Categorized | Fremantle

Camp Australia loses a child

CHRIS THOMSON

EXCLUSIVE: Serial offending Camp Australia – which runs 400 care centres for 50,000 children nationwide – has been fined $8000 after failing to report in a timely fashion the disappearance of a boy who, unsupervised, walked 1.4 kilometres home across busy Perth roads.

Orders published today by State Administrative Tribunal president Jeremy Curthoys compel the Victorian-based daycare company to pay Western Australia’s Department of Local Government and Communities a penalty of $8000 and $1000 for the department’s legal costs.

On the afternoon of August 6 last year, at the Camp Australia daycare outlet at Richmond Primary School in East Fremantle, a boy, 8, left the centre and walked 1.4 kilometres home on his own.

On the walk home the boy crossed major roads.

His absence was not noted for 15 minutes, and he remained absent from Camp Australia until his mother called to say her son had unexpectedly shown up.

She then returned the boy to Camp Australia.

Before Justice Curthoys, the company admitted it had breached a national law by failing to ensure that all children being educated and cared for were adequately supervised at all times. 

Camp Australia did not tell the department about the boy’s disappearance until August 11, five days after the incident.

In so doing, the company again breached the national law by failing to tell authorities within 24 hours that a serious incident had occurred.

The boy’s disappearance is not the first time Camp Australia’s Western Australian operations have come under legal fire.

In 2012, oneperth.com.au revealed the company had been fined $52,500 for inadequately supervising minors at seven schools in Perth’s western, southern and northern suburbs.

After his disappearance and re-emergence the boy remained enrolled with Camp Australia.

Camp Australia removed a staff member from Richmond Primary School and reallocated her to another site more suited to her skill set.

The company retrained its service staff, and has since used the boy’s disappearance as a case study for national training.

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