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Caravanning News is registered with the National Library of Australia's PANDORA archive

May 2018
 

Readership: Up to 32,000 monthly
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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

MAY 23:
One man reportedly injured in a crash involving two caravans and a third vehicle on Bingil Bay Road on Queensland's Cassowary Coast. Police investigating. And another man in his 60s was trapped in his 4WD towing a caravan when the rig rolled on Summerland Way at Banyabba in NSW. He was taken to Grafton Base Hospital with suspected back injuries.

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

 

* Heartless thieves make off with dying man's caravan ... 464,300 people reached.

* Truckies angry at rest area takeover by caravanners ... 74,957 people reached.

* Tribunal orders Jayco to replace faulty caravan ... 60,365 people reached

* Federal Court proceedings against Jayco underway ... 25,105 people reached.

* Elite Caravans winds up and restructures ... 20,478 people reached.

* Reward offered for information on stolen Pegasus caravan ... 18,407 people reached.

* New name for re-opened Island Reach campground at Imbil ... 9042 people reached.

MORE  LETTERS
TO THE EDITOR

Victorians extend a
warm welcome

IN reply to the letter from the frustrated Charles Carpenter and his lament of the road-choking visitors from the southern states (see letter here).

My reply is simply to say please continue to reciprocate and continue to visit Victoria.

We are a friendly bunch and are consoled by government figures that show Victoria is in fact the most visited region in Australia and not the grand state of Queensland..

And that is complete with its sunshine and seemingly unpleasant southerners (if we believe Mr Carpenter’s letter, that is).

We Victorians on the other hand, extend a warm welcome to our northerly fellow Australians, and although recommend you fit a cosy heater into your caravan, we assure you we will welcome you warmly.

Victorian Paul.


Truckie's parking woes

WALLACETOWN rest area, 25km north of Wagga, is a problem because of RVs parking in truck parking areas.

I pulled in for a few hours break to find four RVs parked there with gaps not enough for a semi to park.

A truck was parked just before the exit with just enough space to squeeze out when I left.

I was feeling very dozy on the road and the next truckstop was another 15km north and becomes a busy area after 5:30am.

Caravan magazines need to stop adding truckstops as caravan destinations.

Half the towns do offer free caravan parking and there are paid caravan parks around.

If they can spend over $50,000 on a 4WD and caravan I’m sure they can afford a caravan site.

Leave the truckstops for working truck drivers who are trying to work without killing themselves or someone on the road.

Paulo Furnari.


 

Painless Elite
restructure?

YOUR story in the last edition about Elite Caravans restructuring made interesting reading (see story here).

I just hope that the creditors of the "original" Elite Caravans are not financing this restructure by losing any money they are owed, as often happens in this sort of event.

I also hope that any customers who had paid deposits for new caravans are covered.

I guess we will see in the near future if this really is a "painless" restructure.

Ian Heath.


Insurers should
be named

YOUR story on the flooded caravan park refused a payout reveals another case of legalised fraud by Insurance companies (see story here).

I am wondering when either the government or ACCC are actually going to get on top of this sort of crap.

Or is it just to hard for them to exert themselves!

Khris.

Why not?

WHY not name them?

Craig.

Cancel policy

NAME the insurance company as I would jmmediately cancel any policies I had with them.

Greg.
 


 

 



 


CIAA conference

'Voice of customer never been louder'

Record attendance at
caravan industry talkfest

DELEGATES from all over Australia assembled at the Gold Coast's Star Hotel & Casino this week for the Caravan Industry Association of Australia 2018 National Conference. The event, now in its 23rd year and firmly established as the premier national educational and networking gathering for the industry, has attracted a record number of delegates and exhibitors. It was officially opened by association chairman Grant Wilckens. In a pre-conference message, he reported that the industry had seen "significant change" during the past 12 months and this would continue over the next year. "With so much disruption, the voice of the customer has never been louder," he said. "We must listen to feedback, adapt and innovate to ensure we exceed consumer expectations and improve profitability across the industry." Comment on this story


Coromals

Losses 'unacceptable'

Fleetwood Corp facing board
spill as caravan sales plunge

By Dennis Amor

UPDATE: A substantial shareholder in  struggling caravan manufacturer Fleetwood has requested a copy of the company's share register and plans to call a general meeting. Meanwhile in a letter to shareholders, the Perth-based company said it intended to deal with the poor performance of its RV business, revealing that it is searching for additional directors with experience at CEO level and with "outstanding credentials".

