Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has announced a $3 million support package for the Cootamundra electorate’s littlest learners to help community preschools during the tough drought period.

Fifteen Cootamundra electorate preschools will receive 2018 Drought Relief Payments to ensure early childhood education services can continue to operate during the adverse economic conditions associated with the drought period.

“It’s wonderful to be able to announce this news and all of the local children who attend,” said Ms Cooke.

“When the drought is making itself felt in the family budget then of course hard decisions have to be made. This funding will ensure that children can keep going to preschool and continue to enjoy the learning and fun which makes preschool such an important part of the educational journey.”

Preschools can use this funding to assist families and children in a range of ways, including transport arrangements to maintain preschool participation, crisis planning or fee subsidies to further support families.

Ms Cooke said these payments will ensure services in the Cootamundra electorate can continue to operate during the adverse economic conditions associated with the drought period.

“The NSW Government knows how crucial it is to continue to support families and businesses who are struggling,” Ms Cooke said.

“Times are tough, but the people of the Cootamundra electorate are resilient and we need to keep functioning as normally as possible.”

The fifteen preschools receiving funding are:

  • Gundagai Pre-School Kindergarten- $11,400.00
  • Junee RSL Memorial Pre-School-  $18,400.00
  • Coolamon Pre-School- $9,800.00
  • Pied Piper Pre-School- $4,200.00
  • Cootamundra Preschool – $19,200.00
  • Bunyip Pre-School – Harden- $6,200.00
  • Temora Preschool and Out of School Hours Inc- $23,600.00
  • Ardlethan Pre-School- $4,000.00
  • Ariah Park Pre-School- $5,800.00
  • Young Pre-School Kindergarten- $21,800.00
  • Annette’s Place Pre-School – $5,400.00
  • Bland Pre-School- $15,800.00
  • Grenfell Pre-School- $4,000.00
  • Weddin Mobile Preschool Service- $5,200.00
  • Cowra Early Childhood Services – Mobile Preschool- $8,400.00

Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell said it is crucial the NSW Government continues to support families to ensure children always have access to top quality early childhood education, no matter where they live or what their circumstances are.

“The Liberals & Nationals understand there are numerous social and economic flow-on affects from the drought, which affect businesses and communities just like the Cootamundra electorate,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Our goal is to help alleviate some of the pressure on families by supporting early childhood services where attendance may have dropped due to socioeconomic pressures, and also to boost service operators coping with additional challenges.”

Funding was allocated to services based on their enrollment numbers and location, and will be scaled according to the level of drought intensity.