The CEO of Ardent Leisure, the company which owns Dreamworld, has broken her silence at their Annual General Meeting this morning.
Deborah Thomas fronted the meeting following the tragic accident at the Gold Coast theme park on Tuesday afternoon that killed four people.
“It is under extremely sad circumstances that we gather here in Sydney for the AGM two days after the tragic deaths of four people at Dreamworld,” Ardent Leisure chief executive Deb Thomas said.
“I would like to express our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the people killed in this tragedy. Our thoughts are with them and particularly with their children.
“Our immediate concerns remain with the families of the victims and how we can assist them in this difficult time. We are also focused on our affected visitors and staff.
“There is very little that I can say today except that we are working closely with authorities to examine exactly how this happened.”
Just hours before the accident, shareholders approved a reported $860,000 bonus for Thomas.
When asked whether remuneration resolutions should be deferred in light of recent events, outgoing chairman Neil Balnaves said it was “nigh impossible” and that the “company has to be run”.
“The coronial inquiry, the workplace health and safety inquiry under the Queensland government and our own internal inquiries are going to take months.
“It would just be absolutely impossible to not run the company without the required resolutions to do so under company law, we can’t avoid that.”
“I must admit it hasn’t been the most urgent priority as dealing with the death of four people which has occupied most of our time,” he said. “There will be a continuing effect I expect for the rest of the financial year.”
“This is a tragedy of a proportion never seen in this business before,” he said. “We’ve had 35 million people through the gate and we’ve never had a tragedy like this. The size and the impact of this is just awful.”