Tourism

Ardent Leisure hit with record $3.6m fine over Dreamworld tragedy

Ardent Leisure has been handed what it has described as “the largest fine in Queensland history for a workplace tragedy” over the deaths of four patrons at Dreamworld in 2016.

The ASX-listed company pleaded guilty to a trio of charges brought against it by prosecutors for Queensland Work Health and Safety in the Southport Magistrates Court in late July. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.

The prosecutors claimed that Ardent Leisure failed to comply with health and safety duty, leading to the deaths of Roozbeh Araghi, Luke Dorsett, Kate Goodchild and Cindy Low while they were all on the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld more than four years ago.

Ardent Leisure chairman Dr Gary Weiss and CEO John Osborne, who were both appointed to their respective roles in the years following the tragic incident, said in a joint statement yesterday that the company had accepted the court’s decision to impose $3.6 million fine.

“Ardent apologises unreservedly for the past circumstances and failures at Dreamworld that resulted in the tragic loss of four lives and for the deep and ongoing impact on so many people: the families and friends of those who passed away, other guests, first responders, emergency services, Dreamworld team members, and the many other people involved who have also been affected,” the statement read.

“The Ardent board and the new Dreamworld leadership team would like to express their deepest sympathies to the families of Roozbeh Araghi, Luke Dorsett, Kate Goodchild and Cindy Low for the enormous loss to each of them from the terrible tragedy which occurred at Dreamworld, nearly four years ago, and the ongoing suffering from that loss.

“Ardent accepts responsibility for this tragedy without qualification or reservation.

“Following the first public hearing in June 2018, Ardent indicated that it would implement all of the coroner’s recommendations, and more recently, it pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to all three charges brought by the Work Health and Safety prosecutor.”

Weiss and Osborne said there has been “considerable change” at Dreamworld over the last few years driven by its new leadership team, which has resulted in a “complete overhaul” of the theme park’s safety systems.

Ardent Leisure’s bosses also noted that the majority of families, first responders and others impacted by the tragedy have received compensation.

“The Ardent board has, and continues to, press for the expeditious resolution of the remaining claims noting that, in the case of compensation for minors, the court’s approval is required before compensation can be finalised,” the statement read.

“The construction of the Memorial Garden announced in February was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this project will recommence in the next few months following consultation with immediate family members.

“We sincerely hope the finalisation of the prosecution will go some way towards furthering the healing process for families and all those impacted by the tragedy.”


Featured image source: iStock/catchlights_sg

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Cruise

Viking ups its marketing tools for Aussie agents

Looking to impress your friends and colleagues with some very specific cruise ship fun facts? You’ve come to the right place.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Giant 2,000-year-old cat mural found in Peru

A huge drawing of a cat relaxing has been uncovered in Peru’s Nazca Desert, and now we know where we’re headed the second international borders open.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Queensland to reopen borders to NSW (except for Sydney)

Sydneysiders were seen kicking cans down the street this morning while shaking their fists in Queensland’s general direction following the announcement.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Helloworld’s retail network “largely intact”, as company lays out border and travel ‘bubble’ forecasts

by Huntley Mitchell

Travel Weekly has poured over Helloworld’s quarterly update to bring you this package of highlights.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Emirates unveils new NDC-powered gateway for travel agents

Have you always found Emirates’ online trade platform to be a little clunky and lacking in capabilities? Relieve your tech-induced pain here.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Velocity Frequent Flyer partners with Hertz-owned car share company

Are you seeking other ways to boost your Velocity points than by buying a case of Virgin Wines or signing up for another credit card? Look no further.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

NSW introduces strict new laws to regulate short-term rental market

The new laws include a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ approach for irresponsible hosts. However, that’s not to say they will be forced to wield baseball bats or chew tobacco.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Royal Caribbean updates 2021/22 Aussie sailings

The cruise line has also launched a new agent-focused campaign to help you get clients booking early.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Intrepid slashes prices for NT trips

Show your clients that they don’t need to leave the country to experience epic scenery with this banger deal from Intrepid.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qatar Airways entangled in online recruitment scam

Adding to its already horrendous news week, the airline has become embroiled in an online recruitment scam.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

“It’s good business to have”: Contiki boss talks pivoting to domestic and why agents should target youth travellers

Adam Armstrong began his stint at Contiki at an interesting time, to say the least. Here’s his game plan for the brand and his advice for agents.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Flight Centre boss demands proof of Queensland’s border closure advice

Skroo’s patience with the Queensland government is wearing thin, after making yet another request to see the medical advice that influenced the state’s border closure.

Share

CommentComments