POLICE CONCLUDE DREAMWORLD INVESTIGATION

Written on the 8 November 2016 by Chelsey Landford

POLICE CONCLUDE DREAMWORLD INVESTIGATION
POLICE have concluded analysis of the scene at Dreamworld following the deaths of four tourists on a ride at the Coomera theme park last month.

The site has been returned to the control of its owners, Ardent Leisure, and ongoing investigations are now under the control of the Coroner.

The park has remained a crime scene during the past two weeks, as detectives conducted forensic investigations into what caused the Thunder River Rapids Ride to malfunction on 25 October.

Ardent could have to pay a maximum $3 million fine over the incident, and any directors found personally liable face up to five years jail. 

A spokesperson for Ardent Leisure says a decision has not been made regarding when Dreamworld, or its neighbouring sister theme park White Water World, will reopen.

With the Australian Financial Review estimating the park suffers daily losses of $295,000 whilst its doors remain shut, the pressure is on to resume business before the busy summer holiday season begins in early December.

However, the company is keenly aware of the sensitivity surrounding the park's reopening, considering the backlash over a previous plan to reopen it just three days after the incident.

Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson says the reopening will not be considered until after the funerals of all four victims, the last of which were held earlier this week.

Siblings Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett were farewelled at a church service at St Christopher's Cathedral in Canberra on Monday morning. Funerals were held for Roozi Araghi, Mr Dorsett's partner, in Sydney last week, as well as on the NSW Central Coast for New-Zealand born mother Cindy Low.

Ardent Leisure has appointed retired police officer Mike McKay, who headed flood recovery in Grantham in 2011, to aid in rebuilding community trust.

In September, the company announced the promotion of George Venardos to the position of Chairman, after serving as Director since 2009.

It is not the first time Venardos, a corporate accountant with over 30 years' senior executive experience, has steered a company in crisis.

He was a part of the risk and compliance committee of financial services company IOOF when it was plunged into crisis last year after a Fairfax Media investigation exposed serious misconduct issues. Last month, he stepped in as the group's Chairman.

Vernados formally took the reigns from former Ardent Leisure Chairman Neil Balnaves on Monday.

Ardent is trading down 1.23 per cent today, at $2.005 per share. The company's market capitalisation has dropped by around a quarter since the incident.

 
Author: Chelsey Landford

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