SHARES in Coromal and Windsor caravans builder Fleetwood Corporation took a pounding  after it announced sales of its RVs had continued to plummet. They nosedived around 20 percent to $1.72 and are now just above the $2 mark. The Perth-based company revealed in a letter to shareholders that losses for the second half of the current financial year were expected to be between $7m and $8m. Its RV division produces caravans, pop-tops and RV accessories. "The board considers the expected losses of the RV business to be unacceptable and is dissatisfied with the expected performance," Fleetwood said. "The expected result is driven primarily by ongoing losses in caravan manufacturing." It said heavy discounting by larger manufacturers at the recent Sydney caravan show had hit the company's order book.  Fleetwood had expected underlying EBIT to be around $1.5m, bringing the full-year EBIT to about $5.5m. "This expected result compares to earlier outlook expectations of an underlying full-year EBIT marginally ahead of FY17 ($14.6m)," the letter said. Fleetwood admitted in its annual report released earlier this year that despite a "turnaround plan" which included a revamp of the company's products and complete change in Fleetwood's management the situation remained "critical". Comment on this story


Defects amounted to 'major failure'

COURT ORDERS JAYCO TO SWAP FAULTY 'VAN

By Dennis Amor

THE Civil and Administrative Tribunal NSW has ordered Jayco to replace a customer's two-year-old fault-riddled $70,000 caravan.

The tribunal heard that Junette Nicholson bought the Sillverline 24.7 brand new from Watson's Caravans Coffs Harbour in 2016 and that it had since undergone warranty repairs on about 10 occasions and that over 90 items had been reported.

In his written decision, tribunal General Member Mark Gilson said the defects amounted to a "major failure" and Ms Nicholson was entitled to reject the caravan.

FEDERAL COURT CASE CONTINUES

LEGAL proceedings by the ACCC against Jayco are continuing. A recent scheduled case management conference in the Federal Court was "vacated", an ACCC spokesperson told Caravanning News. "They did not meet but there will be various other hearings along the way," she said. "It's very procedural." A five-day court case is set for March 4, 2019. Australia’s largest caravan and recreational vehicle manufacturer has been accused by the ACCC of breaching Australian Consumer Law by "unconscionable conduct" towards four customers who bought defective Jayco caravans. It claims they were obstructed from any redress.

"Consistent with my findings that there have been   and in fact still are numerous defects in this caravan, I conclude that a reasonable consumer would conclude that the caravan is not of acceptable quality," he added.

Ms Nicholson had claimed a full refund of the purchase price or a replacement caravan of the same value.

During the hearing, the dealership maintained that the caravan could still be used for its intended purpose.

And Jayco argued there was little evidence that the caravan had a major defect, was unsafe or unfit for its intended purpose.

But the tribunal found that numerous defects existed in the vehicle.

"Of significant concern is the supply of gas to the stove and the operation of the stove, the squeaks to the floor and the bulges/deformations of some areas of the exterior walls," Mr Gilson said.

The tribunal ruled that Jayco must supply a replacement caravan of the same type and of similar value on or before July 18 and that Ms Nicholson must return her existing caravan within a week of receiving it. Read More button


Caravan used for alleged drug smugglingX-rays revealed anomalies

Imported caravan 'used to smuggle drugs worth $5m'

By Dennis Amor

TWO men have been charged with attempting to smuggle millions of dollars worth of drugs into Australia hidden in an imported caravan. Police claim 91kg of MDMA and 3kg of ice were concealed in the recreational vehicle shipped from the UK. Australian Border Force identified the sea cargo as being of interest and conducted further examinations at the Sydney Container Examination Facility. After anomalies were noted during x-ray of the caravan, the ABF Detector Dog Unit also attended with the dogs giving a positive reaction. Officers deconstructed the caravan and found the drugs, which have an estimated street value of more than $5 million, hidden within three cavities. The stash was seized and the caravan allowed to continue to its destination where police arrested two men awaiting its arrival in St Ives, Sydney. They were charged with two counts of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug. If convicted they could face life imprisonment. Comment on this story


