Drought-affected families across regional NSW will get some relief with the Nationals in Government announcing financial support for community preschools.

NSW Nationals Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell and Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a new $3 million package while visiting Dubbo, allowing more flexibility with travel arrangements and future-proof services so they were more resilient and better-equipped to cope when challenging circumstances arose.

Ms Mitchell said it was crucial to support families to ensure children always had access to top quality early childhood education, no matter where they lived or what their circumstances were.

“We understand there are numerous social and economic flow-on effects from the drought, which affect businesses in every town and small community,” 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.”

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the 2018 Drought Relief Payments would ensure early childhood education services could continue to operate during adverse economic conditions associated with the drought period.

“Services 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 Berejiklian said. “This year has been one of the driest winters on record, which is why the NSW Government has committed more than $1 billion to date to help those who are struggling.”

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

Further information is also available on the Department of Education website.