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

DECEMBER 2020
 


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

DEC 31:
Northbound lanes of NSW's M1 Princess Hwy at Cataract reopened after caravan accident. No serious injuries reported.

 

* Revolting caravanner caught on camera pouring sewage down sink at Queensland cafe ... 29,035 people reached.

* Caravanner, 44, dies in crash on Queensland's Leichardt Highway ... 11,805 people reached.

* Douglas Shire Council in far north Queensland takes to social media to warn against freedom camping ... 9419 people reached.

* Caravan crushed by passing truck on Bruce Highway at St Lawrence ... 8891 people reached.

* Stolen caravan found covered under tarps at Cessnock ... 6914 people reached.

* Bargain hunters warned to beware of scam ads offering caravans at ridiculously low prices ... 5249 people reached.

MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Struggling to meet the rising cost of insurance

I READ with the greatest of interest your story in the last edition of Caravanning News about caravan parks struggling to meet ever-rising insurance costs (see story here).

Is it any wonder they are having to put up their camp fees?

I know many of us criticise their charges and, in some cases, are having to resort to free-camping.

We certainly do, even though we enjoy the benefits of spending time in caravan parks.

But heading into the occasional free rest area for a few nights is the only way we can afford to stay on the road.

And we would like to remind everyone that our insurance cover for our tow vehicle and caravan is also soaring to heights never experienced before.

Looks like the insurance companies are making a killing out of all of us!

Christopher Meade.




 

  CIAA applauds 'strong choice'

Caravan industry looking forward to positive engagement with new minister

THE peak body for Australia's caravan and camping industry is looking forward to highlighting its importance with new Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Dan Tehan.
Chief executive Stuart Lamont (pictured) said the Caravan Industry Association of Australia (CIAA) applauded the strong choice of Mr Tehan as the incoming minister and welcomed the opportunity to stress the role which the caravan and camping sector could play in a tourism recovery. The caravanning and camping industry, like many, had been battered in 2020, but was seeing "really positive shoots" coming out of the domestic sector looking to undertake a great Australian getaway over the upcoming Christmas period. "It is important that the tourism industry retains strong leadership, and we look forward to positive engagement with Minister Tehan as we navigate the opportunities in market, supporting the livelihoods of many thousands of small businesses and local jobs, many located in regional communities," Mr Lamont said. Read more button

  Meanwhile, Mr Lamont has posted a six-minute video on YouTube in which he discusses the COVID challenge. He also deals with what can be expected in 2021. To view, go to https://youtu.be/-jivW5He5G8. 


'No option but to cut corners'

NEWCOMERS TARNISH RV INDUSTRY'S IMAGE

Colin Young

  Have your say

AUSTRALIA'S booming caravanning industry is suffering problems which are tarnishing its image and reputation, it is claimed.

"Professional and ethical caravan and camper trailer companies are being tarred by the same brush used by lesser-respected companies," Caravan Council of Australia general manager and qualified automotive engineer Colin Young (pictured) said.

He alleged that some newer and smaller companies entering the industry were "appreciably handicapped" by being grossly under-resourced in essential areas such as engineering, legal, finance, management, quality assurance and marketing.

"As such, they have no option but to cut corners in a futile attempt to successfully compete with the long-established, well-resourced, highly-experienced and well-known professional companies," he claimed.

"Hopefully effective immediate action will be taken to ensure that a new highly-respected image for the caravan industry in Australia is created, for the benefit of everyone."

Mr Young's comments came after the council received "many calls and emails" from caravan owners and potential-buyers.

"The vast majority of callers have experienced problems with their caravans, ranging from annoying minor faults to serious and dangerous defects," he said.

The number of complaints against the newer and smaller companies was significantly "disproportionately high" when considering the number of vehicles they sold.

Mr Young said many RV owners and potential buyers complained about poor knowledge and unprofessional conduct by some sales personnel, especially at major caravan shows.

"Often the salesperson cannot, or will not, answer even basic critical questions and provides statements which at best are ignorant and misleading ... and at worst downright lies," he said.

"The caravan industry needs to protect itself, by insisting that the government urgently introduces mandatory, comprehensive and fully-independent audits and assessments for all RVs manufactured."


