Drought Support Funding - guidelines

These guidelines describe the objectives, approach and expectations that underpin drought support funding.


This program is closed and is not open to new applicants.

There are a number of community preschools, mobile preschools and long day care services operating in regional and remote areas in NSW that are affected by drought.

As a result, payments were made to affected community preschools and mobile preschools in October 2018 and February 2019 to support these services to continue to operate in adverse circumstances associated with drought.

To support families to keep children in an early childhood education service and meet educational outcomes, the department is extending drought support funding to long day care services.

From October 2019, drought support payments will be made to community preschools, mobile preschools and long day care services in areas of Intense Drought, Drought and Drought Affected (Intensifying) as set out by the Department of Primary Industries’ Combined Drought Indicator.

The department will invite services to submit an expression of interest (EOI) to receive their drought support funding. EOIs can be submitted until 30 November, with payments made progressively during this period where completion and review of the EOI is finalised.

Service eligibility criteria

Funding has been allocated to eligible community preschool, mobile preschool and long day care services in drought affected areas.

Services need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for funding:

  • be an approved centre-based community preschool, mobile preschool or long day care service operating in NSW
  • be an approved early childhood education and care service under the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations or the Supplementary Provisions Act
  • be located outside of “major cities of Australia”, as per the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia, 2016
  • be located in an “Intense Drought”, “Drought” or “Drought Affected (Intensifying)” parish as per DPI’s CDI data as at 30 June 2019
  • not operated by the NSW Department of Education
  • be registered, or be willing to register, with the Department’s Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS)
  • accept and comply with the Early Childhood Education Grants Programs Terms and Conditions.
  • agree to comply with these Guidelines for Drought Support Funding.

This is a closed funding round not open to applications. The department determines a service’s eligibility. As drought conditions are constantly changing, services that received payment in October 2018 or February 2019 will not necessarily receive funding this round.

Expression of interest (EOI) process

Eligible services are required to submit an expression of interest (EOI) to receive a drought support payment. The EOI can be submitted here and must include how the service intends to spend the funding. Expressions of interest can be submitted up until 30 November 2019. After this date, no more EOIs will be accepted for this round of funding.

Services need to submit one EOI per Service Approval (SE-ID). Mobile services should submit one EOI for the Service Approval of the parent service, not each venue.

Spending rules

The activities funded under drought support payments must commence during the 2019-20 financial year. Funds must be expended by 30 June 2020 or as otherwise agreed in writing with the Department.

Services in receipt of a drought support payment are required to use this funding for initiatives that support the ongoing provision of a preschool program and the sustainability of the service.

Services are encouraged to prioritise activities that maintain preschool participation.

Spending rules will apply in line with relevant requirements under Start Strong Program Guidelines (Community Preschools), Mobile Preschool Contract Guidelines (Mobile Preschools) or Family Assistance Law (Long Day Care services) as outlined below:

  • Initiatives for maintaining preschool participation where drought is limiting access such as:
    • transport initiatives
    • fee subsidies for families.
  • Initiatives aimed at increasing the sustainability of services affected by drought such as:
    • implementing operational changes to service models (any operational changes must be in line with funding guidelines and requirements, for example, Start Strong guidelines for community preschools)
    • forming and implementing sustainability plans
    • staff training related to the impact of drought.
  • Service and environmental adjustments in response to the effects of drought such as:
    • the purchase of water management equipment
    • the repair or enhancement of drought damaged service environments.

Funding amounts

The funding amount for eligible services is determined by the size of the service and its area drought rating (as at 30 June 2019), as outlined in Table 1 below. Eligible services in ‘Intense Drought’ and with maximum approved place numbers of up to 24 are allocated $13,000 while eligible services exceeding 80 places are allocated $26,500. Eligible services in ‘Drought’ with up to 24 places are allocated $6,500 while eligible services exceeding 80 places are allocated $12,500. Eligible services in ‘Drought Affected (Intensifying)’ with up to 24 places are allocated $3,250 while eligible services exceeding 80 places are allocated $6,250.

Table 1: Drought support funding allocations per size of service and drought rating

Maximum approved place numbers

Intense Drought


Drought Affected (intensifying)

24 or less




25 to 59




60 to 80




81 or more




Drought support payments will be made via the Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS).

Payments will be made to eligible services following the submission of an EOI and a review and confirmation of the complete EOI by the Department. EOIs can be submitted until 30 November.

Payments will be completed progressively to accommodate the EOI process and registrations in the ECCMS. The Department encourages services to submit their EOIs as soon as possible to avoid potential delays with their payments.

Drought support payment will only be progressed for services and their providers that are registered in the ECCMS and have accepted the 2019-20 Early Childhood Education Grants Programs Terms and Conditions.

Reporting requirements

A formal acquittal process must be undertaken within one year of the end of the spending period (e.g. within one year of 30 June 2020). The acquittal may include completing a statement of expenditure and applicants may be audited to confirm the accuracy of data provided in this statement.

Services need to expend the funds received:

  • in October 2018 by 30 June 2019
  • in February 2019 by 31 December 2019
  • from October to December 2019 by 30 June 2020.

Additional Information

Contact details

For more information about the drought support payments, please contact the department’s Early Childhood Education Directorate by:

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