Queensland announces major changes to theme park safety following Dreamworld disaster

EVERY single amusement ride at every show and theme park in Queensland will be operated only by a person who has undergone extensive training and been assessed as competent under proposed regulatory changes.

Theme parks will also be required to develop a comprehensive and integrated plan for managing safety, as well as comply with mandatory major inspections of all rides.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace on Thursday announced that the Palaszczuk Government would set world-class safety standards for the theme park and amusement ride industry.


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The reforms come almost two years after four people were killed when the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned at Dreamworld in 2016.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of Queensland families and visitors to our great state,” Ms Grace said.

“We are absolutely committed to doing all we can to provide the highest safety standards and public confidence when it comes to rides at carnivals, school fairs and our major theme parks.”

Ms Grace said Queensland’s Amusement Device Working Group will receive the draft Work Health and Safety (Amusement Devices – Public Safety) Amendment Regulation 2018 as part of ongoing consultation.

“This signals the final stages of the development of these important reforms,” she said.

“Importantly, the Coroner overseeing the Dreamworld Inquest will also be provided with a copy of the proposed regulation changes and will also be consulted.”

Ms Grace said the proposed regulatory changes centred around four key areas, them being:

  • Mandatory requirements for ride operators to be fully-trained and competent;
  • Mandatory major inspections of all amusement and theme park rides;
  • Major theme parks to develop and implement a comprehensive and integrated safety management system; and
  • Additional record keeping through detailed log books.

“Mandatory training and competency requirements will mean every amusement and theme park ride in Queensland will be operated by a person who has been properly trained and assessed as competent,” Ms Grace said.

“This means amusement rides at our big theme parks right down to a local show or fairs will be subject to major and comprehensive inspections every ten years, unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer.”

Ms Grace said these inspections may involve completely stripping down a ride to ensure its integrity, including the removal of paint and grease.

“These mandatory checks will be on top of our existing inspection and testing regime, which includes annual inspections and regular maintenance inspections,” she said.

Ms Grace said Queensland’s major theme parks will also be required to develop a comprehensive and integrated plan for managing safety.

“These plans will detail every aspect of park safety, from ride inspection details, to training of operators, to detailed risk assessments, to emergency plans and everything in between,” she said.

Engineers and specialist WHSQ inspectors will routinely audit the major theme parks against these comprehensive plans, along with other legislative and regulatory requirements.

Amusement ride owners travelling around the show circuit and school fairs will also be required to keep detailed individual ride log books, that must include:

  • The name of trained ride operators and training details;
  • Major inspections details of the ride, including results of the inspection and what repairs have been made; and
  • Any statutory notices issued by WHSQ in relation to the ride.

These changes will ensure this important information is readily accessible to WHSQ Inspectors, engineers who audit agricultural shows, and organisers of school fairs and local shows.

Ms Grace said the Queensland Government would also consider the development of a code of practice, to support the regulations.

“The code of practice may include provisions relating to training delivery, identification cards for ride operators and publicly displayed certificates on rides,” she said.

“The regulations are expected to be in place by the end of the year, or as soon as practically possible.”

Ms Grace said today’s announcement coincides with WHSQ’s annual audit of amusement rides at Queensland’s biggest show – the Ekka.

“Before and during the 141st Royal Queensland Show, WHSQ will work closely with the RNA, ride operators and their representatives. This will include a full audit of all 34 rides at the Ekka,” she said.

“Shortly after that carnival leaves town, the attention turns to yet another comprehensive audit of the major theme parks – the third in as many years.”

Between 20 August and 21 September 2018, Queensland’s theme parks will be audited by WHSQ and Electrical Safety Office inspectors to enforce compliance with workplace laws in Queensland.

Jaydan is a Digital News Producer at myGC.com.au. He was appointed Managing Editor of the Junee Southern Cross newspaper at the age of 17 and has since held positions in a number of newsrooms in New South Wales and Queensland. Jaydan joined the Hot Tomato Broadcasting Company in 2013 and has been keeping the Gold Coast up to date with the latest local, national and international news online at myGC.com.au ever since. With almost ten years’ experience in both print and digital media Jaydan is committed to providing the best coverage during major news and weather events.

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