Funds for drought affected preschool families

Ed, Those of us lucky enough to live in regional communities know that we are bred to be resilient, particularly in tough times.  As a mother I know that juggling work and family commitments isn’t easy and for many families with young children, as this crippling drought persists, things are getting harder and harder.             It was brought to my attention that as the dry conditions continue to bite, some families were making the tough call to stop sending their children to preschool because they simply couldn’t afford it. Early childhood education is so important. It’s the foundation upon which our children can keep building so they can reach their full potential. It would be such a heartbreaking decision to sacrifice your child’s development because you’re worried about putting food on the table at home. That’s why I was proud to announce today that the NSW Government is committing $3 million to community preschools across the state who have been hardest hit by this year’s drought. The 2018 Drought Relief Payments can be used by preschools to reduce fees, allow more flexibility with travel arrangements and future proofing services so they are more resilient and better equipped to cope when challenging circumstances arise in the future. I believe it is absolutely crucial that as a Government, we continue to give support to ensure all children, whether they are from Bathurst or Bourke, will always have access to preschool, because we all know the immeasurable benefits a quality early childhood education has on our children’s social, cognitive and emotional skills. This year has been one of the driest on record, which is why the NSW Government has committed more than $1 billion to date to help those who are struggling. I know that times are tough. However, as Minister for Early Childhood Education, making sure that this dry time impacts our children’s development as little as possible will remain a top priority, and I will continue to look at ways to help make life easier for those doing it tough. Sarah Mitchell Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Minister for Early Childhood Education Assistant Minister for Education