Preschools and Long Day Care services in the region will receive a much-needed funding boost, thanks to the NSW Government’s Preschool Drought Relief program.
Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said 38 services across the region including Yass, Crookwell Boorowa, Goulburn and Moss Vale will be eligible to submit an ‘expression of interest’ to receive additional drought relief funding, which can be used to reduce fees, implement transport initiatives, staff training and environmental adjustments.
“This funding will ensure early childhood services in our region continue to operate, despite the potential drop in enrolments because of the drought,” Mrs Tuckerman said.
“In tough conditions like these, it is vital we continue to ensure our children have access to normality and stability in the form of school and early childhood learning.”
Anglicare is one provider of early learning services already benefiting from this funding.
Melissa Byrne, Director of Marulan and Orana preschools says Anglicare welcomes the new funding.
“Our teams know the needs of our local families and understand the importance of giving children that foundational early learning support. This funding helps ensure children don’t miss out.
“As more families are impacted by the drought, it’s reassuring to know that this funding is flexible enough to allow us to offer additional and tailored support. We work with families who are struggling to make sure their children can still access services.
“Orana Preschool has installed new shade sails to offer greater sun protection for our children and renovations are underway to install water-saving taps in the children’s bathroom.”
Local mother, Kate, has two children participating in Anglicare’s early learning programs and she also welcomes the funding announcement.
“Our family lives at Kingsdale and we’re on rainwater but because of the drought we now have to pay for town water. It’s stretching the family budget in ways we didn’t expect.
“Knowing that services like Anglicare’s will be resourced to help families if they need it is a real relief,” says Kate.
Her youngest son attends Anglicare’s Family Day Care, and her oldest son attends Orana Preschool.
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the funding will help alleviate some of the pressures families are facing in the bush.
“Whether they are from Bourke or Bondi, every child deserves access to top-quality early childhood education,” Ms Mitchell said.
“Our country kids must have access to the same services as their city counterparts; times are tough, but as a Government, we must continue to prioritise the support of our regional families.”
Community and mobile preschools and long day care services in areas classified as “Intense Drought”, “Drought” and “Drought Affected” can submit their expressions of interest via the Department of Education. Following the expressions of interest, funding will be allocated to services based on their size and level of drought intensity.