Grans & Co. Pty. Ltd. has been fined $34,500 in Brisbane Magistrates Court, following multiple incidents occurring at Frogtastic Educational Kindergarten and Childcare, in Bundaberg, between February 2021 and July 2022. The court also awarded $3,000 in costs to the department.
The incidents included leaving a 4-year-old child unattended on a service bus for approximately 5–15 minutes, leaving a 2-year-old child unsupervised in the playground for approximately 2 minutes, and 2 children aged 5 and 6 leaving the service premises unsupervised for 30–45 minutes.
As a result of these incidents, the department, as Regulatory Authority for early childhood education and care services in Queensland, took legal action against Grans & Co. Pty. Ltd. for failure to protect children from harm and hazards, failure to provide adequate supervision, and failure to comply with compliance directions.
The prosecution was heard in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 7 February 2024 and sends a strong message to all approved providers that they have an overriding responsibility to ensure children are adequately supervised and protected from harm, and that they must respond to compliance actions as directed by the Regulatory Authority.
The fine of $34,500 reflects the seriousness of these multiple offences.
In reaching her decision, Chief Magistrate Janelle Brassington commented that, given the purpose of the national framework and legislation is to protect children, it is important that the penalty imposed have a significant deterrent aspect.
The Chief Magistrate noted the defendant had no prior history and that they had entered pleas of guilty.
No convictions were recorded.
The Regulatory Authority will continue to work with the early childhood education and care sector to promote high standards of compliance where all children attending early childhood services receive safe care.
Where inadequate steps are taken to protect the health and safety of children, the Regulatory Authority will not hesitate to take appropriate action.