Dreamworld owner charged over 2016 ride tragedy

UPDATE @ 10.00am | DREAMWORLD’s parent company, Ardent Leisure, has confirmed charges have been laid over the Thunder River Rapids Ride tragedy, which claimed the lives of four people at the Gold Coast theme park back in 2016.

In a statement to the ASX on Tuesday morning, Ardent Leisure confirmed the Queensland Work Health and Safety Prosecutor had today filed three charges against them, for failing to comply with its health and safety under the Work Health and Safety Act.

Each of the three charges carries a maximum penalty of $1.5 million, meaning the park faces a maximum of $4.5 million in penalties.


“First and foremost, we again express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of Roozbeh Araghi, Luke Dorsett, Kate Goodchild and Cindy Low for their loss and ongoing suffering and say sorry to all of the people impacted by this tragedy,” the statement read.

“There has been considerable change at Dreamworld over the last few years as was acknowledged by the Coroner in his Report. Dreamworld has taken substantive and proactive steps to improve safety across the entire park and continues to enhance existing systems and practices, as well as adopt new ones, as we develop and implement our safety case in accordance with the Queensland Government’s new major amusement park safety regulations.

“The new leadership team is committed to continuing to improve and enhance safety systems and practices with the aim of becoming a global industry leader in theme park safety and operations.”

The Office of Industrial Relations has confirmed the three charges allege the company “failed to comply with its primary safety duty under s.19(2) of the Act.”

It is alleged Ardent Leisure failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable:

  1. the provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures;
  2. provision and maintenance of safe systems or work; and
  3. the provision of information, training, instruction or supervision that was necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking

The charges will be heard in the Southport Magistrates Court on July 29.

EARLIER @ 6.20am | Charges are expected to be laid against Dreamworld’s parent company as early as today, over the 2016 tragedy which saw four people lose their lives.

Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett and Roozi Araghi were all killed when the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned in October 25, 2016.

Nine is reporting that the independent prosecutor from the Office of Workplace and Safety has concluded his assessment, and is currently working to contact the families of the victims, before issuing a statement.

The charges are expected to be laid against Ardent Leisure as early as today, following a scathing coronial inquest which was handed down in February.

It found there were systemic failures at the theme park, and that it was only a matter of time before the tragedy happened.

The Coroner referred Ardent Leisure to the Office for possible prosecution over the findings, with legal experts at the time saying it was more than likely someone would be facing jail time.

Related article: Dreamworld owner referred for possible prosecution over ride tragedy

Meanwhile, Dreamworld is still yet to reopen its doors after closing during the coronavirus shutdown. It’s been closed since March and is yet to confirm when it will reopen.