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.
Australian Associated Press