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SafeWork SA investigation into Royal Adelaide Show ride death scrutinised by ICAC

SafeWork SA investigation into Royal Adelaide Show ride death scrutinised by ICAC
May 4, 2018

South Australia's Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) has launched an inquiry into SafeWork SA, after it dropped charges over a fatal show ride accident that claimed the life of a young girl.

Adelene Leong, aged 8, was on holidays from Malaysia when she was thrown from the Airmaxx 360 ride at the Royal Adelaide Show in September 2014. She later died in hospital.

The safety company that inspected the ride, Safe is Safe Pty Ltd, and its boss Hamish Munro were being prosecuted by SafeWork SA over the incident.

They were expected to stand trial in the SA Employment Tribunal this month accused of breaching workplace safety laws by failing to properly inspect the ride.

It was alleged the company also failed to properly inspect the ride's restraint harnesses before certifying it was safe for use.

However, SafeWork SA has now dropped the case, announcing it had withdrawn the charges in a statement that advised “this decision was made after new information came to light, which meant there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction.

"SafeWork SA has also referred this new information to the Office for Public Integrity."

The ABC has reported that South Australia's Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, Bruce Lander, said the matter had been referred to him for consideration.

Lander advised "I have since commenced an investigation into the SafeWork SA investigation and the evidence that was obtained.”

In a statement, Lander said ordinarily he would not confirm or deny whether a complaint or report had been made to the Office of Public Integrity.

However, he advised “having regard to the public interest in the prosecution arising out of the SafeWork SA investigation, and the fact that the prosecution was withdrawn this morning, I felt that it was in the public interest to confirm that an investigation into the matter is underway.”

The owner of the ride, CJ And Sons Amusement, and its Director Jenny-Lee Sullivan were last year fined $157,500 after pleading guilty to workplace safety breaches.

The Airmaxx was the first ride of its kind imported into Australia, and the company failed to register its design, as required by law.

Employment Tribunal Magistrate Michael Ardlie advised “if the design registration process had proceeded, the level of scrutiny involved might have detected some of the design flaws which were inherent in Airmaxx.”

The ride had reportedly already caused chest and neck injuries as well as a concussion during shows in Melbourne and Sydney, but the incidents went unrecorded.

Ardlie advised “there was a failure to ensure that there was an adequate system in place for the recording of any maintenance and repair work in the logbook.”

However, CJ And Sons Amusement, which had debts of more than $1 million, could not afford to pay the fine, and Ardlie declined to make an order which would force them.

Image: Adelene Leong died after being flung from a ride at the Royal Adelaide Show in 2014. (Courtesy of SA Police) 

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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.

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