voices its concerns
Park plan brings strawberry fields poison
OPPONENTS of plans to
build a new caravan park at the gateway to Victoria’s Yarra Valley fear
guests could be poisoned. Sandwiched on a 28ha green wedge between two
strawberry farms at Coldstream, it would offer 96 caravan sites, 16
eco-cabins and space for 40 tents. But the newly formed Caravan Park
Opposition Group has warned that guests could be exposed to fertilisers
and other chemicals. It also points out they would have to suffer noise
from farm machinery. Coldstream is located about 35km north-east of
Melbourne's central business district in an area popular with
fruit-picking backpackers and full-time grey nomads seeking seasonal work.
Yarra Ranges Council has yet to make a decision on the development.
Have your say
By Dennis Amor
Have your say
ALARMING statistics from
recent safety checks on RVs in Victoria suggest that most caravans on the
road are overweight.
More than half those weighed by police and transport officials at the
Princes Highway's Newmerella rest area were too heavy, five of them by
more than a staggering 20 percent.
And many tow vehicles had
inadequate rear-view mirrors.
The policeman who helped organise the two days of inspections claimed
there was a "culture of non-compliance" amongst caravanners.
Acting Sergeant Graeme Shenton told Caravanning News that many
owners believed it was "highly unlikely" their rigs would end up on the
"It was just about impossible to find anyone that could give a firsthand
account of being weighed while on their travels," he said.
"This perception has created a culture of non-compliance amongst
caravanners ... 'we won't get caught so let's not be too worried about the
No fines were issued during the two day blitz but errant caravanners were
issued with information sheets.
Caravans line up for weight
checks at the
Princes Hwy's Newmerella rest area
Act Sgt Shenton is himself a
keen caravanner and close follower and member of several online forums.
"As a caravanner and member of Victoria Police, I am able to look at these
issues from both side of the fence," he said.
"With every posting of yet another caravan crash or rollover, the talk
always turns to the number of rigs travelling around overweight.
"We have all seen the huge 'van
on the back of a small dual cab, loaded with bikes, generators and tinnies.
"Anecdotal evidence runs riot across social media about the numbers of
these overweight 'vans and the dangers they potentially pose to other road
"I decided to do something about changing the culture of non-compliance
and to do this I needed to show that police are going to take an interest
in caravans and that being weighed is something that can
‒ and will ‒ happen.
"I wanted to change attitudes to travelling safely. I want people to be
more concerned about their safety than being fined."
During the two days:
• 71 caravans were weighed.
• Only three drivers knew all their ratings.
• Most had an idea of what their maximum allowable weight was (ATM) but
were confused about how to manage weights.
• Three knew what they actually weighed.
• Forty-one were overweight in one or more ratings (ATM, GTM, ball
• Five were overweight by more than 20 percent.
• The majority of those spoken with were surprised at how heavy they were
and had underestimated their actual weight.
Act Sgt Shenton said there were
plans to expand the operation to other areas in Victoria.
"I would also like to try and
work with manufacturers and dealers to get some better safety information
out to buyers at the point of sale and handover of the new 'van. That will
be explored over the next few months," he added.
Apollo in major deals
APOLLO, the world's largest privately-owned recreational vehicle operator,
has acquired 100 percent of Sydney RV's issued capital.
The deal was said to be worth about $1.75 million and was
funded with a combination of cash and Apollo shares. "This acquisition
aligns with Apollo's strategy to grow the business by establishing
additional retail sales centres throughout Australia, leveraging the
Winnebago, Adria and Talvor brands," Apollo said. Meanwhile, it has also
agreed to subscribe $1.75 million for a 25 percent stake in
Camplify, making it the biggest shareholder in the online caravan and RV sharing community that connects caravan
and RV owners with people looking to rent these vehicles.
