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APRIL 2020

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For full list, click above

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has issued a stern warning to anyone shunning the coronavirus rules and heading for a caravan park during Easter. "We will be going through caravan parks early, issuing warnings to people that may think they can get around these laws," he said.

Latest figures (pre-coronavirus) released by Tourism Research Australia show that 59 million nights were spent at caravan parks and camp sites in year ending December 2019. Top state was NSW with 39 million visitors with a $23.7 spend followed by Queensland with 25.9 million and $19.4 billion.

Click on BREAKING NEWS above to see full list of stories.


* WA caravanners stranded as coronavirus strikes ... 91,518 people reached.

* Dump Point mesh creates uproar ... 56,148 people reached.

* Mitsubishi recalls thousands of Tritons ... 47,505 people reached.

* Shires close cararavan parks as virus crisis worsens ... 35,256 people reached.

* Moreton Bay council closes caravan parks as virus spreads ... 22,706 people reached.

* Fears over potential gas leaks in some Millards ... 16,540 people reached.

* Grey nomads warned about heading to NT ... 16,324 people reached.


Why the delay in initiating new standards act?

REGARDING caravans and the new Road Vehicle Standards Act

What is the real reason for the lengthy delay in introducing the new act?

What are the major differences if any from the Motor Vehicle Standards Act?

Shouldn't all caravan manufacturers and importers already be 100 percent compliant with the present legal requirements?

Shouldn't all caravan manufacturers and importers already have the necessary procedures in place to ensure that all components related to ADR/VSB1 purchasing, inspecting, installation, record-keeping, etc. are properly managed?

Don't all caravan manufacturers and Importers alreeady have a professional quality assurance program in place?

Don't all caravan manufacturers and Importers alreaady use professional compliance checklists?

How much money and time are supposedly needed to up-date operations in order to comply?

Meanwhile, serious complaints from highly-aggrieved caravanners keep coming in.

Prompt responses to the above questions would be greatly appreciated!


Double trouble

IT was not a good feeling when a B-double semi started to run backwards at us after it had collided with the rear of another B-double.

The only way out for us was to drive across the turning lane and onto the concrete centre strip.

If I had not done so, the rear trailer would have collided head on with us.

As it was the second trailer which collided with the middle of the nearside of the nine-month old caravan that was on its way to the NSW caravan club state rally.

Gael & Colin Curry.

Pooling thoughts

COMMENT on RAC expanding its Exmouth caravan park ...

They definitely need a new or second pool. We went there in the low season and the pool was packed, hate to think what it would be like in the busy season. It's a big park.

Loved the beach at the back of the park as you can drive your car on the beach to your swimming spot.

Name supplied.


'Fuel pump failure could lead to crash'


Toyota badgeSOME Toyota models, used by many caravanners for towing, have been recalled for safety reasons. Affected vehicles include Hilux, Prado and LandCruiser sold between October, 2013, and April 3 this year. The recall warns that the fuel pump on affected vehicles could fail resulting in a loss of power which could increase the risk of a crash "which may cause injury to the vehicle occupants and other road users". For more information and to see VIN numbers of affected vehicles, click here.

Suburban gas water heater

New logo   Recall process expected to begin soon

Suburban blames virus crisis for delay
in resolving gas water heater problem

CARAVANNERS who were warned they had potentially lethal gas water heaters in their RVs will have to wait a while longer for a solution. In a message to consumers, Surburban said it "had not forgotten" about consumers and was still working on the problem. But, it said, the impact of COVID-19 had "affected proceedings". An urgent warning by Suburban last year revealed that some its gas hot water heaters could generate elevated carbon monoxide which in some instances could spill into caravans and other RVs. "Carbon monoxide can be lethal in large concentrations," it said. Models affected were SW6DEA, SW6DA, SW4DEA, SW4DA and the dual fuel SW6PS. Suburban said it was now closer to a resolution and expect to soon begin the recall process. "We understand that you have been patient until now. We ask you to extend that patience a little longer as we navigate the situation," it added. Have your say

'Cuddles as explosive detonated'

Dad killed himself and kids in caravan blast 'for revenge'

Scene of caravan blast in which father and children died

Scene of the explosion

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

A FATHER who deliberately blew up a caravan with himself and two young children inside at Mount Isa did it as an act of "spousal revenge", a coroner has decided.

Mine worker Charlie Hinder, 39, and his four-year-old son River and seven-year-old daughter Nyobi died in July, 2015, when the caravan outside their home exploded, the blast being felt up to 50 metres way.

Northern Coroner Nerida Wilson said in her findings just released that Mr Hinder's marriage to wife Katherine had hit troubled times and they had separated two months before the blast.

