Queensland theme parks get 'safety blitz' after Dreamworld tragedy

Local resident Nicole Baker and her daughter Charlize lay flowers at Dreamworld in Queensland, Australia on October 26, 2016 after four tourists were killed there. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Local resident Nicole Baker and her daughter Charlize lay flowers at Dreamworld after four tourists were killed there

The Australian state of Queensland has ordered what it called a "safety blitz" of all theme parks, following Tuesday's accident at Dreamworld where four people died.

Specialist inspectors will examine the rides and maintenance records at all theme parks in the region.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state's health and safety laws would also be audited.

And a new offence of gross negligence causing death could be created.

Penalties for workplace-related deaths and injuries may be increased.

Two men and two women were killed when Dreamworld's Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned on Tuesday.

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Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson said the park would not reopen until after the funerals of the victims, while the rides will remain closed until police investigations are finalised.

Image copyright AAP Image/Supplied
Image caption (L-R) Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett were siblings, while Roozbeh Araghi was Mr Dorsett's partner. Cindy Low was not known to the three.

The Queensland audit also follows another accident earlier this month when two men in their 20s were crushed to death by a concrete slab at Brisbane's Eagle Farm Racecourse.

The tourist attractions under scrutiny attract around 1.8m visitors each year. They include Australia Zoo, owned by the family of the late "Crocodile Hunter", Steve Irwin, and Sea World and Movie World on the Gold Coast.

The audits should be finished by the end of November.

At present, the maximum penalty under health and safety laws in Queensland is five years' imprisonment.

Individual officers can be fined up to $600,000 (£373,940 / $455,910) and corporations up to $3m (£1.8m / $2.2m).

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