A daycare centre has been heavily fined after a five-year-old child was left alone on a bus for more than half an hour.
The child was only discovered when a parent arrived at Garfields Learnaversity in Australind, about 160km south of Perth, and spotted them in the vehicle outside the centre, a Department of Communities investigation found.
The child was left unsupervised on the bus for a total of 31 minutes, the probe into the October 2022 incident discovered.
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The State Administrative Tribunal fined the approved provider $31,000 for a number of breaches including inadequate supervision, a lack of child harm and hazard protection, and because the service did not meet minimum staffing requirements.
The centre, which was sought for comment, also failed to alert the department that the serious incident had occurred.
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It is understood the child was physically unharmed but distressed when finally found.
The department’s regulation and quality executive director Phil Payne said poor supervision was a “major concern” in the education and care sector, even though the message is regularly driven home directly to providers.
“These notifications warn of the dangers when children are left in locked vehicles and offer support by providing advice on how to prevent incidents like this from occurring,” Payne said.
Payne said the bus scare happened before fresh transport regulations introduced in March to reduce the risk of children being accidentally forgotten inside vehicles.
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