Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke visited Gundagai Preschool Kindergarten today to announce additional help for drought-battling parents who may be struggling to make sure their children don’t miss out on vital early-years learning.

Ms Cooke said the preschool will receive $12,800 to provide assistance to parents and help ensure their children’s attendance is maintained.

The second round of the Preschool Drought Relief payments comes as part of an additional $2.6 million from the NSW Government, which will be hugely helpful for families across the Cootamundra electorate.

“The drought around Gundagai and across the Cootamundra electorate has not relented, nor will the NSW Government’s commitment to supporting families doing it tough,” Ms Cooke said.

“It’s been fantastic seeing all the little learners at this wonderful preschool having a great day here today, and I’m proud to be part of a Government which is making sure this continues.

“Last year, we announced a $3 million Preschool Drought Relief package for preschools in the Cootamundra electorate and other drought-affected areas of NSW, and the funding was used to reduce fees, allow more flexibility with travel arrangements and increase sustainability.

“This boost will allow preschools in our region to continue to ease the pressures of the drought on our local families.

“The drought is still biting us here in Gundagai, so it is crucial that as a Government we continue to lend a hand where we can.”

Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell said the payments will go to preschools in areas that need it the most.

“Last year, I was made aware of some families making the heartbreaking decision to stop sending their children to preschool because it was just too expensive during these adverse conditions,” Ms Mitchell said.

“The NSW Government knew we needed to help, because every child needs access to those crucial years of preschool education to ensure they’re prepared socially, emotionally and cognitively for primary school.

“Services have so far reduced fees, reduced travel costs for parents who have to travel long distances and invested in their preschools to ensure they can operate as best as possible during these tough conditions.”