He was living in the family caravan outside their home and had made previous threats to harm her and their children, she said.

It was thought the former mine supervisor was cuddling his children as he detonated between four to five kilograms of explosives.

A message posted on Facebook just before the explosion said: "I love my kids more than anything in this world, they would have been great. We all went instantly cuddling each other. Goodbye everybody."

And in another Facebook message just hours before the explosion, the father said he loved his kids but could not allow "evil" to take them from him.

"Don't feel sorry for me or her, feel sorry for my beautiful kids," he wrote.

"To all my friends thank you and I'm sorry, I love you all. I guess this world was just not for us. I love all my family. Don't feel bad." Read more button

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Rod Hannifey'Quiet and lonely times on highways'

Truckie sympathises with caravanners caught up in coronavirus mayhem

TRUCKIE and road safety advocate Rod Hannifey has spoken of the affects facing his industry as the coronavirus crisis continues to strike hard. And he took time to sympathise with caravanners caught up in mayhem. He said his fellow truck drivers were experiencing less traffic on the roads, resulting in "quiet and lonely" times. Meanwhile, people without homes and living a life on the road in their caravans were facing other issues. "They may now have nowhere to go for the duration of this virus," Mr Hannifey (pictured) explained on social media. Their plight had been highlighted when a traveller rang an ABC Melbourne radio station complaining he could not get an answer from anyone as to what he should do. "The announcer, Raph, did say he would try and get an answer and some people rang in offering the fellow somewhere to stay," Mr Hannifey said. "But I have still seen many 'vans on the road, some perhaps still heading home if they have one. All I ask if they continue to roam is to make sure they think of us if they have to stop in a rest area."   Have your say

Home camp

Keep spirit of camping alive this Easter

Be safe and camp at home, urges caravanning industry's peak body

THE Caravan Industry Association of Australia is urging campers to set up camp at home during the Easter break. The association estimates that more than 300,000 campers will be cancelling their Easter trip this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "We thought the ‘spirit of camping’ should be kept alive and are pleased to introduce Camp at Home Heroes, an initiative to be enjoyed in the home," it said. "The initiative is about promoting camping while also being fun, educational, family-based and socially responsible. The activity is also designed to assist with our well-being as we do the right thing and stay at home." It suggests the holiday at home could mean a backyard tent, caravan in the driveway or a homemade cubby inside. "Our challenge to you is to keep the spirit of camping alive and build your own camp at home." Have your say

Illegal group cops Public Infringement Penalties

Two fined at caravan park for breaking coronavrus rules

TWO people at a New South Wales caravan park were slapped with $1000 Penalty Infringement Notices for breaking the coronavirus rules which ban gatherings of more than two people. They were among a group of five at the park on Rouse Street, Tenterfield. The fines were handed out after police responded to a noise complaint late on Saturday night. The 23-year-old man and 17-year-old girl had previously received cautions for not complying with ministerial directions. Three other members of the illegal group were issued with cautions. Have your say

Rob ChandlerCommunities 'at high risk'

Message from Western Queensland councils: We love you, but stay away

Have your say

WESTERN Queensland's 21 councils are stepping up to monitor and restrict access to their communities. With the threat of coronavirus rising in the Sunshine State, the Western Queensland Alliance of Councils says it is restricting travel not only to protect locals and essential service workers, but potential travellers, including caravanners, as well. "The action stems from the very real concern of being able to adequately respond should the virus reach our regional and remote communities," it said. "Western Queensland's reality is vast distances from major centres, a lack of resources and a significant number of communities are at high risk such as Indigenous people and the elderly." The alliance warned that the impact would reach beyond Western Queensland. "The State economy would also take a significant blow, with the region covering almost 60 percent of the state's landmass and generating $9.35 billion of the state's Gross Product." Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler said: "This breaks our hearts. But the message from across the region is that we most definitely love you and want to see you again, but right now the health of all of us and the future of our communities and local economies are at stake."

