DREAMWORLD'S chief executive has been ousted and a new leadership group is to be appointed, as the owner vowed yesterday to implement "lock, stock and barrel" the recommendations from a damning coroner's inquest into the deaths of four people on a ride at the theme park.

Ardent Leisure, which owns Dreamworld, has said it will be among the safest theme parks in the world once safety measures, design improvements and new rides are operational.

"We need to once again earn the trust of our visitors,'' said Ardent chairman Gary Weiss.

Dreamworld chief executive Craig Davidson resigned late on Friday. He will be replaced in the short term by Nicole Noye, a senior manager at Ardent. A global search is underway for a new chief executive.

Ardent Leisure has vowed to make Dreamworld an exemplar of world’s-best safety practices.
Ardent Leisure has vowed to make Dreamworld an exemplar of world’s-best safety practices.

Mr Weiss was at pains to point out that nothing he said would erase the trauma for the families of those who perished. Kate Goodchild, Cindy Low, Roozi Araghi and Luke Dorsett died in October 2016 after a catastrophic failure in safety protocols at the Thunder River Rapids ride. Their families solely blame Dreamworld for the tragedy.

Over the past two weeks evidence has been heard at the inquest detailing a litany of poor safety procedures, including the extraordinary revelation that the failed water pump, the cause of the tragedy, had malfunctioned five times - including twice that day.

The exact same circumstance, in which rafts collided and were flung into the air, occurred 15 years earlier. Nobody was in the rafts at the time.

"I am deeply concerned by what has emerged (in evidence) over the past fortnight,'' Mr Weiss said.

"To successfully rebirth Dreamworld, we have to earn trust again.

"Success now is that we have a theme park that is best of breed, anchored by a world-class safety-first environment. We want our visitors and staff to be knowingly participating in a totally safe environment.''

Mr Weiss said Dreamworld's senior leadership team would be "significantly restructured to continue to bolster delivery of its drive to embed global best-practice in all aspects of theme park operations''.

Ardent chairman Gary Weiss says: “We will never forget the events of that tragic day of October 25, 2016.” Picture: Glenn Hunt
Ardent chairman Gary Weiss says: “We will never forget the events of that tragic day of October 25, 2016.” Picture: Glenn Hunt

He said Dreamworld was committed to continuous enhancements in ride safety and all elements of safety systems and procedures.

He also said Ardent would:

• Commit to the implementation of all coronial inquest recommendations in consultation with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the theme park industry;

• Continue to implement safety systems and procedures across the park, with ongoing support from external specialists;

• Appoint three highly experienced executives as it continues its drive to deliver global best practices across all aspects of its theme park operations.

"We will never forget the events of that tragic day of October 25, 2016,'' Mr Weiss said.

"I can only again say how profoundly sorry we are to the families and all those so deeply impacted by this tragedy.

"Every single member of our Ardent and Dreamworld team shares my deep sense of grief for what occurred.

"Like everyone else, I have been deeply concerned by what has emerged from the inquiry over the past fortnight, and this is why it is important that we listen to the evidence, understand all we can, and apply the lessons learned to ensure such accidents never occur at our parks."

Mr Weiss said he visited Dreamworld earlier this year with his family.

"If it's a case of the chef eating his own food, yes, I have been to the park, and we as a family had a great time enjoying all the rides,'' he said.

Mr Weiss added: "I can assure the public that our focus on safety improvements and enhancements has been ongoing for some time and the new executive appointments will continue to drive that process.

"Dreamworld continues to work with Workplace Health and Safety authorities, implementing measures already recommended since 2016, and provide support to our former and current staff who are assisting the coroner to understand how this tragedy occurred," Mr Weiss said.

"We are committed to ensuring Dreamworld becomes recognised as Australia's global benchmark for theme park safety. The Ardent board has no greater priority."



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