Letter of thanks to Evernew CaravansElwards farewell their trusty Evernew
TWO grey nomads have finally come to the end of their travels in their trusty caravan which they bought brand new 33 years ago.
The Evernew E2168 tandem was built 10 inches longer than normal by the Victorian manufacturer founded half a century ago because of the buyer's height. And it was the first caravan to boast two spare wheels on the rear bumper. It cost a mere $9,805 ... just $805 more than the couple recently sold it for! John and Gwen Elward have now written to Victorian-based family-owned Evernew Caravans to compliment the company, saying it had "put together an excellent solid and reliable caravan second to none". Each year saw the intrepid caravanners head to Queensland with their grandchildren for the winter school holidays. They did countless other trips, including several laps of Australia and six adventures across the Nullabor. Comment on this story

Big-hearted trader provides lifesaver for park guests
GUESTS stayiing at Esperance's seafront caravan park in WA now have access to a life-saving heart defibrillator, thanks to a big-hearted local businessman. Florissons Home Furnishers owner Michael Florisson took things into his own hands after learning that three key locations in the town a popular spot for grey nomads included the caravan park near his store. "My decision to purchase the defibrillator machine was influenced by the Shire's reluctance to install one at the caravan park, which they own," he told Caravanning News. "I felt compelled to put an external defibrillator machine at the front of my store, which can be quickly accessed by anyone at the caravan park." Comment on this story

BIG4 Premier 'descriptor''Descriptors' help choose ideal park
ONE of Australia’s major chains of holiday parks has introduced a novel way of classifying its holiday destinations. And some parks which do not carry the BIG4 name have also been signed up and will be included in the new categories. BIG4, which boasts180 parks nationwide, says the range of "descriptors" will help customers choose the perfect park for their next holiday. BIG4 chief executive Steven Wright said they would provide "peace of mind" for guests that they have selected the best park for their holiday needs. Read More button

Mullum locals fight 'vegetarian' campsite plan
OPPONENTS of controversial plans to build a 239-site "vegetarian" campground complete with yoga and meditation facilities at Mullumbimby, NSW, have taken to Facebook in their fight to block the project. The Residents against Mullum Tourist Resort page has already attracted over 560 members who protest that the proposed development on Coolamon Scenic Drive under the shadow of Mt Chincogan would be totally out of character with the town's rural landscape. "It would be the end of Mullum as we know it," they protest. Developer Mark Franklyn said it would be a purpose-built facility for the "consciousness movement" and would not seek to attract grey nomads looking for a camping site. Comment on this story

Mesa Campground

Mesa camp opens after $400,000 facelift
THE Mesa campground in WA's popular Cape Range National Park is now open for campers following a $400,000 upgrade.
It is the third campground to undergo a major facelift in the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage area within the past two years and brings the total number of campsites within Cape Range National Park from 109 to 160, with the ability to increase this further to 220 under the current management plan. The other campgrounds to benefit were Kurrajong and Osprey. Read More button

Green light for Agnes Water park extension
QUEENSLAND'S Gladstone Regional Council has given the green light for Agnes Water's caravan park to be extended.
It has approved a development application from Beaches of 1770 Pty Ltd which would see another 36 sites added to the Agnes Water Tourist Park. The holiday destination offers caravan and tent pitches together with bungalow and apartment accommodation. Comment on this story

Rottnest Island eco resort sod turningDiscovery Parks goes glamping
AUSTRALIA'S largest owner and operator of caravan and tourist park accommodation is leaping into the glitzy world of luxury glamping.
Discovery Parks has entered a $20 million joint venture deal with former ferry owners Baileys Group to build an environmentally sensitive luxury eco village on Rottnest Island just off Perth. Discovery has 30-plus parks offering cabins and more than 2500 caravan and camping sites nationwide. Its latest project will see 83 eco-tents with access to Pinky’s Beach Club complex with swimming pool, alfresco bar and licensed dining areas ... and not a caravan in sight. Read More button