Kui-ad


Fraser Coast holiday park$17m allocated for four holiday destinations

Travellers and locals to have say on master plan for Fraser Coast parks

FRASER Coast Regional Council in Queensland is preparing a master plan to guide the future of its four caravan parks. Travellers and locals using the beachfront parks are being asked to have their say on accommodation options and whether at least one should become dog friendly. Master planning will take place during the next five years, with an allocation of up to $17 million across the four holiday destinations at Torquay, Pialba, Scarness and Burrum Heads. Read more button


  Thirteen times more likely to die at work

RVers urged to help cut alarming suicide rate among truck drivers

GREY nomads and other caravanners could help reduce the alarming suicide rate among truckies, according to the founder of the Truck Friendly caravan road safety program. Ken Wilson said suicide was the second highest cause of death among truckies under 39 years of age, with statistics showing they were 13 times more likely to die at work than any other Australian worker. "While there are many aspects and causes of mental health issues with truck drivers, my belief is that a major cause may be that the drivers live a largely solitary life on the road, with more time to think and over-think problems and concerns than is healthy," he said. The avid caravanner believes that safely interacting with truck drivers with a wave or on the UHF radio could help to reduce mental illness and suicide. Read more logo


Simon Owen, IngeniaBoth assets will benefit from strong demand'

Ingenia splashes out $53m to extend
its chain of lifestyle and holiday parks

By Dennis Amor

INGENIA Communities has snapped up two parks in NSW and Victoria for $53 million to extend its chain of lifestyle and holiday parks. The 430-site award-winning BIG4 Inverlock Holiday Park will become the company's first holiday asset in the Victorian market. And settlement of the Middle Rock Holiday Park and Village at One Mile Beach on the NSW Mid-North Coast is expected to be finalised before Christmas. Ingenia chief executive Simon Owen (pictured) said it was "pleasing" to close the year with the addition of two established communities. "Both assets will benefit from the strong demand for domestic travel we are currently seeing across out markets and we are confident of maximising returns from these communities as we implement identified strategies for growth." Have your say


Rod Hennifey  Not enough to cope with demand

Road safety campaigner Rod
pleads for more rest areas

TRUCKIE and road safety advocate Rod Hannifey has accused authorities of not providing enough roadside rest areas to cope with a major surge in use by caravanners. "Not only are there not enough of them but far too many lack suitable shade and facilities," Mr Hannifey (pictured) complains in the trucking industry's Owner Driver magazine. Statistics show there are now more than 741,000 registered RVs in Australia, with many owners shunning caravan parks in favour of freedom camping. Mr Hannifey said this had been caused by many factors, including fewer caravan parks, higher fees in those which have been upgraded and higher fuel costs for self-sufficient caravanners who spend most of the year on the road. "This can be very seasonal, with many heading north from southern states as temperatures drop and then home again as temperatures increase ... putting large demands on already insufficient rest areas," he wrote. Have your say


Caravan park insuranceInquiry told of 'poor conduct'

Ombudsman accuses insurers of "killing off" small caravan parks

A GOVERNMENT inquiry has accused insurance companies of killing off small businesses, including caravan parks. Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the inquiry had heard reports of "poor conduct" by insurers ‒ including very late notice of renewal terms and price hikes ‒ effectively putting small business in the position of accepting the terms or being uninsured. NSW's Caravan and Camping Industry Association, the Caravan Parks Association of Queensland, the Victorian Caravan Parks Association and BIG4 Holiday Parks all made submissions to the inquiry which has now handed down its final report. It has been welcomed by Australia's peak caravan and camping industry body. Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont said the Ombudsman's acknowledgment of market failure and the need to provide certainty to small business operators was "a welcomed and accurate summary of the current insurance sector" and her recommendations were a step in the right direction to support the caravan park industry. Read more button


RV safety check in NSW  'Important homes away from home are compliant'

NSW turns spotlight on RV safety to cater for boom in regional road trips

FREE educational safety checks have given caravan and camper trailer owners the knowledge and confidence to hit the road as safely as possible, according to NSW Regional Transport and Roads Minister Paul Toole. They were recently held at Kempsey, Coffs Harbour and Grafton in response to a rise in regional travel. "With international travel restrictions still in place, and domestic restrictions only just lifting, we've seen a surge in the number of people wanting to explore all the wonderful things regional NSW has to offer in a caravan or camper trailer," Mr Toole said. "It's important that these homes away from home are compliant and can be used right across our state road network safely." Read more button


