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Firefighters praised for preventing fire from spreading
Caravans destroyed in $1m inferno at Victorian park
A MASSIVE overnight fire at a Victorian caravan park has destroyed at least 18 caravans. Another 20 to 25 were damaged by smoke and heat. Miraculously no one was seriously injured in the inferno which swept though part of the Goughs Bay Caravan Park at Lake Eildon. The damages bill has been put at a million dollars. The fire is not being treated as suspicious. It broke broke out just after 11.30pm last night. There were people in another parts of the park, but not in the affected units. Eight CFA trucks from seven brigades attended: Mansfield, Bonnie Doon, Goughs Bay-Howes Creek, Maindample, Booroolite and District, Glenroy/Merrijig and Jamieson. District 23 Commander Trevor Ebbels said the blaze measured 100 by 20 metres and firefighters had managed to keep it to one block of the caravan park. "The brigades did really well to stop it where they did," he said. Trees were damaged and were being assessed for safety. Fire investigators were at the scene this morning determining the cause of the fire. One witness praised the "brave" CFA volunteer firefighters and other emergency services who spent the whole night battling to prevent flames spreading throughout the park. Have your say
'Outrageous act of generosity'
Free camping offer ... pets included!
By Dennis Amor
A NORTHERN Territory caravan park has gone against the flow ... and is offering travellers free camping. Wirib Store and Tourism Park in Timber Creek describes the offer as "an act of outrageous generosity", adding: "People are shocked when we trot out the free word. But there will be absolutely no charge for using power or our amenities ... free means free. There are no hidden catches. In exchange, we invite people to buy supplies and fuel from the store." The park, on the Victoria Highway midway between Katherine and Kununurra, is owned and operated by the Gunamu Aboriginal Corporation. "To share the love, we are limiting campers and their pets to three nights free, and paid camping after that," a spokeswoman said. Many caravan parks across the country are fighting the growing trend of free camping, claiming their businesses are suffering. But the Wirib park argues: "We believe offering free camping is good news – and we know how fast good news spreads along the camping grapevine. Staying at the park and shopping in the store generates money for the group and contributes to creating a pathway for future generations." The offer lasts until next March. Have your say
Industry records strongest ever performance
CARAVANNING, CAMPING BOOMING IN NSW
New South Wales caravan and camping sector is booming, new figures reveal.
* New technology
being incorporated into the design and build quality of all types of RVs.
New role for Snowy
Park adds tractor to 'Horsepower Highway'
WA's Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park bordering the Stirling Range National Park has added its own touch to the Gnowangerup Horsepower Highway. The fascinating new tourist route about 370km southeast of Perth features a variety of tractors from yesteryear which have helped shape the area's rich farming heritage. The caravan park has now added a Ford Major Tractor called "Snowy" at the base of Mt Trio ... complete with skis to celebrate the occasional snow flurries in the area. It was recovered from a local farm by park owner John Byrne, treasurer of the state's only ski club. Mr Bryne told Caravanning News that Snowy had created much interest, both from tourists and locals alike. "It's causing a lot of excitement," he said. "One French traveller came and asked if he could photograph it. And other farmers are regarding it as a challenge and asking what they can do to better it." Have your say
'They want to live in peace'
Caravan park dwellers crave control
A JAMES Cook University researcher claims caravan park residents face poor living conditions, arbitrary rules and no security of tenure because outdated laws. PhD student Geraldine Mallinson has interviewed residents and managers at caravan parks in north Queensland. She said the fundamental finding of her study was that residents "craved a sense of control over their home environment" and wanted to live in peace without constant supervision and reprimand. More and more people regarded caravan parks as their homes as access to traditional home ownership and rental tenancies became more difficult.
Paul comes out fighting
It's not always us at fault, fumes caravanner after near-crash
CARAVANNER Paul Klat has come out fighting after a former truckie joined the growing call for special caravan towing licences. And the angry traveller has produced photographic evidence to prove it is not always caravanners who are fault. "I love the superior intellect that tells a bloke everyone else is the problem," he told Caravanning News. His photographs taken near Wisemans Ferry in NSW clearly show a truck and dog trailer crossing double white lines on a narrow road as it approaches Mr Klat's rig head-on, causing a near-crash.
