NSW Nationals Education Minister Sarah Mitchell

Support for drought and bushfire impacted regional communities across NSW is continuing with the NSW Nationals in the state government announcing the extension of the Drought Entitlement Maintenance Program to 2023 to keep teachers in rural public schools.

Deputy Premier NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro and Education Minister Sarah Mitchell announced the extension of the program, continuing our commitment to supporting regional communities hardest hit by drought and bushfires by locking in staffing numbers at local schools.

Mr Barilaro said that regional communities need support from the NSW Nationals in the state government now more than ever before, despite conditions improving across the state.

“The last few years have shown us that schools really are the heart of our communities, so it is critical we support them to keep their staff regardless of fluctuations in enrolments,” Mr Barilaro said.

“This program will support our regional kids, keep families employed, and help make our regional communities strong again.”

NSW Nationals Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the Entitlement Maintenance Program began in 2018, in acknowledgement of the fact that enrolments in schools might have wavered due to the relentless nature of the drought, posing the risk of decreasing staff numbers.

“I know how crucial it has been to provide students and families with stability throughout some of the toughest years our state has ever seen,” Ms Mitchell said.

“With drought, bushfires, floods and a global pandemic, kids need consistent support from principals, teachers and school staff who they know and trust.”

Ms Mitchell added that the schools currently involved in the Entitlement Maintenance Program will automatically have their staffing numbers extended; meaning schools won’t have to reapply for these positions.

“255 schools in regional and remote parts of NSW will benefit from the extension of this program, which is a great thing for our country kids,” Ms Mitchell said.