Spirit of TasmaniaApple Isle missing out

High ferry fares taking the spending spirit out of Xmas tourism in Tassie

TASMANIA'S peak caravanning industry body is blaming high Spirit of Tasmania ferry fares for a shortage of RV tourists on the Apple Isle. The news comes as newly released figures for November reveal it was Australia's worst performing destination, with falls of 40 percent on last year.  Caravanning Tasmania president Bronwyn Wild has now warned that if something is not done soon, Christmas caravanning travel will be lost to other states, resulting in millions of lost dollars for the Tasmanian economy. "With the aggressive push by other state marketing agencies to attract Victorians, Tasmania is missing out on the price sensitive market," she said. Read more button


Suburban heater

Carbon monoxide fears

ACCC renews warning of potentially
deadly water heaters fitted to RVs

AUSTRALIA'S consumer watchdog has renewed a warning to caravanners that they could be using deadly water heaters in their RVs. More than 18,000 of the heaters has been sold, but only only 210 have been modified or scheduled for inspection. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said that under certain conditions some Suburban-branded heaters which can operate on gas or electricity could become lethal. "They may produce unsafe levels of carbon monoxide when gas is used to generate the heat," it said. The affected heaters were manufactured between April 4, 2018 and August 1, 2019. "Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause death and exposure for a short amount of time can lead to serious injuries," the ACCC explained. "Carbon monoxide has no smell and is unlikely to be detected. It is also highly flammable and can explode on contact with a spark or flame."  Read More button


Proserpine RV park'The dumbest thing to do'

Caravanners fuming after council closes free park for wet season

QUEENSLAND'S Whitsunday Regional Council has come under fire for shutting its free 48-hour caravan park at Proserpine, The council banned camping, saying the RV park adjacent to St Catherine's Church in the town's main street would be temporarily closed for the wet season. "Once it is over, it will be reopened for the peak RV season to welcome travellers through Proserpine," it said. But angry caravanners took to social media to criticise the decision, particularly as borders are being reopened as COVID cases fall. "Quite possibly the dumbest thing the council could do," Bill Chegwidden fumed on Facebook. "They whinge that there's no tourism due to COVID, yet when the borders open, you shut Proserpine out." And Ange Nixon commented: "Must have a direct link to Mother Nature to know when the wet season is starting. What a stupid decision." Local resident Sophie Camm said the town had seen "a lot more people" spending money in Proserpine since the park opened. "While some accommodation providers might not be on board, it has been a great thing for some Proserpine businesses," she said. Have your say


aspen park'Nimble management team'

Turbulent times as Aspen fought to survive bushfires and COVID

IT HAS been a topsy-turvy year for lifestyle and holiday park operator Aspen. "It has been a very turbulent time for all of us," chairman Clive Appleton told the chain's annual general meeting. The financial year had kicked off well but that was the prelude to devastating bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted its short-stay tourism business. "On a brighter note, our management team has navigated the environment tremendously well," Mr Appleton said. "Throughout COVID-19 it has been very nimble, leasing the majority of our traditional short-stay holiday cabins on a longer-term basis, often to essential workers," he said. The profitability had held up well due to higher occupancy, cost-saving initiatives and government subsidies including JobKeeper. The 2020 financial year produced underlying earnings or 6c per share, up 20 percent on the previous year. Operating profit for the financial year rose 34 percent to A$6.64m. "Aspen's stock price has been trading near five-year highs which is very pleasing considering the challenging environment," Mr Appleton added. Have your say


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LETTERS TO
THE EDITOR

Letter man

Defective Jaycos: 'The law acts in mysterious ways'

I WAS surprised to read that the Federal Court has cleared Jayco of acting unconscionably towards four consumers who purchased defective Jayco caravans (see story here)

It was accepted that the company had made a false or misleading representation by saying a consumer was only entitled to repairs, when in fact their rights under the Australian Consumer Law included a refund or replacement.

I followed your link to the court's lengthy judgement and must admit I was even more baffled ... I hardly understood a word of it.

The law acts in mysterious ways!

Barrie.


Reasonable

I refer to your story about the tiny village of Silverton reminding caravanners that free camping was not allowed there (see story here).

It suggests a stay the local caravan park, where it costs $10 a night with no power..

This seems very reasonable to me.

Roger Lowry.