News Queensland Theme parks get major safety overhaul after Dreamworld tragedy

Theme parks get major safety overhaul after Dreamworld tragedy

dreamworld safety theme park reforms
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the proposed reforms should be rolled out this year. Photo: Getty
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Theme park ride operators could be forced to carry identification cards, and rides could be stripped of their paint in mandatory inspections under a Queensland safety overhaul.

It comes as the state coroner investigates the deadly Dreamworld accident on the Gold Coast that killed four people almost two years ago.

The Queensland government’s proposed safety reforms would include training requirements for ride operators and mandatory park inspections.

“Mandatory training and competency requirements will mean every amusement and theme park ride in Queensland will be operated by a person who has been properly trained and assessed as competent,” Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said on Thursday.

“This means amusement rides at our big theme parks right down to a local show or fairs will be subject to major comprehensive inspections every 10 years, unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer.”

Industry stakeholders received the draft amendments on Thursday and the coroner overseeing the Dreamworld inquest will also be consulted.

“If there are any further recommendations that come from the inquest we will ensure that we will incorporate those,” Ms Grace told state budget estimates on Thursday.

Inspections could involve completely stripping down a ride to ensure its integrity, including the removal of paint and grease.

The checks would be on top of existing inspections and testing.

“These will be comprehensive inspections. It might involve stripping down the ride, looking up what new technologies have come in,” Ms Grace said.

The reforms could also require major theme parks to develop and implement a comprehensive and integrated safety management system, and make additional requirements on record keeping in detailed logbooks.

“These plans will detail every aspect of park safety, from ride inspection details, to training of operators, to detailed risk assessments, to emergency plans and everything in between,” Ms Grace said.

Ride owners travelling on a show circuit and school fairs would also need to keep logbooks, including the name of trained ride operators and training details.

Results of inspections and repairs, as well as any statutory notices issued by Work Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) would also need to be logged.

The government will consider developing a code of practice stipulating training provisions, ID cards for ride operators and publicly displayed certificates on rides.

The regulations are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

Dreamworld’s slow recovery

Dreamworld continues to struggle following the October 2016 deaths.

Earlier this week, owner Ardent Leisure provided unaudited figures for 2017-18 to the ASX.

It revealed the theme park lost about $75 million in a property revaluation in the financial year, after it lost $89 million the year prior.

“The revaluation adjustment for Dreamworld reflects slower recovery in attendance at the theme park than projected previously,” the release to ASX said.

“Revenue from the Australian Theme Parks division was impacted by continued slow recovery post the Thunder River Rapids ride tragedy which occurred in October 2016, discount ticket pricing and some adverse weather conditions.”

It also lost $6 million in incident costs.

Audited figures will be released on August 22.

The coronial inquest is investigating the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi on October 25, 2016.

They were travelling on a raft on the 30-year-old ride when it collided with another raft and partially flipped.

The Dreamworld inquest is due to resume in October.

Workplace health and safety officers are preparing for a full audit of all 34 rides at Brisbane’s Ekka show, which starts later this month, followed by an audit of all theme parks across the state.

The New Daily contacted Dreamworld for comment.

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