Have your say
Aussie Wide Caravans creditors' meeting
LIQUIDATORS will hold a meeting in Melbourne next month to show how the
winding up of failed Aussie Wide Caravans was conducted and its property
disposed of. The manufacturer of custom-made
caravans once turned over more than $1 million but collapsed in 2013 owing
creditors around $500,000. It was reported at the time that the main
creditors were "a related party who had injected money into the company"
and the Australian Taxation Office. The creditors' meeting will be held at
the offices of Grant Thornton Australia in Collins Street on March 15.
Have your say
and camping continue to smash records
ADVENTURE-seeking travellers continue to smash caravanning and camping
records. Latest visitor numbers released by
Tourism Research Australia again show unprecedented growth in caravan and
camping holidays taken by Australians. The year ending September 2016
recorded the highest overall visitor nights and record annual growth since
data was first collected in 1998, clocking 11.78 million nights and 13
percent growth on the previous year. Caravan Industry Association of
Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont was not surprised, saying that
Australians loved the great outdoors.
workshops prove a winner
THE Australian Caravan Club has invited local councils to take part in its
RV Industry Workshops project. This follows the
club's three recent successful talkfests involving businesses and
community representatives in NSW's Liverpool Plains shire. About 50 people
attended. "We would be happy to engage in discussions with other local
authorities on matters affecting RV facilities and requirements," club
chairman Craig Humphrey said.
pours cold water on licence idea
CARAVANNERS are pouring cold water on suggestions they should be specially
licensed before hitting the road with their RVs in tow.
Sixty-five percent of respondents to a poll on the web-based 20,000-member
Caravaners (sic) Forum asking "do you want to have to pay for and pass a
test for a caravan towing licence?" rejected the idea. Only 35 percent
indicated they were in agreement. The poll, which runs until next month,
follows a series of accidents and unexplained caravan rollovers on the
nation's highways. There is an increasing call for caravanners, whose rigs
can weigh over 4.5 tonnes, to hold special towing licences.
Have your say
Call for inquiry
falls on deaf ears
A LEADING Queensland caravanning identity's call for a royal
commission into Australia's multi-billion dollar RV manufacturing industry
seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Barry
Davidson, who designed and built the first Phoenix off-road caravans,
claims some companies are still cutting corners to reduce the cost of
their RVs. And he speaks from a wealth of experience ... his Caboolture
Caravan Repairs business north of Brisbane achieved a multi-million dollar
annual turnover partly due to having to put right many problems brought
about by shonky builders. Mr Davidson has often complained to
Caravanning News about the build standards of some RVs, even including
those from some leading manufacturers. He argues there are still
inadequate regulations and enforcement controlling the industry. Former
policeman Mr Davidson, who claims only 10 percent of manufacturers are
able to produce a decent product, is still waiting for an official
response for his royal commission call. He told us: "I do not believe that
self regulation will ever be handled correctly by a rogue industry that
has literally no interest in doing the right thing ... at any level."
Meanwhile, the Caravan Council of Australia's Colin Young commented:
"Hopefully there will be a government inquiry into the 'van industry now
‒ with one state minister for transport leading
the way ‒ aimed at quickly getting the stupid
and dangerous 'self-certification' acceptance abandoned and establishing
some form of governmental regulation of the industry."
Have your say
enters RV hire market
JAYCO, Australia's biggest manufacturer of caravans and motorhomes, has
entered the RV rental market. This follows its
recent acquisition of Around Australia Motorhomes, which it has renamed
Let's Go Motorhomes. "We see the demand for high quality RV and motorhome
rental services everyday, both from our own native Australians and from
people who come from across the world to experience our country's many
wonders," Let's Go Motorhomes managing director Michael Ryan said.
Crooks strike at
Victorian caravan parks
CROOKS have been making rich pickings at caravan parks on the
south-western coast of Victoria. Warrnambool
police have now issued a plea to caravanners to be more security
conscious. Thieves generally strike at night and have made off with
bicycles, fishing gear, eskies and portable BBQs. Police urge
holidaymakers to chain bikes and other property and store items inside
tents and caravan annexes if possible.
