Dreamworld tragedy: Bosses say psychologists recommend reopening park

Ardent chairman Neil Balnaves and chief executive Deborah Thomas (Getty)
Ardent chairman Neil Balnaves and chief executive Deborah Thomas (Getty)

The family of two of the Dreamworld tragedy victims is furious with the chief executive of the park's parent company for claiming the company had reached out to families.

Ardent Leisure chief executive Deborah Thomas said during a press conference: "We've finally made contact with the Dorsett family and we are talking with them today about how we may assist."

But a reporter told Ms Thomas that Karen Dorsett, mother of two of the victims, had not been contacted by the company. 

"The Dorsett family are actually watching this press conference at the moment, and they are apparently furious at suggestions that support has been offered to them," Ten News reporter Melinda Nucifora informed the board.

"They say that they've had no direct contact whatsoever. No one's even reached out to them."

Ms Nucifora said the family had even sent their mobile number to the company.

Ms Thomas responded by directly addressing the Dorsett family. 

Dreamworld's bosses said at the conference counsellors had advised that reopening the theme park, just days after the deaths on Tuesday, would help staff dealing with a difficult situation.

"That has been a subject with a lot of deliberation over the last 24 hours," Ardent Leisure board chairman Neil Balnaves told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

"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."

The theme park will open for normal business on Saturday.

All admission fees from the Friday fundraiser 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," Mr Balnaves said.

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

"We can't return the four lives," he said.

Ms Thomas appeared emotional when she pushed back at questions about her pay, and whether the Dreamworld ride on which four people died was shut down before the tragedy.

"In terms of asking me how something was allowed to happen, I'm going to say that at this stage this is subject to a coronial inquiry." 

"In terms of my performance rights ... it's not really the time to be discussing that right now."

Mr Balnaves defended Ms Thomas, saying any company bonuses - worth hundreds of thousands - due to her were for the previous financial year.

"It is just inappropriate to talk about," he said.

Mr Balnaves said the company would do "everything" to support the grieving families.

"The tragedy is really, really something that we all wish never obviously happened, and we will do everything to support the families," he said.

Ms Thomas echoed his remarks, saying "we are all shattered by this".

NZN / Newshub.