In Australia, early childhood education covers the years from kindergarten (beginning at age four) to year three (approximately age seven). The first two years of schooling are not compulsory or state-funded. However, some fees are subsidized by a Child Care Benefit (CCB), which is available if a child attends a government-approved program. Low-income families can receive a higher percentage of CCB, which in some cases may completely cover costs.
There is no coherent Australian national policy on preschool education to ensure that all Australian children are able to exercise their right to a free, public, high quality preschool education. In general it would appear that about 90 percent of Australian children access a preschool education. There is no clear national data, since there are inconsistencies of structure and nomenclature, and inconsistent and incomplete figures at a national level. The reality is that if the definition of preschool education incorporates a requirement for qualified teachers and education workers, the proportion missing out is likely to be much higher than that.