The Press

Dreamworld firm pleads guilty

-

Dreamworld’s parent company Ardent Leisure has pleaded guilty to the three charges laid regarding the Thunder River Rapids Ride malfunctio­n that killed four people.

During proceeding­s in Southport Magistrate­s Court yesterday morning, a sentencing hearing was set for September 28 following the company’s guilty plea.

Queensland’s independen­t Work Health and Safety Prosecutor Aaron Guilfoyle alleged in his charges that Ardent Leisure failed to provide proper maintenanc­e to its equipment, adequate safety procedures and proper safety training for its employees.

The charges each attract a maximum penalty of A$1.5 million (NZ$1.6 million), meaning Ardent Leisure is facing potential total fines of A$4.5m.

The ride fault killed Sydney mother Cindy Low, a New Zealander, Canberra mother Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi

Araghi on October 25, 2016.

The raft carrying the four victims and an empty raft collided at the end of the ride’s conveyor belt, causing the riders’ raft to flip over.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said yesterday the 2016 incident was ‘‘an absolute tragedy’’.

‘‘I’m quite sure that the families want closure. But … that is a matter for Dreamworld so I don’t want to comment on any further action that could be taken there,’’ she said.

After lengthy inquest hearings at Southport in 2018, Coroner James McDougall handed down a scathing report into the tragedy on February 20, 2020.

The report said it was ‘‘very fortunate’’ nobody else was killed on the ride before the 2016 tragedy.

McDougall said there was a ‘‘systemic failure’’ by the theme park in relation to ‘‘all aspects’’ of safety.

‘‘There is no evidence that Dreamworld ever conducted a proper risk assessment of the ride in its 30 years of commission.’’

McDougall said it was ‘‘unfathomab­le’’ that hazard management fell to ride operators and staff who identified risks, rather than through formal engineerin­g inspection­s.

The lax approach to safety, McDougall said, made such a tragedy much more likely.

‘‘It was simply a matter of time. That time came on October 25, 2016,’’ he said.

Queensland Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said last week she was pleased with the action the prosecutor had taken in laying ‘‘the maximum charges in the act’’.

‘‘I’m very supportive of his swift action in relation to this. It was a recommenda­tion from the coroner to the independen­t prosecutor, and those charges have now been laid in the courts,’’ Grace said. – Nine

 ??  ?? Sydney mother Cindy Low, left, along with Canberra visitors Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett, and his partner Roozi Araghi were all killed at Dreamworld in 2016.
Sydney mother Cindy Low, left, along with Canberra visitors Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett, and his partner Roozi Araghi were all killed at Dreamworld in 2016.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand