COVID-19 in NT: what lockdown in Greater Darwin and Katherine means for child care

This content was published on Wednesday 18 August 2021. There may be more recent updates available.

The Northern Territory Government has announced a three-day lockdown for Greater Darwin and Katherine starting at 12pm ACST on Monday 16 August.

Details are on the NT Government’s COVID-19 response website.  

The lockdown covers the City of Darwin, City of Palmerston, Litchfield Council, Wagait Shire, Belyuen Shire, Dundee, Bynoe, Charlotte, Cox Peninsula, and Municipality of Katherine including Tindal.

School and child care facilities are open only for children of essential workers and vulnerable children.

At this stage, there is no change to fee charging or absences in relation to the lockdown.

Services in a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspot may be able to access gap fee waivers and additional allowable absences. We’ll let providers and services know if there is a hotspot declaration for the Northern Territory.

More information about gap fee waivers and additional allowable absences is available on our website.

We are monitoring the situation and will work closely with the NT Government and peak organisations from the sector as the situation evolves.  


Families have access to 42 absence days per financial year that can be used for any reason.

Gap fee waiving 

Services directed to close by a local authority because of COVID-19 can waive gap fees until 31 December 2021.  

Stay up to date

We continue to update the sector on restrictions, Australian Government support and the impact on child care services. Please check in regularly to our Early Childhood COVID-19 home page.

COVID-19 Disaster Payment

Information about the COVID-19 Disaster Payment is available on the Services Australia website.

Support for families

Families experiencing difficulty may be eligible for support under Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship).

Families looking for alternative child care options during an emergency can visit Starting Blocks or Child Care Finder.

Support for services

Providers and services in the Northern Territory may be eligible for a range of COVID-19 support funding. For information on whole-of-Australian Government support for businesses affected by COVID-19, visit

Some services may be eligible for a Community Child Care Fund Special Circumstances Grant. Applicants can request funding after an event has occurred and they have accessed other COVID support.

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 PEP 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 PEP 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 NT Government COVID-19 response website for local information