COVID-19 in NSW: lockdown update, extra support for child care services

This content was published on Wednesday 18 August 2021. There may be more recent updates available.

Child care services in Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspots of longer than seven days, including those in New South Wales, can access additional Australian Government support.

Gap fees and absences for extended lockdowns

Child care services in the NSW Local Government Areas (LGAs) below can now waive gap fees for families who keep their children at home.

Families at these services can also access additional allowable absences.

This follows the extension of Commonwealth hotspot declarations for longer than seven days in:

  • Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong
  • Bathurst Regional Council, and the shires of Bogan, Bourke, Brewarrina, Coonamble, Gilgandra, Narromine, Walgett and Warren
  • Dubbo Regional Council
  • Tamworth Regional Council, Byron Shire, Richmond Valley, Ballina Shire and Lismore
  • Armidale Regional Council
  • The City of Cessnock, City of Lake Macquarie, Dungog Shire, Maitland, Muswellbrook Shire, Newcastle, Port Stephens Council and Singleton Council.

Check this table for a list of regions that can waive gap fees and access additional allowable absences, and when these measures commence.

Rest of NSW

At this stage, there is no change to fee charging or absences for services located elsewhere in New South Wales.

If Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is being claimed by services, families are liable to pay the gap fee. Families have access to 42 absence days per financial year that can be used for any reason.

We are monitoring the situation and will work closely with the NSW Government and peak organisations from the sector as the situation evolves.

Other support available 

Gap fee waiving

Services directed to close by a local authority because of COVID-19 can waive gap fees until 31 December 2021. 

Support for services

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment provides financial support for workers who have lost hours as a result of a state public health order.

Providers and services in NSW may be eligible for a range of COVID-19 support funding. For information on whole-of-Australian Government support for businesses affected by COVID-19, visit

Some services may be eligible for a Community Child Care Fund Special Circumstances Grant. Applicants must request funding after an event has occurred and they have accessed other COVID support. 

Support for families

The Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship) is available to support families experiencing temporary financial hardship.

Families looking for alternative child care options during an emergency can visit Starting Blocks or Child Care Finder

If you have to close

You must tell us if you are temporarily closing your service for any reason and for any period. To do this, use the Provider Entry Point (PEP) or your third-party software.

These notifications are additional to those you must give your state or territory regulatory authority. 

For action

  • Update your vacancy details in the Child Care Finder. Do this via the PEP or your third-party software.
  • Update your contact details, particularly email addresses, in the Child Care Subsidy System so you don’t miss important information. Do this via the PEP or your third-party software.
  • Ask families to maintain their enrolments. This will ensure children receive continuity of care and early learning.
  • Keep an eye on the NSW Government COVID-19 response website for local updates.