A Gold Coast childcare centre has copped a hefty fine after two young children escaped from the facility before being found alongside a busy road.
The two-year-olds got out of the Okee Dokee Early Learning Centre at Coomera Rivers in October last year after a gate was reportedly left open.
The toddlers were later spotted on Foxwell Rd, with witnesses at the time describing how they were within inches of oncoming traffic.
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The Education Department launched legal action against the centre alleging it failed to provide children with adequate supervision, failed to take precaution to protect children from harm and hazards likely to cause injury, failed to ensure the children did not leave the premises and failed to take reasonable steps to ensure staff followed safe environment policies and procedures.
The centre has been fined $15,600 in Southport Magistrates Court on Monday.
The Education Department says it welcomes the fine.
“The penalties imposed reflect the seriousness of these offences under the National Law and National Regulations and the prosecution sends a strong message to all approved providers about their responsibilities to closely supervise and protect the children in their care from risk of harm,” The Department said in a statement.
“In particular, Magistrate White noted there is a high level of trust placed in a service by parents and this incident could have resulted in death or serious injury.
“In setting the fine, the Magistrate considered the defendant’s remorse, cooperation with the Regulatory Authority and its prompt response to the incident.
“It is critical that everyone involved in the provision of education and care to children is aware of the importance of active supervision, and this case shows the serious consequences that can result when children are not adequately supervised.”