Have your say
holiday parks make Top 10 'hotel' list
THE nationwide BIG4 chain of holiday parks is celebrating an unusual
achievement. TripAdvisor, the world's largest
travel site, has included two of its holiday destinations in its latest
prestigious list of Top 10 'hotels' in Australia. They are the BIG4 Cairns
Coconut Resort in Queensland and the BIG4 Beacon Resort in Victoria. BIG4
chief executive Steven Wright (pictured) commented: "It’s very exciting to
see the public recognising what's perhaps the world's best-kept secret –
that many holiday parks offer extremely high quality accommodation that
competes with the best of the best within the hotel industry."
councillor honours tourist pledge
NSW's Wollondilly Shire councillor Matt Gould, who has pledged to develop
the area's tourist potential, wants to create an RV and campervan-friendly
camping area in Warragamba. If given the
go-ahead, it would be the first town in the shire to offer grey nomads and
other travellers a low cost camping facility for a night or two.
Councillor Gould has the support of other councillors. He claimed the
shire was missing out on a valuable revenue source.
Have your say
of time to check out Newcastle expo
NEWCASTLE'S upcoming caravan show in NSW has been extended, organisers
have announced. "For the first time, we will be
operating the expo over four days," Caravan & Camping Industry Association
NSW chief executive Lyndel Gray said. This would allow plenty of time for
visitors to check out the 170-plus exhibitors who will be showcasing their
products. The Newcastle Caravan, Camping and Holiday Expo will be staged
at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showground from February 9 to
facilities mooted for Peterborough
The council-owned caravan park at Peterborough in Victoria is so popular
it is having to turn away tourists. This has now
prompted local councillor Daniel Meade to suggest an expansion or overflow
camping facilities to cope during busy periods. He maintains this would
benefit local businesses which are losing revenue as travellers who can't
find accommodation head to other towns. Boyne Shire Council chief
executive David Madden camping facilities would be
reviewed over the next 12 months.
Have your say
campers' bible available soon
THE new ninth edition of Camps Australia Wide, regarded by many as the
budget campers' bible, will be available from February 15.
Published by avid travellers Philip and Cathryn Fennell, the book is a
comprehensive and authenticated guide to over 4000 free and low cost
camping sites throughout
Australia. "Once again we have notched up a great number of kilometres
checking, verifying and visiting existing and new sites and adding new
photos," the Fennells said.
chips over illegal camping
CARAVANNERS and other travellers are flouting laws which could land them
with a $1200 fine ... so they can enjoy million dollar views on
Queensland's glitzy Gold Coast. Dozens of RVs
regularly set up illegal camps at the Gold Coast Waterways Authority's
Doug Jennings Park at The Spit just north of Main Beach. Local mayor Tom
Tate has now called for a clampdown on the campers. He told media: "It is
costing hardworking tourist park operators tens of thousands of dollars a
week given these motorhome and caravanners should be paying to stay in
registered parks. I again call on the waterways authority and State
Government to clean up The Spit."
Have your say
opens new overnight rest area
IPSWICH, on the Bremer River west of Brisbane, now has a new overnight
rest area for caravanners and other travellers.
Construction work at Albert Theaker Park on the corner of
Champions Way and the Cunningham Highway at Willowbank was completed
recently. The $190,000 project was fully funded by the Queensland State
Government and offers picnic tables and shelter, rubbish bins, drink
fountain and toilets.
Pictured are, from left, Nat
Schiavello, SPS chairman Tony Pace and Tony Schiavello
major supplier to RV industry
celebrates 50th anniversary
SPS Corporation, parent
company of a major supplier of timber components to Australia's
caravanning industry, has celebrated its 50th anniversary. Starting
from humble beginnings in 1966, Pat and Rosa Schiavello commenced
operations in Melbourne as Perfect Wood Mouldings. As the company grew and
evolved, NCE and NCE Commercial were launched. Now a key supplier to the
RV industry, the NCE range of products expanded from timber for caravan
frames and roofs to being a major supplier of plywood, panelling, trims
and mouldings to electrical products such as audio visual, whitegoods, air
conditioners, cookware and lighting, bedding and flooring. SPS managing
director Nat Schiavello is well known for his commitment to the RV
industry in his role as president of the Caravan Industry Association of
Victoria, along with being the driving force of NCE. With over 30 years'
experience servicing the Australian RV industry, Nat, brother Tony and NCE
Commercial general manager Mario Pace have over 100 combined year's of
experience and involvement within the industry.
