COVID-19 in NSW: what lockdown changes in parts of NSW means for child care

Lockdown extended in Hilltops

Child care services in the Hilltops local government areas (LGA) can access additional Australian Government Support following the extension of the lockdown because of a COVID-19 outbreak

On 23 September the NSW Government announced that the current lockdown would be extended.

Details are available on the NSW Government COVID-19 response website.

During the lockdowns child care services are considered an essential service and may remain open, unless directed to close by NSW Health.

Support available

Services in Hilltops can now access additional allowable absences. Learn more about absences in a COVID-19 hotspot.

Services can also waive gap fees for families who keep their children at home. You can waive gap fees from 18 September. Learn more about waiving gap fees.

Services already receiving business continuity payments will continue to receive them until the lockdown ends. 

Easing of restrictions in parts of NSW

Changes to support also apply to child care services in the Albury, Lismore, Gilgandra, Brewarrina, Glen Innes and Orange LGAs following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

At midnight on 22 September, the lockdown was lifted for Albury, Lismore, Gilgandra and Brewarrina. From midnight 23 September, the lockdown lifted in Glen Innes and Orange.

Once a lockdown has ended, the following applies:

Business continuity payments

As the lockdowns in Albury, Lismore, Gilgandra, Brewarrina and Glen Innes were less than seven days, services that accepted their business continuity payment offer before 9 September 2021 will still receive payment for the fortnight 6 to 19 September, after which payments will end.

Services in Orange that accepted their business continuity payment offer before 23 September 2021 will still receive payment for the fortnight 20 September to 3 October as well.

Services don’t need to tell us that they are coming out of lockdown, only if their eligibility in meeting the other conditions of the payment changes.

Learn about business continuity payment conditions.

Absences

Regular absence provisions now apply – families can access up to 42 days per child, per financial year.

Learn about absences on our website.

Gap fees

Services must resume charging fees.

However, if services are receiving business continuity payments they must waive gap fees for the full payment fortnight, even if they came out of lockdown before the end of the payment fortnight.  

Families in hotspots

Support is available for families who live in a hotspot but have children enrolled at a service outside the hotspot.

Services that are not in a hotspot can waive gap fees for children living in eligible hotspots while they are absent. These children will also be able to access additional allowable absences during the hotspot period. This applies from 23 June. We will provide more information about this support shortly.

Families ending enrolments

If a family in a hotspot of more than 7 days chooses to end their child’s enrolment, any absences after the child’s last physical attendance will be eligible for Child Care Subsidy (CCS).

There are important steps services must take to end enrolments in this situation. Learn what to do if a family ends their enrolment during a hotspot.

We will soon pay back CCS where debts have been raised after 12 July. Services must pass this on to the family if  they have raised the debt with them. We will provide more information about this soon.

More information

Check this table for regions eligible for support and the dates the support starts and ends.

Learn more about COVID-19 support for services and families on our website.