Ardent Leisure has been formally charged over the tragic death of four people on 26 October 2016 when the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.
A coronial inquest was conducted into the tragedy which heard that a water pump feeding the ride had broken down causing a sudden drop in the water levels.
The inquest made findings of a series of failures at the park. These included safety and maintenance systems that the coroner described as “rudimentary at best” and “frighteningly unsophisticated”.
Coroner James McDougall stated there had been a “systemic failure by Dreamworld in relation to all aspects of safety”. Mr McDougall further stated that he was referring parent company Ardent Leisure to the Office of Industrial Relations for a possible breach of workplace laws.
Ardent Leisure released a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange that three charges had been filed against the company under the Work Health and Safety Act (‘the Act’). They indicated that they would update the market when the matter has been determined.
The charges allege that the company failed to comply with a health and safety duty which exposes an individual to a risk of death or serious injury. The charges laid are the maximum charges that are in the Act.
Under the Act each breach holds a maximum penalty of 1.5 million, or 4.5 million in total.
Queensland Industrial Relations Minister Grace said she welcomed the charges laid by the Work Health and Safety prosecutors and was supportive of swift action.
These charges against Ardent Leisure are next before the Southport Magistrates Court on 29 July 2020.