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Coronial inquest claims Dreamworld Chief Executive

Coronial inquest claims Dreamworld Chief Executive
July 1, 2018

A fortnight of damning evidence at the Coronial inquest into the deaths of four guests at Dreamworld in October 2016 has seemingly led to the resignation of park Chief Executive Craig Davidson.

Dreamworld owner Ardent Leisure had advised that Davidson, who headed the attraction at the time of the fatalities, resigned on Friday.

Ardent announced that the Gold Coast theme park’s Chief Experience Officer Nicole Noye will take over as acting Chief Executive while an international recruitment search begins for Davidson’s successor.

In the wake of the opening hearings into the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi over the past two weeks, Dreamworld’s parent company Ardent Leisure is promising to revamp the theme park’s management.

Ardent Chairman Dr Gary Weiss said in a statement the company had to learn from the troubling evidence that had emerged at the coronial inquest.

Dr Weiss advised “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.”

Before the inquest adjourned until October as of last Friday, a Dreamworld manager admitted the Thunder River Rapids ride shouldn’t have been operating at the time of the 2016 tragedy.

Dreamworld policy stated a ride should be shut down after two failures of an exact nature within a 24-hour period.

Ardent said the new management team would further prioritise the ongoing implementation of best-practice safety initiatives, including continuous enhancements in ride safety and all elements of safety systems and procedures.

Noye will be supported by the two new executive appointments of Phil Tanner as Director of Safety and former Queensland Police Inspector Mike McKay as Director for Culture, Community and External Relations.

Dr Weiss added “we are committed to enhancing and augmenting the product mix of rides, attractions and shows to deliver a memorable and safe guest experience in our role as a significant player in the Queensland tourism market and continuing to provide employment opportunities for our local community.”

Amid the damning evidence of Dreamworld’s operational practices presented at the inquest, Ardent Leisure’s shares have been largely unaffected, with the price fluctuating between $1.97 and $2.02.

CMC Markets Chief Market Strategist Michael McCarthy said this was because a major adjustment was already made in 2016, when the share price dropped 22% cent soon after the incident.

McCarthy told the ABC “when this tragedy occurred it was anticipated the costs would be horrendous, both in terms of the human tragedy, but also in terms of the business.

"The share price fell by more than a dollar, or more than $500 million worth of market value, so the adjustment was very severe at the time.

"It is hard to see this getting anymore horrible than it already is, as the share market has recognised the negative impact of this already and factored it in to the current share price."

At the time of the 2016 fatalities, McCarthy said Dreamworld was the biggest money earner for Ardent Leisure, but in order to survive the company has since refocused and invested in its American family entertainment centre business.

With rumours of Village Roadshow looking to sell its underperforming Wet'n'Wild Sydney waterpark, Ardent apparently has no plans to sell Dreamworld and will rather look rebuild confidence in its brand and safety measures.

Commenting on Davidson’s resignation, Dr Weiss concluded "I would like to publicly acknowledge Craig Davidson and all members of the Dreamworld team for their commitment and efforts to ensure the safety of our guests and our employees and to thank the community for their understanding and support."

Davidson joined Dreamworld in 2013. He had previously been General Manager of Destination Development at Tourism Australia and before that had been responsible for the operation of the Voyages Hotels and Resorts portfolio and Hamilton Island.

Images: Craig Davidson (top) and Dr Gary Weiss (below).

30th June 2018 - ARDENT LEISURE ISSUES STATEMENT OF APOLOGY OVER DREAMWORLD DEATHS

29th June 2018 - DREAMWORLD RIDE ‘SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN IN SERVICE’ AT TIME OF FOUR GUEST FATALITIES

28th June 2018 - INQUEST ADVISED THAT DREAMWORLD RIDE HAD ‘RAT’S NEST’ OF WIRING BEFORE OCTOBER 2016 FATALITIES

27th June 2018 - DREAMWORLD RIDE TRAINER TOLD POLICE THAT JUNIOR OPERATOR KNEW ABOUT EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN

26th June 2018 - INQUEST HEARS THAT DREAMWORLD CUT BACK MAINTENANCE IN MONTHS BEFORE 2016 RIDE FATALITIES

25th June 2018 - INQUEST EVIDENCE CAUSING ‘IRRETRIEVABLE’ DAMAGE TO DREAMWORLD’S REPUTATION

23rd June 2018 - VICTIMS’ FAMILY ‘DEVASTATED AND HORRIFIED’ BY EVIDENCE AT DREAMWORLD INQUEST

26th February 2018 - ARDENT LEISURE CUTS LOSSES, ANNOUNCES NEW MAIN EVENT CHIEF EXECUTIVE 

18th February 2018 - ARDENT LEISURE CHAIRMAN EXCITED BY DREAMWORLD’S PROSPECTS THROUGH 2018

20th December 2017 - ARDENT LEISURE SELLS BOWLING CENTRES DIVISION FOR $160 MILLION

26th October 2017 - DREAMWORLD MARKS RIDE TRAGEDY ANNIVERSARY WITH QUIET STAFF COMMEMORATION

21st October 2017 - QUEENSLAND POLICE SAY NO STAFF SHOULD BE PROSECUTED OVER 2016 DREAMWORLD DEATHS 

9th May 2017 - DREAMWORLD SUFFERS FURTHER ATTENDANCE AND REVENUE SLUMP 

27th April 2017 - DEBORAH THOMAS TO STEP ASIDE AS ARDENT LEISURE CHIEF EXECUTIVE

16th April 2017 - CONSULTING ENGINEER REBUTS AUSTRALIAN WOMEN’S WEEKLY RIDE SAFETY ‘INVESTIGATION’ 

14th March 2017 - VILLAGE ROADSHOW THEME PARKS HIGHLIGHTS SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE SYSTEMS 

13th March 2017 - PARKZ WEBSITE LAUNCHES SUPPORT OUR THEME PARKS CAMPAIGN 

23rd February 2017 - DREAMWORLD CLOSURE DRAGS ARDENT LEISURE TO $49 MILLION HALF YEAR LOSS 

26th September 2016 - NEIL BALNAVES TO DEPART ARDENT LEISURE AS GROUP ANNOUNCES NAME CHANGE

10th July 2013 - CHANGE OF LEADERSHIP AT ARDENT LEISURE THEME PARKS

15th December 2011 - DREAMWORLD CELEBRATES 30TH BIRTHDAY 

29th October 2011 - PRICE WAR HITS REVENUE AT ARDENT ATTRACTIONS 


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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

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