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Childcare relief for locked down families

Families in Victoria can save on childcare fees during the latest lockdown if forced to miss days.

“Today we have declared a local area emergency for Victoria,” federal department of education deputy secretary Ros Baxter told a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday.

Anyone who has used up their absence days is able to claim extra because of the declaration.

There will be a gap fee waiver, which means there’s no charge if a childcare centre is forced to close for a deep clean on public health advice or if a family group needs to isolate.

The usual federal subsidy will continue to be paid to childcare providers.

“That means they’re able to say: ‘There’s no cost to you because we’re closed’,” Dr Baxter said.

There were already extra allowable absence days – usually 42 a year but boosted to 87 in Victoria to meet previous restrictions.

The measures will be backdated to the beginning of the current lockdown.

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