One of Australia’s biggest after-school child care providers has been fined repeatedly breaching teacher-child ratios. Photo: iStock
One of Australia’s biggest after-school child care providers has been fined repeatedly breaching teacher-child ratios. Photo: iStock

Major Queensland child care centre fined $45,000

ONE of the nation's biggest after-school child care providers has been slugged $45,000 in fines for repeatedly breaching teacher-child ratios at centres on the Gold Coast.

Camp Australia and the Camp Australia Foundation pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court this morning to more than 30 charges between them.

The charges all relate to not providing enough educators for the number of children and not keeping correct records at child care centres on the Gold Coast between December 2016 and April 2017.

Magistrate Mark Howden fined Camp Australia Foundation $25,000 and Camp Australia $20,000.

"They are not inexperienced small-scale operators," he said. "They are a leading large-scale operator in Australia."

Under Australian law there must be at least one educator for every 15 children over school age.

In some cases there was more than twice the number of children per educator regulated under the guidelines.

It was alleged that on one occasion there were at least 31 children and only two educators at the child care provider's Varsity College Outside School Hours Care.

Other after-school services affected include Emmanuel College Outside School Hours Care, Park Lake Outside School Hours Care, Tambourine Mountain Outside School Hours Care, Coomera Springs Outside School Hours Care, Tallebudgera State School Outside School Hours Care and Currumbin State School Outside School Hours Care.

Magistrate Howden gave Camp Australia three months to pay.

No conviction was recorded.

Outside court a spokesman for Camp Australia said since the breaches they had "invested significantly in people systems and processes".

"We cannot make any excuses for the mistakes of the past and we are committed to the

highest standards going forward," he said.

Changes made include new procedures to attract and train staff, investment in online rostering tools, removals of paper-based time sheets, a capping system on bookings, changes to staffing structures to include back-up educators and new roles focuses on safety and compliance.

"We want to reassure schools, families and regulatory departments that Camp Australia has been working proactively to ensure our systems and processes are consistently improved and followed so we can deliver the highest standard of care," the spokesman said.