A White Rock storm water drain has been fenced to reduce the drowning risk for children attending the new kindergarten at White Rock State School.

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the fence has been a known local issue.

“When I visited the kindergarten site prior to construction last year, the acting principal made me aware of the problem,” Mr Pitt said.

“While the drain has always been fenced on the school side it has been open on the road side.

“I made the Education Minister aware of the problem and approached Councillor Rob Pyne suggesting the state government and council split the costs.

“While nothing can replace adult supervision or educating children about the dangers of playing in storm water drains, the fence barrier will be a great safety measure.”

Cairns Regional Councillor for Division Three Rob Pyne said the Dillon Close drain runs beside the school and carries significant stormwater from Mt Sheridan.

“The drain is usually empty, which can create complacency, but locals know when a storm comes the drain has a very fast and deep flow,” Cr Pyne said.

“I will sleep a little better knowing the fence has gone in.”

Mr Pitt said the new kindergarten was constructed 12 months ahead of time to meet growing demand for early childhood services in the Cairns area.

““The kindergarten is part of our government’s commitment to provide up to 240 extra kindergarten services in areas of need by 2014 to help give Queensland children a flying start to life,” Mr Pitt said.

“They are an investment in the future of young Queenslanders and their families and contribute to the government’s commitment to giving all children the best possible start in life.

“Locating kindergarten services with schools helps children with their transition to Prep because they are already familiar with the school environment, and it is convenient for parents who have older children attending the school.

“Forty per cent of kindy-aged children were enrolled in a kindergarten program in 2010 which exceeded our target of 36 per cent for the year.

“The Queensland and Australian Governments are committed to increasing the percentage of four- year-olds participating in a kindergarten program to 95 per cent by mid-2013.”