Dreamworld boss Deborah Thomas breaks down in tears during a press conference.


Chief executive of the company that owns Dreamworld, Deborah Thomas, has pledged to donate her yearly bonus of $167,500 to the Australian Red Cross charity.

Nine News reported the money would be distributed to all affected parties of the incident.

Thomas fought back tears this morning as she addressed the family of Luke Dorsett, one of the victims of Tuesday’s tragic accident at the Gold Coast theme park.

Thomas and other senior figures at Ardent Leisure were fronting the media at the company’s annual general meeting in Sydney, when the former Women’s Weekly editor offered a message directly to the Dorsett’s relatives.

“My sincere sympathies for what you must be going through,” she began. “On behalf of the staff and management at Ardent and Dreamworld, 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.”

Ardent Leisure Chief Executive Deborah Thomas addressing the media this morning.

Thomas' emotional message came on the back of accusations made by the Dorsetts just minutes earlier that Ardent and Dreamworld hadn't contacted them in the wake of the tragedy.

The claims were posed by a Channel Ten journalist, who told the panel, "The Dorsett family are actually watching this press conference at the moment and are apparently furious at suggestions that support has been offered to them."

The reporter went on to say a relative of Luke's had provided her phone number, and asked that "someone please call her."


Clearly rattled, Thomas responded: "We didn't call the Dorsett family directly because we didn't know how to contact them. So we have been to the police liaison officer. I will not call her now in front of the media, but I am very happy to call her very soon after this meeting.

"Yesterday was all about trying to get hold of the family so we could offer assistance, and we have it back from the police that they had made contact with them, and my understanding was that our people would be with them today.

"So please, give me that number."

Dorsett, his partner, Roozbeh Araghi, and his sister, Kate Goodchild, were among the four people killed when a raft on the family-friendly Thunder River Rapids ride flipped on Tuesday afternoon.

Luke Dorsett was one of four people killed on the Dreamworld ride. Via Facebook.

Thomas was appointed to Ardent's top role in March last year, after serving 15 months on the company's board.

She was this morning also forced to defend a reported $843,000 bonus approved by shareholders just hours before the accident on Tuesday.

Asked if she would still accept the money in light of the tragedy, Thomas said: “Right now I do not want to discuss transactions. I don’t think it’s appropriate under the circumstances.”

Investigations into the accident, which also claimed the life of New Zealand woman Cindy Low, are ongoing.

READ MORE: What went wrong on Dreamworld's Thunder River Rapids ride?