Dreamworld pleads guilty over ride deaths

Dreamworld operator Ardent Leisure has pleaded guilty to three charges relating to the deaths of four people at the Gold Coast theme park in 2016.

Appearing in Southport Magistrates Court today, the company pleaded guilty to charges relating to failing to comply with its health and safety duty, exposing individuals to a risk of serious injury or death.

Queensland's work health and safety prosecutor had pressed three charges against the company on July 21, five months after the coroner handed down his findings into the tragedy that took the lives of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $1.5 million. The case was adjourned for sentencing on September 28 at Southport court.

Dreamworld victims Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low.
Dreamworld victims Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low.

After announcement of the charges, Ardent Leisure chairman Dr Gary Weiss and theme parks division chief executive John Osborne said in a joint statement: "First and foremost, we again express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of Roozbeh Araghi, Luke Dorsett, Kate Goodchild and Cindy Low for their loss and ongoing suffering and say sorry to all of the people impacted by this tragedy.

"There has been considerable change at Dreamworld over the last few years as was acknowledged by the coroner in his report," the statement said.

"Dreamworld has taken substantive and proactive steps to improve safety across the entire park and continues to enhance existing systems and practices, as well as adopt new ones, as we develop and implement our safety case in accordance with the Queensland Government's new major amusement park safety regulations."

All four suffered fatal injuries at the Gold Coast theme park when they were thrown from their raft in the unloading area and either trapped or ejected into the water beneath a mechanised conveyor in October 2016.