The federal government's announcement to offer free childcare from Monday has been met with uncertainty and concern by childcare operators.
The move is meant to keep children in childcare and get them back if they've been stopped going, help ease the burden on families, and keep childcare operators afloat.
Mary Ranken Child Care Centre and Gunnedah Family Day Care say it was great news for local families, meaning they can access the care they need.
But it will actually cost those who are looking after them more.
Director of Mary Ranken, Cherie Ison, said a lot hadn't been explained yet but from what she understands so far, they'll be at a loss because they will no longer be able to charge fees.
They will only receive half of the $11.98 per hour, per child the government has been paying as a subsidy.
The centre's maximum charge is $13 per hour per child, so "between the $5.99 and $13 is what we won't be getting at all".
The government is also scrapping the subsidy it has been paying childcare services and they can no longer charge out-of-pocket or gap fees.
Services who can show that they've had a 30 per cent drop in revenue can apply for the new Jobkeeper payments, but Mary Ranken, Family Day Care, Gunnedah Early Childhood Intervention and a supported playgroup all share the one ABN, so it's not that simple.
Ms Ison said the government must treat them as separate operators to make fair and accurate assessments.
The centre normally has 37-39 children each day but it's dropped to as low as three children.
Out of the 12 staff, three have taken voluntary leave without pay and the other nine are working base hours.
"As a childcare centre we would rather receive the childcare subsidy, and the government pays the gap fee for everybody. We thought it was an easy formula and centres would have been able to manage with the Jobkeeper payment, but we don't know now," Ms Ison said.
It's wonderful for families but it wont help services. Were going to be worse off.Kerry Patterson, Gunnedah Family Daycare
Family Daycare's Kerry Patterson said services will be "worse off" now and some educators may have to close their businesses.
There are 32 self-employed sub-contractor educators under her wing who run daycare from their homes and she said they are "really being stung".
"Most of our educators are going to lose money even if they apply for Jobkeeper; they're still going to be out of pocket," Ms Patterson said.
"It doesn't give them any incentive to take any extra children on because it dates back to February, so it doesn't matter how many children they take on now."
"I had an educator ring me this morning and say, 'I've got a family wanting three extra days next week - am I going to get paid for it' and I said, 'I don't think so'.
"Anyone who charges above $11.10, they lose the money above that cap ... that's what childcare is paid up to. After that, it's not subsidised so that's where the parent gap was coming into a lot of this stuff."
Ms Patterson said if the educators aren't able to get the Jobkeeper payments, "they're stuffed. They will have to close."
Like Mary Ranken, Family Daycare is a not-for-profit organisation, and it doesn't receive government funding so "we don't have money in the bank so we can't bolster this up".
Childcare services will have to finalise all their existing fees by Sunday night before the new system comes in on Monday.