Have your say
cleared of any wrongdoing in tender process
THE Great Ocean Road Coast Committee in Victoria has been cleared of any
wrongdoing in a controversial decision to take over the lease of Anglesea
Beachfront Family Caravan Park. An independent
assessment of the process has decided it met relevant guidelines and
requirements. There was a storm of protests after the committee called for
tenders ... but then decided to award the lease to itself, leaving the
current leaseholders out in the cold after 21 years.
New guide helps
find perfect park
VICTORIA'S caravanning industry has made it easier for tourists to find
their perfect holiday destination. Each year,
more than 21.7 million overnight visitor trips are taken in the southern
state. And, according to the Victorian Caravan Parks Association, its
newly published and free 2017 Victorian Caravan and Camping Holiday
Guide is there to help.
welcomes 'amazing figures'
CARAVAN and camping holidays in New South Wales are to growing in
popularity. They continue to spearhead the
state's domestic visitor night growth, with almost 16.9 million nights
spent caravanning and camping in the past year. "These are amazing figures
which show how Australians' love of a caravan or camping holiday continues
its rapid rise," the state's Caravan and Camping Industry Association
chief executive, Lyndel Gray, said.
a dead giveaway
A BUDDING entreprenour planning to buy a house as an investment property
on the NSW North Coast asked an online chat room whether a proposed new
caravan park nearby would be a "positive growth factor" for its income.
One member of the propertychat.com.au forum thought it could have some
beneficial flow on growth with a couple of new jobs, fuel and food sales
plus caravan and car repairs. But he warned that if the park was mainly
for retirees and not tourists "then the only growth area is the local
Have your say
hosting more weddings
MORE and more couples are tying the knot at the nation's caravan and
holiday parks. According to Australian Tourist
Park Management, Murramarang Beachfront Nature Resort at South Durrass in
NSW saw the greatest increase in weddings last year out of more than 30
parks it manages nationwide. The South Coast park boasts the perfect
backdrop for the romantic day, with absolute ocean frontage overlooking
the pristine waters of Beagle Bay.
Have your say
ACC opens first
home stay in Apple Isle
THE Australian Caravan Club has opened its first farm stay in Tasmania,
chairman Craig Humphrey has announced. "The ACC
is delighted," he said. "The Burrong Farm Stay is sited only 30 minutes
from the Spirit of Tasmania dock. I expect it will become a very
highly sought after stopover for our members travelling to and from the
Apple Isle." The Farm Stay Scheme was spawned when a group of members
expressed an interest in making space available on their properties for
fellow members to stay short-term free of charge. Strict rules are in
place based on the laws of the relevant authorities. Meanwhile,
the CMCA will open its second RV park on the island next month. It
will be located at Railton, 20km inland from Devonport on the north-west
coast and will offer limited facilities including a dump point, potable
water and sheltered areas. It will be managed by CMCA members and
cater only for members in self-contained RVs.
Have your say
Parks shortlisted for government cash
CROYDON Caravan Park and Richmond Lakeview Caravan Park in north-west
Queensland have been shortlisted for a share of a $5 million State Government handout.
The money from the Building Our Regions program would be used for
infrastructure expansion at Croydon's council-owned 61-site park
(pictured) on the local heritage walking trail, while Richmond Shire
Council's grant would be used on for redevelopment work. State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said
shortlisted applications were for a range of "small but critical" projects
to support jobs and economic development in remote and regional Indigenous
communities. "Small projects can make a big difference in remote
communities," he added. Successful applications will be announced
mid-year, with work to start no later than February 28, 2018.
Have your say
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