COVID-19 in Victoria: what changes to restrictions mean for child care

Extended hotspot in Mitchell Shire

Child care services in Mitchell Shire can access Australian Government support following an extension of the COVID-19 hotspot declaration.

On 26 September, the Victorian Government announced the extension of the current lockdown in Mitchell Shire.

Details about the lockdown are available on the Victorian Government COVID-19 response website.

On 27 September, the Australian Government also extended the Commonwealth COVID-19 Hotspot for Mitchell Shire.

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, and
  • 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 ends.

Learn more about business continuity payments.

Gap fees

Services in Mitchell Shire can continue to waive gap fees for families who keep their children at home while in a COVID-19 hotspot. Services can also waive gap fees for children whose families live in a hotspot but attend care outside that hotspot.

Services that receive business continuity payments must waive gap fees for all children who are not attending.

Learn more about waiving gap fees.

See key dates for waiving gap fees.

Absences

Families attending services in Mitchell Shire can now access additional allowable absences because the hotspot declaration has extended beyond seven days. Children who live in a hotspot, but attend care outside of that hotspot, will also be eligible for additional allowable absences.

Services do not need to do anything to access these absences. The Child Care Subsidy System will automatically assess any absences claimed during the Hotspot period as emergency additional absences.

Learn more about absences in a COVID-19 hotspot.

See key dates for accessing additional allowable absences.

Eased restrictions in Greater Geelong and Surf Coast

Changes to Australian Government support apply to child care services in Greater Geelong and Surf Coast following the easing of lockdown restrictions from 11.59pm on Sunday 26 September.

Details about the eased restrictions are available on the Victorian Government COVID-19 response website.

From 27 September the following applies:

Business continuity payments

Services in Greater Geelong and Surf Coast that opted-in have received their final business continuity payment for the fortnight 6 to 19 September.

Services in Greater Geelong and Surf Coast did not become eligible for business continuity payments during the recent seven-day lockdown as it was not extended.

Learn more about eligibility for business continuity payments.

Absences

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

Learn more about absences.

Gap fees

Services must resume charging gap fees.

Learn more about gap fees.

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.