Shocking fate of new Dreamworld rollercoaster revealed
A NEW $32 million rollercoaster tipped to lure millions of visitors as part of the city's post-coronavirus recovery is languishing in a carpark because the State Government won't cough up tens of millions of dollars promised in rescue packages.
Dreamworld had planned to start construction this month of its unnamed rollercoaster manufactured by MACK Rides. It was pitched last August as a key plank in the iconic park's turnaround strategy.
It will be the first multi-launch rollercoaster in the southern hemisphere with a top speed of 105km/h.
Instead of being built, 30 freight boxes of rollercoaster track are sitting in the Dreamworld carpark. They will be sent back to the freight company in Brisbane and stored. Another 60 boxes are still to be delivered.
The delay comes as pressure mounts on the State Government to release part of a $50 million package for animal and theme park operators promised last month.
The Bulletin revealed yesterday that the parks were waiting for a slice of the $2.5 billion jobs and business rescue package promised in March.
Village Roadshow, which owns Movie World and Sea World, and rival Ardent Leisure, which runs Dreamworld, are burning through up to $15 million and $10 million respectively each month, even after Federal Government subsidies are taken into account.
The Bulletin reported yesterday the situation was becoming desperate with sources saying the money "could not come soon enough".
The State Government yesterday said talks were being finalised with the park operators.
A decision is expected this week.
Dreamworld chief strategy officer Paul Callender did not directly link the State Government funding to construction of the rollercoaster.
He said the $10 million the park was losing each month from the Government-mandated theme park closure would have been used to build the rollercoaster.
"It certainly requires funding. Ten million dollars is being burnt each month so that money when we are talking, about $17 million of contractor works, would have gone back into our capital investment.
"Certainly if we were trading that would have more than helped but funding is incredibly important at the moment."
Construction for the rollercoaster, when it starts, is expected to take up to nine months and employ more than 200 people.
Dreamworld owner Ardent Leisure froze capital expenditure, including work for the rollercoaster, in March after it was forced to close the park over coronavirus health concerns.
Since then it has been burning through $5 to $10 million cash each month.
Dreamworld CEO John Osborne said it was disappointing to put the project on hold, however he remained confident it would be ready next year.
"It is shovel ready and will be a real boost to local construction jobs and the tourism industry. We remain optimistic that we will be able to complete this world-class attraction in 2021 and continue to work with government to achieve a realistic opening date and funding."
Both Village Roadshow and Ardent have submitted COVID-safe plans to the State Government. They are being assessed.
These plans would mean parks would be exempt from future limitations, including this week's 20-person limit and 100-person limit in July.
Village said it was in the process of finishing its Vortex rollercoaster, part of The New Atlantis Precinct at Sea World.
Village COO Bikash Randhawa said the rollercoaster was 80 per cent finished with state certification to come and final work from engineers travelling from Germany.
Mr Randhawa said those engineers needed special permission to enter the country.
Originally published as Shocking fate of new Dreamworld rollercoaster revealed