C, or
    3. a member of an overseas Defence Force posted to and filling an ADF position.
  2. Mobility - if placement in a Defence childcare centre is not obtained within six months from date of arrival of the family in location, the 4 ‘mobility’ points are no longer applied.
  3. Unaccompanied status - is afforded to Defence families who are recognised (approved by Defence) as a being unaccompanied for Defence purposes, e.g. unaccompanied on posting, or attached to a deployed force.
  4. Returning from maternity leave - is entitled to an additional one point for a period of six months from the return to duty date.
  5. Defence Personnel - is defined as an ADF member or Defence APS employee.
  6. Date of Arrival - is defined as the date Defence Personnel state as the proposed date of arrival on the application form (if the family has not yet relocated) or the actual date of arrival in the locality (if the family is already in the new location).
  7. Dual Status Family - Points for a dual status family, e.g. an ADF member and a Defence APS employee, cannot be added. The maximum point allocation is either 5 points for an ADF member or 4 points for a Defence APS employee. Other points are cumulative. The maximum number of points allocated to a Waiting List Application, based on family circumstance, is 10 points.


  1. Reserve members in Service Categories (SERCAT) 3, 4 or 5 (rendering Reserve Service Days) will be given Category C recognition however, they must vacate their placement within one month should it be required by permanent SERCAT 7 ADF member.
  2. Waiting List Applications seeking Category D or E recognition must include all supporting documentation (posting order/member with dependant (separated) recognition) and clearly advise centre staff of family circumstances (date of arrival in locality/maternity leave return to duty date) to ensure points are correctly
  3. Category E has a maximum of one point regardless of an ADF member or a Defence APS employee’s personal

More information

For more information about Defence childcare centres, contact the all-hours Defence Member and Family Helpline in the first instance. You will be referred to a representative of One Tree Community Services who can answer enquiries about daily operations of the centres, including enrolments.

Any complaints from parents should be directed to the relevant One Tree Community Services centre Director, who will respond as appropriate. One Tree Community Services DMFS will take further action if necessary. The parent complaint and grievance policy is available at each Defence childcare centre.