News State QLD News Inquest hears Dreamworld corporate structure suspect

Inquest hears Dreamworld corporate structure suspect

Four people died in the Dreamworld tragedy. Photo: AAP
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The former head of safety at Dreamworld parent company Ardent Leisure says deficiencies in the park’s corporate structure was at the heart of its safety issues.

Angus Hutchings is the first Dreamworld official giving evidence at the resumption of the inquest into the deaths of four tourists on a ride at Australia’s biggest theme park.

Mr Hutchings told the inquest on Monday there were numerous issues with the park’s management hierarchy.

He said the roles and responsibilities for the safety were not clearly defined and reporting mechanisms were not “particularly effective”.

“We all reported to the one CEO and that prompted some siloing activity, which is not ideal,” he said.

“For some risks in the park, everyone thought it was someone else’s responsibility.”

Siloing refers to when several departments or groups within an organisation don’t share information or knowledge with other individuals in the same organisation.

Mr Hutchings said the park’s documentation of safety risks, and the actions that could be taken to reduce them, was also poor.

Staff didn’t input all relevant information into the safety database because it was difficult to use, he said.

“In terms of what happened on the day, I feel some kind of engineering control was needed to monitor a stationary raft and to be able to prevent the conveyor continuing to operate whilst a stationary raft was caught up in that area,” he said.

Mr Hutchings also said funding for the safety department was inadequate.

Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi died when two rafts on the Thunder River Rapids ride flipped and crashed into each other in October 2016.

In earlier sittings, the inquest on the Gold Coast heard from staff who operated the ride on the day of the tragedy, those who were first to respond to the horrific scene, and investigating authorities.

During cross-examination at a hearing last month, Dreamworld’s former operations manager, Troy Margetts, denied pressuring staff not to speak with police.

Four former park employees are suing Dreamworld for psychological injuries suffered on the day of the tragedy.

Mr Hutchings was made redundant by Ardent Leisure in July 2018.

The inquest continues.