Easier access for all, says mayor
New ramp will connect caravan
WORK has started on a new $70,000 pedestrian access ramp linking Victoria's free Cann River Rainforest Caravan Park with the township. East Gippsland Shire Council hopes work on the safer path will be completed in time for Christmas. The campground provides a free temporary 36-hour stopover for travellers. There is an amenities block with basic facilities but no powered sites or hot water. Mayor Cr Natalie O’Connell said the project was part of the Cann River footpath connections initiative which has seen the completion of the Cann River Streetscape development and other smaller footpath projects in Cameron Street and along the Monaro Highway. "The direct access pedestrian ramp is disabled compliant and designed in a zigzag configuration to allow for wheelchair access, and safer and easier access for all," he explained. "The township really is a hive of activity with a variety of cafes, shops and bakeries to entice visitors to relax and stay a while." Have your say
Supporters take to Facebook
vows to fight to
By Dennis Amor
THE operators of a popular $5-a-night charity fundraising camping site behind an outback pub in Queensland's central west have vowed to fight to keep it open. Pub proprietors Kev and Jo were forced to close the facility after a complaint. The news resulted in scores of supporters taking to Facebook calling for the camp to be reopened. The 120-year-old Winton Hotel is now working with the local council "to rectify the complaint and other issues". "We hope to reopen the camp for the community next season," Kev and Jo said. "We would like to thank everyone for their support and we will be fighting hard to keep the camp going for the community." The often full-to-overflowing campsite, opened just over a year ago, was well known for its local charity work, donating funds to cancer research and the Flying Doctor Service. The source and details of the complaint are unknown. News of the closure attracted over 100 Facebook reactions and nearly 50 comments within the first few hours. Supporter Libby Mangelsdorf wrote: "Hoping you can get things sorted and reopen your wonderful charity camp. We stayed there in July and were so impressed by the facility and that it was all donated to local charity." Mazza Rarty thought it a shame that some people were so "narrow minded". "Hope the council realises how much business the town will miss out on if they stop this wonderful pub from letting people camp there and help charities." Meanwhile, Lyn Davidson wished the pub good luck with its fight. "We are rooting for you," she wrote. "Winton Council, wake up and appreciate the wonderful drawcard you have in this little friendly, well run and charitable hotel." Kev and Jo told Caravanning News: "We won't give up but we need to be advised the best way as this is all new to us. We just wanted to set up a camp that campers enjoyed and we could give the money to the community and charities that impacted not only us but surrounding communities."
Wanted: your favourite recipes
Publishers cooking up a storm
THE publishers of a guide regarded by many as the Travellers' Bible seem to be cooking up a storm with their latest venture. A recent survey on how Camps Australia Wide could better serve its followers attracted thousands of responses, with 2000 calling for a campers' cookbook. And publishers of the guide say they are happy to oblige. "We had such a wonderful response," Heatley and Michelle Gilmore said. "From all the feedback, one thing that campers wanted stood out head and shoulders above everything else. Well over 2000 people told us they really would love a Camps camping cookbook!" The Sunshine Coast couple has now appealed to travellers to submit their favourite recipes ... and their "fondest memories" of preparing and sharing them. "We're looking for 100 of the very best recipes, along with your memories," they explained. "We are excited to share them and personalise the cooking experiences with the amazing people who created them." The deadline for recipe submissions is October 25. They can be sent by clicking here. Have your say
Secret ingredient to improving health
Camping 'makes you happier'
Camping trips are beneficial for mental health ... and that's official. Research from Caravan Industry Association of Australia's Real Richness report has revealed those who regularly go caravan and camping are not only happier, but also more satisfied, optimistic and energised than those who do not. Data collected throughout the report demonstrated that 96 percent of campers believe camping can make you happier while 95 percent thought it reduces stress. Campers are less bored, frustrated and lonely than non-campers. It has also been proven to be beneficial for relationships, with 85 percent feeling closer to their spouse or partner compared to 65 percent of non-campers. Trips in nature offered a chance to disconnect from technology and enjoy a stress-free break from busy day-to-day life, with 94 percent of campers believing it creates happy memories. Not only do trips make campers happier, they also give people an opportunity to connect with themselves and their feelings, with 53 percent of women and 44 percent of men strongly agreeing that camping trips enabled them to gather their thoughts. So there you have it ... caravan and camping trips really could be the secret ingredient to improving your health and happiness. Have your say
Hunt for fiend with toenail filed to a point
PERVERT FILMS YOUNG BOY IN TOILET BLOCK
By Dennis Amor
