Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke and Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell joined some of the state’s littlest learners in Cootamundra today to see how NSW Government funding is helping provide support through the drought.

More than $160,000 in support funding is being rolled out in the Cootamundra electorate following a NSW Government announcement earlier this year providing payments to preschools doing it tough during the drought.

The $3 million Preschool Drought Relief Payments were introduced to ensure early childhood services could continue to operate during the drought, and also to ease the pressure of young families who may have been struggling.

Ms Cooke said these payments have had a positive impact on young families in Cootamundra.

“Today I have invited Minister Mitchell to visit the wonderful children and staff at Cootamundra Preschool with me, who received almost $20,000 to make the service more sustainable by installing solar panels. They will also look to teach staff about sustainability through professional development and install a new water tank,” Ms Cooke said.

“I know how crucial it is to continue to support families and businesses in areas like Cootamundra.

“Times have been tough, but people in Cootamundra are resilient and it is crucial we continue functioning as normally as possible.”

Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell said it has been humbling to travel across the state to see how services are using their funding.

“Preschools have used the funding to assist families and children in a number of ways, including transport arrangements to maintain preschool participation, crisis planning or fee subsidies to further support families,” she said.

“This year has been one of the driest winters on record, which is why the NSW Government has committed more than $1 billion to date to help those who are struggling.”

Funding has been allocated to services based on their enrolment numbers and location, and was scaled according to the area’s level of drought intensity.

Further information is also available on the Department of Education’s website at https://education.nsw.gov.au/.