Theme park to lay off dozens of staff


DREAMWORLD has laid off dozens of workers as the Gold Coast theme park becomes the latest tourism industry victim of the coronavirus pandemic.

Following news that major airlines and travel giant Flight Centre had laid off thousands of workers across the country, Dreamworld has this week started its own streamlining process, advising about 50 staffers that their positions were being made redundant.

Dreamworld and sister park WhiteWater World have been closed since March and are yet to announce a reopening date, despite rivals Village Roadshow reopening several Gold Coast attractions, including Sea World, Paradise Country and TopGolf, last month.

SkyPoint, the venue managed by Dreamworld at Q1, will reopen on Friday, with park officials hoping Dreamworld will reopen ahead of the September school holidays.

With almost 900 full-time staffers, Dreamworld is one of the Queensland tourism industry's largest employers.

Dreamworld is looking to reopen its doors to the public ahead of the September school holidays. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP
Dreamworld is looking to reopen its doors to the public ahead of the September school holidays. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP

News of the redundancies comes after The Courier-Mail last month revealed the collapse of a rescue package from the Federal Government in the form of loans to help manage costs for theme parks during the shutdown.

Parks harbouring animals have been given government grants to help cover the cost of feeding their menageries, while theme parks have also shared in State government funds set aside for tourism businesses.

However, the measures were not enough to prevent Dreamworld from laying off staff.

Dreamworld was finally starting to recover from the spectre of the 2016 Thunder River Rapids tragedy when the scathing findings of the coronial inquest were announced in February.

The park later unveiled details of a multimillion-dollar upgrade featuring several new attractions, but the doors were forced shut just weeks later.

In a statement, a spokesman said the job cuts were a reflection of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

"The adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many businesses around Australia with the tourism and leisure sector being affected more than most," the spokesman said.

"Like many businesses in the sector we have had to make the very difficult decision to adjust our cost base which has resulted in approximately 50 salaried roles at Dreamworld being made redundant.

"We believe this decision was necessary to preserve the overwhelming majority of jobs for the future.

"SkyPoint re-opens on Friday, 10 July, and Dreamworld and WhiteWater World are expected to reopen in time for the September holiday period."

Originally published as Theme park to lay off dozens of staff