NSW police are hunting a pervert who filmed a young boy in a toilet block while holidaying at a caravan park. The nine-year-old victim was with his family at the Discovery Parks caravan park on Crowdy Street, Harrington, yesterday afternoon when he went to a public toilet block. "Whilst in the cubicle, the boy noticed a mobile phone on the ground which he believed was on video mode," police said. "An unknown man in the next cubicle then picked the phone up and continued to film." The frightened youngster ran from the building and reported the incident to his parents. Officers from Manning-Great Lakes Police District attended a short time later but despite searching the area could not locate the man. He is described only as wearing black thongs with one toenail filed to a point. Investigations are continuing. The incident has again prompted police to encourage parents to discuss the 'safe people, safe places' messages with their children. A spokesman at the park declined to comment when contacted by Caravannning News. "We have been told not to say anything," he said. Have your say
Programs 'sadly lacking'
CCA turns spotlight on quality assurance
CARAVAN Council of Australia founder and general manager Colin Young has turned the spotlight on RV builders and compliance requirements. He poses the question: Caravan quality-assurance program ... does the manufacturer of your caravan have one? He believes the programs are "sadly lacking" in the industry, said to be worth around $19 billion. "The legal requirements for manufacturers of caravans and camper-trailers for ensuring full compliance and high quality are exactly the same as those for motor vehicles, aren't they? Well, if chalk and cheese ‒ and day and night ‒ are exactly the same, then the answer is yes. However, they are not the same, nowhere near it!" He believes it is the major reason why caravans and camper-trailers have so many problems and why owners have so many complaints. Mr Young has written a comprehensive article on the subject which can be read by clicking here.
VicParks extend agreement
Partnership will help battle
A PROPERTY management company for holiday parks has again thrown its support behind VicParks. RMS has signed a new five-year corporate agreement which continues an unbroken partnership stretching back for decades. "RMS has been backing VicParks and local holiday parks since our business started in the 80s, a time when most operators were still using pens and paper to take reservations," company founder Peter Buttigieg said. "Obviously many things have changed since those days, technology in particular, but our support for holiday park operators has never wavered and we remain extremely passionate about the industry." He said the new agreement would provide exclusive benefits for VicParks members who use or sign up to RMS Cloud. VicParks chief executive Elizabeth White said the RMS Cloud partnership funding would help it fight for members on key issues such as the growth of non-compliant and lightly-regulated camping. "We just want a level playing field, one rule for all," she explained. Have your say
'Informally used for some years'
Apple Isle council moves to
TASMANIA'S Meander Valley Council is planning to establish an official overnight rest stop for self-contained RVs at Deloraine Racecourse. It would cater for up to 20 caravans or motorhomes nightly, with a maximum stay of four nights. According to a council report, the site had once been "informally used" for some years but the area used for camping was largely limited by fencing and vegetation. It already has a dump point ... the only accessible one in the Meander Valley. "The use of the site for overnight stays is an existing use," the report points out. "RV accommodation has been occurring since 2003, when a temporary permit (2 years) was issued and dump point installed. Council does not have a record of any complaints from nearby residents during this period." The plan was to create a distinct zone for visitor accommodation and establish clear rules around the use of the site by overnight visitors. "It is intended that these actions will ensure that the remainder of the reserve is unencumbered and protect the infrastructure at the site for locals and day visitors," it added. Have your say
Council throws down welcome mat
New free-camp opens in Whitsundays
WHITSUNDAY Regional Council has thrown down the welcome mat for free-camping caravanners and other travellers. It has opened a 72-hour lakeside camping area as part of plans to "activate" the picturesque Lake Proserpine. Mayor Andrew Willcox said the aim was to turn the area into a tourism hotspot "Free camping at Lake Proserpine opens just in time for the long weekend," he said. An extra toilet block and shower camping amenities are under construction so that RVs and campers utilising the area need to be self-sufficient. Alternatively, existing amenities to the north of the camping area can be utilised. Camp rules ban loud music and open fires. Pets will have to be on a leash at all times, be registered and also microchipped. Have your say
School holidaymakers targetted
Hooded thieves raid Tweed parks
THIEVES are targetting caravan parks as school holidays get underway in northern New South Wales. Property worth thousands of dollars has been stolen from parks between Tweed Heads and Pottsville, according to police. Reports over the weekend describe the offenders as being small in stature and wearing hoodies and hats to conceal their identifies. "The offenders have been targeting caravan parks, stealing pushbikes, iPads, televisions, phones and other various electronic items," a spokesperson said.The bandits are using bolt cutters to cut cables and locks from bikes secured to caravans and cars. Parks are working closely with police to prevent the crimes and police have stepped up patrols. They have encouraged people to report anti social or suspicious behavior to police at the time by calling Tweed Heads Police station on 07 55069499 or 000 in the case of an emergency (crime occurring at the time). Have your say
Money not paid into trust account allegation
