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Dreamworld reopens after COVID closure

 shutterstock 1041844540 dreamworld

Dreamworld has reopened to visitors as its parent company prepares to return to court over safety offences following the deaths of four tourists on the Thunder River Rapids Ride four years ago.

Ardent Leisure says 400 staff returned to work at the Gold Coast theme park on Wednesday after it closed in March due to COVID-19 health restrictions.

The gates were thrown open a fortnight before the company is scheduled to be sentenced on September 28 for breaching Queensland's Work Health and Safety Act.

Ardent pleaded guilty in July to three counts of failing to comply with its health and safety duty and exposing individuals to a risk of serious injury or death.

The charges relate to the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi.

The holidaymakers were killed on October 25, 2016, when they were thrown from a Thunder River Rapids Ride raft into a mechanised conveyor that moved the rafts below the water.

The raft had collided with another and partially flipped after becoming stuck when the ageing ride's water pump malfunctioned, causing water levels to fall dangerously low.

The pump failure was the third that day and the fifth in a week, and no automated shutdown function was installed despite recommendations.

Ms Goodchild's 12-year-old daughter and Ms Low's 10-year-old son survived the incident.

Queensland's Workplace Health and Safety prosecutor Aaron Guilfoyle said Ardent had failed to provide and maintain safe plant and structures, and systems of work at the 38-year-old park.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.

Ardent is also fighting a shareholder class action in the Federal Court.

The case was filed in June to recoup the losses of people who bought shares in the theme park operator in the two years before the tragedy.

© AAP 2020

Image: (Alizada Studios / Shutterstock.com)