Fennells give up their dream job

New owners for caravanners' camping guide

New owners of Camps Australia Wide

Cathryn and Philip (left) with
Michelle and Heatley

CATHRYN and Philip Fennell reckon they've clocked up around a million kilometres helping caravanners find cheap or free overnight pitches. But after 12 years on the road researching, the intrepid couple has retired and handed control of Camps Australia Wide to new owners. The book is regarded as a 'must have' by thousands of travellers who shun caravan parks in favour of free camping and roadside rest areas. Heatley and Michelle Gilmore have bought the business and will continue producing the guide, now in its ninth edition. The Fennells now intend enjoying "a bit of a break" before travelling again ... this time at a slower pace. "What a dream job travelling this great country and actually calling it work, an ideal lifestyle," they said. "We have seen so many amazing parts of Australia some of them over and over again and enjoyed awesome campsites, the wildlife, the scenery, the roads and last but not least the people we have met." Comment on this story


Heavy rains delay opening of Bundy RV Park
THE Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia's new RV Park in Bundaberg, Queensland, is likely to open for business this month.
Heavy rains have delayed work on the site which will accommodate up to 50 self-contained RVs at the Rum City's old showgrounds. The CMCA has said the facility, which will be available for members only, will operate for at least 48 weeks of the year, possibly closing during the wet season. Comment on this story

Greg Jollife (Groovy)Groovy's name lives on
THE name of one founding member of Australia's major online discussion group for caravanners and other RVers lives on. Greg Jollife, who went under the nickname of Groovy, played a pivotal role in the success of the Caravaners Forum, which now boasts a membership of around 40,000. Sixty-seven-year-old administrator Greg from Wollongong in NSW was a guiding light behind the forum but died in 2011. He contributed a staggering 7500-plus messages on a whole range of topics, sometimes controversial but more often than not offering welcome and valuable words of advice to other members. The forum became his first love and before his passing he even formulated plans for its future. To honour his memory, members set up a special chatroom called Groovy's Campfire. Meanwhile, member Mick O’Brien (aka Mick the Mungrel) organises a Groovy Memorial weekend, which recently raised an impressive $3000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Held at SA's Crystal Brook Caravan Park, the eighth annual event was attended by members of Travellers Chat  and the Blue Sky Caravan forum. The money was raised by a catered lunch on Saturday, auction of donated goods after tea on Saturday evening and a catered breakfast on Sunday morning. Over the last six memorial weekends, members have raised a total of $7824.03 for the RFDS.   Comment on this story

Airbnb costing caravan parks dearly
CARAVAN parks, long-time opponents of free camping and budget sites, seem to be switching their attention to Airbnb properties.
According to media reports, the Airbnb industry is causing "despair and anger" among some Queensland tourist park operators who are suffering a fall in cabin bookings. One Caravanning Queensland board member reportedly complained that the competition was "massive" and it was impossible to match prices as low as $58 a room. "There has to be regulation," he is quoted as saying. "If it's good enough to put regulations on us, then it has to be a fair playing field." Accommodation Association of Australia chief executive Richard Munro told media it was frustrating for parks to "see their businesses being swallowed up" by an industry which operated in an opaque fashion, with no one knowing where they were. Comment on this story

RAC Margaret River bush retreatRAC acquires bush retreat
SEVEN caravan parks now fall under the umbrella of Australian Tourist Park Management's partnership with WA motoring organisation RAC.
The news follows RAC's acquisition of eco-style Wharncliffe Mill Bush Retreat, which has been renamed RAC Margaret River Nature Park to promote its unique location in the heart of the Margaret River region. ATPM, which is owned by the NRMA, owns and manages close to 40 parks around Australia. Read More button


Planning already underway for next year's event

Club musters up $37,000 for Elmore's economy

Australian Caravan Club Chairman's Muster 2018

Club members at this year's ACC Chairman's Muster

THE Australian Caravan Club's Chairman's Muster poured over $37,000 into the Victorian township of Elmore economy. A total of 150 club members attended the five-day event, which was officially opened by Mayor of the City of Greater Bendigo Councillor Margaret O’Rourke. Club chairman Craig Humphrey said the muster provided an atmosphere for members to chat informally with him and three other board directors about club matters. Planning for next year's Chairman's Muster at Murray Bridge in South Australia is already underway. Comment on this story


