Categorized | Fremantle, Rockingham

Camp Australia coughs up $52,500

CHRIS THOMSON

EXCLUSIVE: Camp Australia – which runs 400 care centres for 50,000 children nationwide – has been fined $52,500 for inadequately supervising minors at seven schools in Perth’s western, southern and northern suburbs.

In his decision published today, State Administrative Tribunal Deputy President David Parry noted the private company had contravened Western Australia’s child care legislation 13 times between January 2010 and June 2011.

The breaches occurred during Camp Australia childcare sessions at Christchurch Grammar School, and Cottesloe, Freshwater Bay, Swanbourne, Rockingham Beach, North Morley and Richmond primary schools.

The fact the breaches continued for between 108 and 341 days was considered by Judge Parry to be an aggravating factor. The average period of contravention at each school was almost six months.

SKILLS SHORTAGE

Camp Australia told Judge Parry the breaches were caused by a severe skills shortage, after 59 per cent of its staff turned over in 2010 and 36 per cent in 2011.

The company said that pausing services at the seven Perth schools while there was no supervising officer present would have had a ‘catastrophic effect’ for families with working parents.

At an earlier tribunal hearing, Camp Australia had admitted it failed at various times to ensure a supervising officer was present at the seven schools.

It also admitted to not immediately telling the Department for Communities when the supervising officers based at six of the schools resigned.

NO NOTICE

At the latest hearing, the department argued Camp Australia should be required to display a notice at the schools to tell parents of the tribunal findings.

Judge Parry considered this was not needed because the fine achieved the “protective purpose” of the tribunal case.

Before he retired late last year, Cottesloe Primary School principal Greg Teede provided a testimony for the Camp Australia website.

“Camp Australia has provided a successful and effective out of school hours care program at Cottesloe Primary School since 2009,” the website quotes Mr Teede as saying.

“Camp Australia staff continually demonstrate high standards of professional conduct and actively interact with students who attend the out of school hours care program sessions.

“The sessions range from meal preparation through to learning activities, sport and play.

“Cottesloe parent feedback indicates a high level of satisfaction in the provision of care for the children and the quality of the overall program.”

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