Dreamworld to reopen after $70m emergency lifeline

Dreamworld says it will reopen next month after receiving almost $70 million in COVID emergency financial assistance from the Palaszczuk Government.

The theme park's owners, Ardent Leisure, announced the theme park's reopening in a statement on Friday to the Australian Stock Exchange.

Ardent said it had received $69.9 million as part of the Government's COVID-19 Industry Support Package and Queensland Tourism Icons Program.

 

Dreamworld has been deserted since the coronavirus pandemic hit. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Dreamworld has been deserted since the coronavirus pandemic hit. Picture: Glenn Hampson

The funding comprises a $66.9 million secured loan and $3 million for working capital and capital expenditure, Ardent said.

It said COVID-safe plans for both Dreamworld and sister park WhiteWater World had been approved by Queensland Health and they would reopen in mid-September.

Ardent chairman Gary Weiss and company theme parks CEO John Osborne said they appreciated the Government's 'strong recognition' of the importance of the theme park industry to the economy.

"The Queensland Government's foresight in providing this financial assistance package will enable Ardent to reopen its iconic theme parks, continue to employ hundreds of people and, once the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, continue to invest in future tourism infrastructure and create more local jobs," they said in the ASX statement.

The announcement comes after Ardent pleaded guilty last month to three charges under the Work Health and Safety Act relating to the 2016 Thunder River Rapids Ride tragedy which killed four tourists.

Ardent faces up to $4.5 million in fines at a sentencing hearing in late September.

Rival theme parks Sea World, Movie World and Wet 'n' Wild reopened last month.

 

Originally published as Dreamworld to reopen after $70m emergency lifeline



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