COVID-19 in Greater Sydney: extra support for child care services in lockdown

Extra support is now available for the early childhood education and care sector and families during the extended COVID-19 lockdown in Greater Sydney.

This information was updated on 9 August 2021.

Gap fee waivers

Even though child care services remain open in NSW, from Monday 19 July services in Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Greater Sydney subject to stay-at-home orders can waive gap fees for parents on days they choose to keep their children at home.

As previously announced, services can also waive gap fees if they are directed to close by a local authority because of COVID-19 until 31 December 2021.

COVID-19 Disaster Payment

The Australian Government has announced an increase to the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. More information will be made available on the Services Australia website.

Local Area Emergency extended

We’ve extended the Local Area Emergency (LAE) for services in affected LGAs. The LAE period now runs from 26 June to 30 July for services in the following 36 LGAs:

City of Sydney, Municipality of Woollahra, City of Randwick, Municipality of Waverley, Bayside Council, Blacktown City Council, Blue Mountains City Council, Municipality of Burwood, Camden Council, Central Coast Council, City of Campbelltown, City of Canada Bay, City of Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland City Council, City of Fairfield, George’s River Council, City of Hawkesbury, Hornsby Shire, Municipality of Hunter’s Hill, Inner West Council, Ku-ring-gai Council, Lane Cove Council, City of Liverpool, Mosman Council, North Sydney Council, Northern Beaches Council, City of Parramatta, City of Penrith, City of Ryde, Shellharbour City Council, Municipality of Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, The Hills Shire, Wollondilly Shire, City of Willoughby, and Wollongong City Council.

Absences

Allowable absences reset on 1 July 2021 for the new financial year. This means that from this date all children had 42 absence days available to them.

Families whose service is in a declared LAE can access additional absences if they have used their 42 allowable absences. Learn more about absences during an LAE.

Existing support

Some services may be eligible for a Community Child Care Fund Special Circumstances Grant.

Families affected by COVID-19 may be eligible to receive additional support with the cost of child care through the Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship). Families must apply directly to Centrelink.

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 also 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 Provider Entry Point 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 Provider Entry Point 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’s COVID-19 response website for local updates.