Car wash plan falls foul of park residents
A QUEENSLAND caravan park is gearing up for a fight to block plans for a nearby $2 million car wash.
Kin Kora Village Caravan & Residential Home Park in Olsen Ave, off the Dawson Hwy near Gladstone, has blown the whistle on a local football club's money-raising idea. The CQ Wolves Football Club said profits from its proposed facility would help attract accredited football coaches to the region to teach Gladstone's young players. But residents at the park, which also provides sites for tourist caravans, believe the penalty for them will be souped-up cars with blaring music driving in and out of the car wash. The club's development application to the council points out there would be a 10m buffer zone between the car wash and the park's fence, plus an "acoustic barrier” around the facility, which would be closed between 10pm and 7am. Comment on this story

Imbil  Camping RetreatImbil camping ground to reopen
THE former Island Reach camping ground in the tiny Queensland town of Imbil west of Gympie will reopen next month.
It will operate under the new banner of the Imbil Camping Retreat. Facilities will include powered and unpowered sites, an amenities block with hot showers and a laundry. "You’ll be delighted with the variety of peaceful areas, and even your family dog will love it," the new owners said. Read More button

Council warns on short-term caravan accommodation
QUEENSLAND'S North Burnett Regional Council has issued a stern warning about illegal caravan accommodation.
This follows the influx of seasonal workers into the area. While providing an economic boost to the region, it was resulting in short-term accommodation providers breaching numerous laws, the council revealed. "Council has received a number of complaints about illegal camping, overcrowded dwellings and occupied caravans," it said in a statement. "There has also been a practice of renting out caravans in backyards. Using the residential land for short-term accommodation can breach council’s planning scheme and the Planning Act 2016 which carries a fine of up to a maximum of $567,675. Using caravans may also result in a lack of facilities such as toilets and showers which may result in public health issues." It said public health orders could be issued until risks to public health had been removed. The statement said that while the council wanted to protect the health and safety of visitors, it also wanted to ensure places of accommodation did not impact upon neighbours. Comment on this story


Earn and Return hunters

Hunters given marching orders

ONE'S TRASH OR TREASURE?

THERE'S a saying that one man's trash is another man's treasure ... though in this case it could well be applicable to the fairer sex. These two women were given their marching orders when they were caught rifling through bins at a South West Rocks caravan park in NSW. They were apparently on the hunt for "Return and Earn" containers which are worth 10c each when handed in. Every year, more than 160 million drink containers end up as litter in the state. The "Return and Earn" scheme was launched in December 2017 to help tackle the growing litter problem. Comment on this story


On-the-spot fines for campfire negligence
 
MORE than 100 campfires were left unsupervised at popular camping grounds in Victoria during a recent holiday weekend, it has been revealed.
They were discovered by Forest Fire Management Victoria crews who had to extinguish the fires in the State's north-east. Some campers copped on-the-spot fines while others will receive formal warnings in the mail. Regional Agency commander Neale Cleeland said it was "disappointing" to find so many unattended fires. "It really is very careless behaviour," he said. "The message doesn't appear to be getting through to some people within the community. Much of the region continues to be extremely dry and campfires can easily spread, impacting on the local environment." He pointed out that about 10 percent of all bushfires were caused by campfire negligence. Comment on this story

European waspPark's unwelcome guests meet untimely end
SCORES of unwelcome guests met an untimely end when they called into a WA caravan park for a good feed.
It happened after an eagle-eyed grey nomad spotted European wasps busily tucking into dead insects lodged in the grilles of vehicles parked at Wave Rock Caravan Park in Hyden. This sparked a full-scale hunt by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) officers, the Shire of Kondinin and landholders to locate the insects' nest, which was successfully destroyed. The European wasp, first spotted in WA about 40 years ago, has the power to decimate the State's horticultural industry. DPIRD has praised the tourist who reported seeing the insects. Support staff at the caravan park and the Shire also received a pat on the back for helping to locate the nest. Comment on this story