TRACK takeover

'Back to our core business'

TRACK acquires RV brands Trackmaster and Pioneer

VICTORIA-based TRACK has acquired the longstanding Australian RV brands Trackmaster and Pioneer, ensuring they will stay in Australia. Negotiations began last December and the agreement transfers all intellectual property for the design, manufacture and marketing to the new owner. TRACK’s OUTBACK HQ showroom and service centre at Bayswater North will provide ongoing service and parts for both brands and warranty services on behalf of Gason for all Gason-manufactured products. "As a board, we have assessed it over the past year and being a family-owned business of 75 years in October we felt we wanted to come back to our core business in Ararat," Mr Gason said. "We just felt TRACK was that right business."  Read more button

Sunseeker rally batsmanAnnual event features cricket match

Sunseeker rally a hit and raises
$12,000 for Wildlife Warriors

SUNSHINE Coast-based Sunseeker Caravans' three-day Owners Rally at Boreen Point raised $12,000 for Australia Zoo's Wildlife Warriors. The annual event, which is now in its third year, brought together owners of Sunseeker and Marvel caravans to provide educational tips, demonstrations and entertainment over a relaxing weekend. And for the first time the get-together,  staged before the current coronavirus restrictions, featured a Marvel versus Sunseeker 20/20 cricket match which proved a great hit. Read more button

Brad Denison

Earnings guidance withdrawn

Fleetwood battles uncertainty and challenging times as virus crisis hits

PERTH-based Fleetwood says some operations in its RV Solutions sector are planning "longer than usual Easter period shutdowns" as consumer demand falls for RVs and associated parts and services. The former builder of Coromal and Windsor caravans who offloaded the brands to Apollo Leisure and Tourism in 2018 for a mere $1 million ‒ revealed the news in a message to shareholders. "Due to the current exceptional circumstances and growing uncertainty surrounding the potential duration and impact of COVID-19, Fleetwood Corporation Limited is withdrawing FY20 earnings guidance," it said. Managing director and chief executive Brad Denison promised to support customers and communities during this "challenging time". Read more button

'On-the-run' policies create confusion

CIAA lobbies pollies after one of most challenging weeks

THE peak body for Australia's caravan industry describes the last week as being one of the most challenging ever experienced by accommodation providers and the RV community. "The confusion that has ensued through state governments issuing policy on the run without considering the social and practical implications has led to thousands of people with no fixed abode being stranded across the country," it said. "Caravan parks were closed and there has been significant fines for operators and guests due to the confusion in messaging. Over 1000 businesses are now closed for general operations." Together with its member state associations, it is lobbying hard to ministers and state and federal departments to seek clarification. "To reiterate, in no way do we encourage holidaymakers to go travelling this Easter," it said. "However, we strongly advocate the need to ensure that caravan parks are able to provide the essential services to residents, semi-residents, workers and travellers with no fixed abode." Have your say

Kui park'There is a duty of care'

Chain strives to help bewildered  'vanners find somewhere to stay

THE Kui chain of budget caravan parks is striving to help bewildered travellers by shedding light on the availability of its parks. Managing director Bert van Spronsen reports being inundated by travellers heading home or permanently on the road "battling" to find places to stay. "The vague communication from states regarding this is causing some parks to shut and some to stay open," he told Caravanning News. "It appears that shires are even making the call, trying to get tourists to leave town, especially in towns where there is no hospital." With all the uncertainty, he has asked his parks to urgently let him know if they are open or not. "I am currently posting a separate Facebook post for every park that is available to the essential travellers," he explained. "There is a duty of care I believe for people who are permanently on the road to find a safe spot to park up. With so many shire parks closing, as well as national parks and free camps, these people have a no place to go. We also know of many desperately trying to get home but are caught up in border isolation issues and need to find places to self-isolate. We are focusing only on essential travellers ... those that are on holidays are encouraged to return home." Have your say

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Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
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Letter man

Time for giving
back rather than 
queueing for handouts . . .

OK,  I'm going to have my say.

I have been part of the RV industry for over 30 years and it is probably fair to say it has provided me with a very good living over that period, thanks to very loyal customers.

Australia is now facing our biggest challenge in history with the untimely arrival of the coronavirus.

People are dying worldwide and in Australia so maybe it's time for some in this industry to start giving back instead of queueing up with hands out looking for financial assistance.

The Australian government needs to commit all it's financial resources to fighting this health crisis and helping those who really need financial help.

I am going to be controversial here but any dealer, manufacturer or service provider in this industry who has not provided, in the good times, for an event such as this probably should not be in the industry in the first instance.

Pull your heads in guys and let the government fight this crisis without the distraction of organisations queuing up for handouts.

As a very famous recently deceased country and western singer once put it: "There'll be time enough for counting when the dealings done".

Tony Roche.

No power

WITH regards to the 'Pushy' caravan sales people article in last month's edition (see story here).

I appreciate Mr Benson's serious concerns about the industry's problem, but he does not realise that the CCA has absolutely no regulatory power whatsoever.

But it has long been doing its very best to bring about major changes to improve the unfortunate situation for caravanners.

Many people have voiced their angst that there is no independent third party conducting regular comprehensive compliance inspections.

Colin Young.