Support for drought and bushfire impacted regional communities across NSW is continuing through public schools, with the NSW Government announcing the extension of the Drought Entitlement Maintenance Program to 2023 to keep teachers in rural schools.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell announced the extension of the program today, continuing the Government’s commitment to supporting regional communities hardest hit by drought and bushfires by locking in staffing numbers at local schools.
Mr Barilaro said regional communities need support from governments now more than ever, despite conditions improving across the state and this announcement reaffirms the NSW Government’s commitment to boosting jobs in the regions.
“Regional communities have done it tough over the last few years and we know how important our schools are when it comes to keeping life in country towns. That is why the NSW Nationals are committed to providing stability for our students by supporting schools to keep their staff, regardless of fluctuations in enrolments,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This program will support our regional kids, keep families local, provide crucial jobs in country towns and keep our regional communities strong. Every additional teaching job means an extra family in town, shopping at local stores and injecting money into local economies.”
Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the Entitlement Maintenance Program began in 2018, in acknowledgement of the fact that enrolments in schools might have fluctuated 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.
“268 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.