Posted: 27 October, 2016 by @clairesherwood_

Dreamworld Bosses Face The Media

CEO addresses families directly, and responds to criticism over park re-opening

Executives from Dreamworld's parent company, Ardent Leisure, have spoken to the media for the first time since Tuesday's tragedy. 

CEO Deborah Thomas was visibly shaken while directly addressing relatives of the victims, who she'd been told were watching the conference live on TV:

"My sincere sympathies for what you must be going through, and on behalf of the staff and management at Ardent and Dreamworld... our hearts and our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. I will be calling you to see what assistance we can offer you".

She'd earlier admitted she hadn't been able to contact the families directly but had done so through a police liaison officer. She said the officer had assured her the messages had been handed to the families.

Thomas says she wants to personally help the families

"I am a mother, I have a family. I take my family to Dreamworld," she said.

"This could have been my family and I am completely sympathetic to what they must be going through.

"I hope that I will be able to help them and if I can't help them personally, we will make sure we have everything in place to assist them through this tragedy."

Counsellors would be offered to the families. It will also be compulsory for staff members who were at Dreamworld at the time. 

Meantime, the company has responded to criticism, after being slammed for pushing forward with their AGM so soon after the incident. They told reporters they had no other option, and legally had to hold the meeting as planned. 

As for the criticism over the decision to re-open the park on Friday, for a memorial day, and as usual (whtout the Thunder River Rapids Ride) on Saturday... Ardent chairman Neil Balnaves says the decision hasn't been made lightly: 

"That has been a subject with a lot of deliberation over the last 24 hours," 

"After discussion with counsellors and a lot to do with the issues of people grieving, the decision was taken to turn tomorrow (Friday) into a fundraising event to support the Red Cross."

All admission fees will be donated to the charity.

"It is better that people get back to work and basically get together with their comrades and talk and deal with this issue rather than ... sitting at home in isolation," 

"It's driven by the utmost respect for the families and the deaths."

"We can't return the four lives,"

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