COVID-19 in NSW: what new lockdowns and easing of restrictions mean for child care

Lockdowns in Albury, Lismore, Glen Innes and Hilltops

On 16 September, the NSW Government announced that the Albury and Lismore Local Government Areas (LGAs) would enter a seven-day lockdown from 6pm.

On 17 September, the NSW Government announced Glen Innes and Hilltops LGAs would also go into lockdown from 6pm.

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

Services in a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspot may get business continuity payments, waive gap fees and access additional allowable absences.

We’ll let you know if you become eligible for this support.

Further details about COVID-19 support are available on our website.

Services receiving business continuity payments

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

Services that opted in by 9 September will receive payment for the fortnight 6 to 19 September.

See this table for:

  • key dates for business continuity payments, gap fee waivers and absences, and
  • a full list of regions eligible for support.

Outside School Hours Care and vacation care

Outside School Hours Care (OSCH) services will continue to receive business continuity payments where school attendance is restricted and where services continue to meet the conditions.

That means OSHC services can continue to receive business continuity payments until all children are permitted to return to school in the affected area.

OSHC services that provide vacation care over the school holidays will receive 40% of their pre-lockdown revenue for this fortnight. The department will send business continuity payments offers within the next fortnight to services providing vacation care. 

We will provide more information next week and update the guidelines shortly.

There is no need to call the CCS Helpdesk. We will contact you about business continuity payments.

Easing of restrictions in regional NSW

On 16 September, lockdown was lifted for Bega, Blayney, Bogan, Cabonne, Dungog, Forbes, Muswellbrook, Narrabri, Parkes, Singleton, Snowy Monaro and Upper Hunter LGAs.

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

From 16 September, the following applies:

Business continuity payments

If you opted in to the business continuity payment by 9 September, you will receive payment for the fortnight 6 to 19 September.

You do not need to tell us if you are going into or coming out of lockdown. Please only tell us if your eligibility in meeting the other conditions of the payment changes.

Learn about business continuity payments on our website.


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

Reminder: Greater Sydney enrolments

On Monday 13 September, Services Australia recorded a one-off $0 session of care for children enrolled at child care services in Greater Sydney.

This is to ensure enrolments remain active during the extended lockdown.

Under Family Assistance Law, enrolments automatically end when a child does not physically attend care for 14 weeks. The $0 session of care will reset the start of the 14-week period to begin from 13 September 2021. The session will show in your system as “COVID-19 System Update”.

What you need to do

Please confirm the $0 session is now there if your service is in Greater Sydney.

If it’s not, you will need to add it manually.

See instructions on how to add the $0 session on our website.

When you vary session reports this week, you must re-enter the $0 session of care unless you are recording actual attendances for a child.

If you vary a session report and do not re-enter the $0 session of care where a child did not attend, their enrolment will cease 14 weeks after their last attendance.

Services in Greater Sydney should read the advice on our website for detailed information about the $0 session of care.