COVID-19 in Victoria: What hotspot extension in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell means for child care
Child care services in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can continue to access Australian Government support following the Commonwealth hotspot extension on 7 October and because they are in lockdown.
Details about the lockdown are available on the Victorian Government COVID-19 response website.
The current direction from the Victorian Government is that child care is open for:
- vulnerable children
- children with two parents or carers where at least one is an authorised worker, if no alternative supervision arrangements can be made
- children of single parents or carers who work, regardless of whether they are an authorised worker, if no alternative supervision arrangements can be made.
Business continuity payments
Services already receiving business continuity payments will continue to receive them until the lockdown or the hotspot ends.
Services in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can waive gap fees for families who keep their children at home until the lockdown or the hotspot ends (services in receipt of the business continuity payment must waive gap fees for families whose children are not attending child care).
Children enrolled at services in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can access additional allowable absences.
Moorabool and Greater Shepparton restrictions
Extending the Moorabool and Greater Shepparton lockdown is pending a decision by the Victorian Government.
Extending the Moorabool and Greater Shepparton hotspot is pending a decision by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer.
When a lockdown ends
Changes to Australian Government support will apply to child care services if lockdown or the Commonwealth hotspot ends and is not extended.
When this happens:
- Business continuity payments will end. If the lockdown ends during a payment fortnight, services that opted-in will still receive payment for the full fortnight.
- Regular absence provisions apply. That is, families can access up to 42 days per child, per financial year.
- Services must resume charging gap fees. If the lockdown ends during a business continuity payment fortnight, services receiving payments must waive gap fees until the end of the payment fortnight.
To find out what your service is eligible for visit our early childhood COVID-19 support by region webpage.
Each jurisdiction will ease restrictions at different times based on local conditions, in accordance with the National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response.
Services receiving business continuity payments may continue to receive them until no longer in a hotspot and under lockdown or until 30 November, whichever is the earliest.
Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services will continue to receive business continuity payments, even when a COVID-19 hotspot ends, until all primary school-aged children are permitted to return to school. The current date for this in Regional Victoria is 26 October 2021 and in Melbourne is 5 November 2021. If OSHC services continue to meet the conditions for the payment, other than being in a COVID-19 hotspot, the last fortnightly payment will be for the period 18 to 31 October in regional Victoria and 1 to 14 November in Melbourne. If the hotspot is extended they may continue receiving payments after this date (up until either the lockdown or hotspot ends or 30 November, whichever is earlier).