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Dreamworld operator Ardent Leisure plead guilty to three charges

Dreamworld operator Ardent Leisure has pleaded guilty to three charges relating to the horrific death of four people on a ride in October 2016.  

It’s alleged the operator failed to comply with its health and safety duty, putting theme park guests at risk of serious injury or death.

Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi were killed when a water pump on the famous ride malfunctioned, causing water levels to fall dangerously low. 

The charges were brought before Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday by Queensland’s Workplace Health and Safety prosecutor Aaron Guilfoyle.

Mr Guilfoyle alleges Ardent Leisure failed to provide and maintain safe plant and structures and systems of work at the iconic Gold Coast theme park. 

The company also allegedly failed to provide the information, training, instruction or supervision necessary to protect people from risk.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $1.5 million – $4.5 million in total.

In February, Coroner James McDougall referred Ardent Leisure to the Office of Industrial Relations, saying there was a ‘systemic failure’ at Dreamworld in all aspects of safety.

The inquest also found there had been no thorough engineering risk assessment of the Thunder River Rapids in the 30 years it was open to the public.

Dreamworld presented itself as a modern, world-class theme park, but its ‘frighteningly unsophisticated’ safety procedures were ‘rudimentary at best’, he said while delivering the inquest findings.

The victims’ raft collided with another after becoming stuck in the low water.

It partially flipped, flinging the group into the mechanised conveyor that moved the rafts.

The malfunction was the third that day and the fifth in a week, and no automated shutdown function was installed despite recommendations.

Ms Goodchild’s 12-year-old daughter and Ms Low’s 10-year-old son survived the incident.

The matter has been set down for a lengthy hearing on September 28.

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