Council wants fairer deal for park residents
KNOX City Council in Victoria wants a fairer deal for caravan park residents.
It will push to include a compensation clause in the Victorian Residential Tenancies Act when it attends next month's Municipal Association of Victoria State Council meeting. Under its proposal, the clause would assist residents of caravan parks with the costs of relocating to new accommodation when parks are closed or sites withdrawn. Comment on this story

Colin Young, Caravan Council of AustraliaCCA offers advice on a plate
THE Caravan Council of Australia has issued a warning about non-compliant trailer plates on some RVs.
"Many have incorrect and incomplete information on them, which can be very misleading … and even dangerous," CCA founder and manager Colin Young (pictured) said. All information on the plates must be true, complete and applicable to that vehicle, not just for a "typical" or "base" one. "Far too many caravans have incorrect tare mass and empty ball-load figures stated," Mr Young said. "It is most prudent especially with new 'vans to have these figures measured at a certified weighbridge." The professional engineer said caravan owners were welcome to email a clear digital and legible photograph of their compliancy plate to the CCA for checking. They should also advise the tyre size, load rating (kg) and maximum inflation pressure (kPa) which is embossed on a tyre's side-wall. Comment on this story

CMCA flashes warning to RVers
CARAVANNERS and other drivers of other RVs have been warned to beware of new rules governing the speed at which they must pass stationary emergency vehicles with flashing red and blue lights.
This follows an incident in which a member of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia copped a whopping $1007 fine and six-month driving ban for breaking the rule in SA. CMCA chief executive Robert Barwick emphasises on the club's Facebook page that the speed limit varies ... 40km/h in WA and Victoria and 25km/h in South Australia. NSW will introduce a 40km/h limit in September. Mr Barwick said the NSW club member, who had a 49-year unblemished driving record, drove her campervan past two police cars parked well off a110km/h road in SA but with their lights flashing. Police gave chase and issued the dumbfounded and confused woman with an infringement notice ... after explaining she was clocked at 83kph. “It is crucial to have a thorough understanding of road rules and how they differ from state to state," Mr Barwick said. Comment on this story


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LETTERS TO
THE EDITOR

Campground a mudhole of
faeces and
litter ... no bull!

BULLS Camp was a spot where bullock carts bringing things through the Blue Mountains would be rested and swapped in the 1800s (see story here).

As to the improper use of the place, the NSW government actually has control over what is done with the place as it is their property and not the Blue Mountains City Council's.

There is a shower facility and all the shower fittings are often stolen, but its not the NSW government who has to replace them, it is the Blue Mountains City Council.

The spot is located inconveniently for any economic benefit to any town in the mountains and so while the locals pay for its upkeep, they get nothing in return.

It is gazetted as a dog off-leash area and when people bring their canines there to run free for a while, often they can't get in during major holidays.

And when they can, they're often confronted with human faeces because campers tend to flush their cassettes onto the ground without bothering to even dig a hole.

This happens because of laziness and the fact that the facilities have been, in the past, locked at 5pm and opened at 8am.

It is turning into a real disgusting mudhole of faeces and litter.

I live in the area and would pull up, on occasion when passing through, to have a coffee and relax for a little while.

Now it is full of whizzbangers and thump-thump music. Generally, people are packed in so tightly they get annoyed with each other.

Honestly, I have been forced out of using a spot that my rates help pay for and in which we have no say over its use.

I would prefer it go back to no-overnight camping and the area that was cleared for camping be turned into a garden full of the bush in that specific area.

There are probably very many good people who use the area but when you put your foot in human poop once, that tends to make you think badly of the lot of them thereafter.

Greg.


CMCA and
public land

HERE we go again, the CMCA controlling public land for their members only (see story here).

It would be better for them to purchase their own land where there would be no impact on the general travelling public.

Will the CMCA members be turned away from public areas in these towns?

Keith Welsh.


Sending warning
to 'van builders

REGARDING the Jayco v ACCC case (see story here)

I hope that this is viewed very seriously by the ACCC.

In future, I hope this will send a warning to manufactures to be interested in their clients.

It must be heartbreaking to have spent such big money, find so many things wrong then have nobody to turn to.

I cannot imagine how I would cope, the stress must be terrible.

Freer.

Onboard

I WISH I knew this was happening ... I would have jumped onboard.

I had a 2016 23ft Starcraft which was total crap.

Robert.