Man charged over caravan consignment sales
A MAN has been charged over an alleged theft of over $500,000 from people he had contracts with to sell 25 caravans on consignment. It is alleged that Instead of the funds from sales being transferred into trust accounts, as required under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (1973), he deposited them in his main trading account instead of the relevant trust account. It will be further alleged he failed to compensate the sellers of the caravans as per their contractual agreement. A police statement said the caravans sold for more than $650,000, of which approximately $550,000 should have been deposited into the trust accounts and subsequently paid to the original owners. Some owners were able to recoup part of their lost funds by taking ownership of other caravans held by the accused, but most did not receive any compensation at all, it is alleged. A 69-year-old man has been charged with 25 counts of 'Stealing by Agents - Money Received by Direction' and is due to appear in the Midland Magistrates Court on October 18. Have your say
Possible traffic disruption and delays
Be patient as caravans approach city: council
ALBANY in Western Australia is bracing itself for an invasion of about 450 caravans. The city will open its doors for this year's 10-day Coromal Windsor National Caravan Clubs Rally at Centennial Park from October 13. The event is being hosted by the WA Association of Caravan Clubs and the local council has already issued a plea to locals to be patient. "In the days leading up to the rally you may notice an increase in the number of caravans in the region," it warned. "This may result in traffic disruption and delays. Please be patient and understanding during this time."
Peak industry body set for advisory role
CIAA joins digital champions initiative
THE Caravan Industry Association of Australia is one of 15 industry associations involved in the Australian Government's Small Business Digital Champions initiative. The project is designed to help businesses engage with digital technology and unlock their potential to become more effective, competitive and profitable. Associations selected to be part of the project will receive $100,000 over two years to establish a digital advisor role. "This advisor will work with our member state associations to create relevant educational material to support the digital transformation of businesses throughout the caravan and camping industry," CIAA said. "We are very pleased to be involved with the project and to assist our business community in becoming digitally ready." Have your say
Exciting new initiatives
CIAA beats new path to support
THE Caravan Industry Association of Australia has officially announced a new partnership to support heart health in caravan parks. The link with Australian family-owned and operated Defibs Plus will embrace exciting new initiatives around heart health as well as collaborative partnerships with the likes of Monash University. There will be new opportunities to undertake marketing campaigns. The move follows the Federal Government's announcement this year of a caravan park defibrillator subsidy scheme aiming to install 1000 defibrillators at caravan parks around the country, with the partnership extending beyond the simple installation and supply of defibrillators.
'Social heart of the community
Grant could give Gurley
IT IS hoped a $29,900 government grant will help turn a public reserve in NSW into a popular attraction for grey nomads. The Gurley Public Recreation Reserve could become the number one accommodation venue in the district for caravans, according Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall (pictured). The State Government handout will be used to improve power supply at the site. Mr Marshall said the Reserve Trust had been working hard to make the ground more caravan-friendly to attract more people to stay. "The Gurley Public Recreation Reserve is the social heart of the community and has so much to offer when it comes to affordable accommodation for grey nomads travelling up and down the Newell Highway," he said.
Results disappointing, says CEO
'Challenging year' for Apollo
APOLLO Tourism and Leisure has survived a "challenging year" of subdued RV sales, the global company reports. The Brisbane-based manufacturer of the Windsor and Coromal range of caravans has revealed its financial results for the last financial year ending on June 30, which show an underlying net after-tax profit of $14.7 million. This was achieved on the back of a record revenue of $365 million over the previous financial year. Chief executive Luke Trouchet described the results as "disappointing" but stressed that the health of his company ‒ founded in a humble backyard shed in the Queensland capital in 1985 ‒ remains strong.
Decision reverses 12-month ban
South Australia gives green
SOUTH Australia has joined New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania in allowing motorists to carry and tow more weight. According to Lovells Automotive Systems, the South Australian Government has accepted a new testing regime that proves the safety and integrity of towing upgrades and Gross Combination Mass revisions. This reverses a 12 month ban, while Western Australia is set to make a decision on the same testing regime later this year. The State and Territory jurisdictions cover in-service vehicles – those that have left the showroom floor. In line with the current Australian Design Rules, GCM revision and towing upgrades can be done on pre-registered vehicles by second stage manufacturers with applicable evidence packages. Only Queensland and the Northern Territory motorists are being disadvantaged compared to their counterparts across the rest of Australia.
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