Parents in NSW will not have to pay preschools fees for up to six months thanks to a $51 million funding package announced by the NSW Nationals in Government.

The Government has also committed up to $82 million to support 260 council childcare centres who are not eligible for the JobKeeper payments.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the funding meant community preschools and council childcare centres would be required to remain open, unless they were closed on health advice.

“Preschools and council childcare centres will now have the peace of mind that they will be financially viable, and parents will benefit from the relief of not having to pay any fees,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Families and children can now also be assured that their preschool service will continue to operate, providing some familiarity for them during these trying times.”

This funding is on top of the Government’s commitment to maintain Start Strong funding for preschools based on service enrolments before COVID-19.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said preschools and early childhood educators are vital to the community, and it is important parents continue to have access to childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Parents are under a lot of pressure at the moment and it’s crucial for them to continue to have access to childcare, particularly those working on the frontline during this crisis,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This will also provide funding certainty during an unpredictable time, ensuring preschool teachers and educators can be confident they will remain employed.

“This will provide financial relief to families during the pandemic and ensure childcare centres remain viable into the future.”

The funding will be available to 700 State-funded community preschools and 38 mobile services that provide care to 45,000 three to five year olds.