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MARCH 2020


Claims of 'draconian' measures by states and territory

'Heartbreak and confusion' as the
killer virus continues to spread: CIAA

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THE past 24 hours have been "heartbreaking and confusing" for many caravan parks operators, guests and the RV travelling community, according to the caravan industry's peak body.

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had indicated that the discretion for closing caravan parks and camping grounds due to the COVID-19 crisis rested with state and territory governments.

But, it claimed, this had resulted in several of them implementing "draconian measures" leading to the forced closure of caravan parks and campgrounds in several states, except for a small range of permitted persons.

"Ourselves, in close consultation with each state association, are working hard to change government definitions to allow the best possible outcome for industry businesses in what continues to be unprecedented times," the association said.

It has now published the current status of announcements made regarding caravan parks in various states from March 25, but stresses the information is subject to change.

New South Wales:
Caravan parks and camping grounds are to remain closed except to permanent residents and their visitors and people who have no other place of permanent residence.

Northern Territory:
Caravan parks remain open but all campgrounds in national parks and reserves remain closed.

Caravan parks remain open for all guests but all camping areas in national parks, state forests and recreational facilities on state-owned land must close.

Caravan parks are to remain closed except to serve residents and site tenants as well as those who either do not have a permanent place of residence. All interstate and international tourists must leave Tasmania by Sunday, March 29.

Caravan and camping parks are to remain closed except to people who live their permanently or if they are providing interim abode where the primary residence is not available. All non-commercial caravan parks and camping grounds in national parks and state-owned land are to close.

At time of this communication, caravan parks remain open in South Australia and Western Australia.

The association said measures put in place by state governments, whilst logical from a broad perspective in terms of discouraging Australians from undertaking short-term holidays as we lead into the Easter period, has jeopardised the safety of tens of thousands of permanent residents, and the estimated 75,000 road travellers who are now trying to cross borders to get home, and to the communities that these travellers will transit through.

It warned of:

* Road safety issues as people 'panic drive through the night or rest on the side of the road because they have no means to stay and rest in a caravan park.

* The forced eviction of the elderly and vulnerable people into communities leading to the potential for homelessness as caravan parks close their operations due to lack of clarity regarding who can remain open and the threat of enforcement for non-compliance. For many parks, the loss of short-term visitors and workers is making it financially not viable to keep their parks open for permanent residents.

* Pushing people to travel through regional communities across the country to go home as opposed to allowing them to bunker down in commercial accommodation, thus increasing the potential to spread COVID-19 further.

* Inhibiting caravan parks to provide regional community support in terms of providing accommodation for health staff (hero accommodation) or provide regional health quarantine capacity. Fixed-roof accommodation in caravan parks provided more social distancing measures than other forms of accommodation as they don't have shared walls and are fully self-contained.

* Confusion for RV travellers who are trying to go home and are now physically stuck due to border closures and the need to self-isolate for 14 days every time they cross a border. However, are not able to use a caravan park as in many states as they are now closed.

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia said it was in no way advocating for Australians to go travelling or to undertake holidays.

"Australians must holiday in their homes this year," it said.

"However, it remains our position that caravan parks must be given the opportunity to remain open to provide essential services to residents, communities and those essential travellers required to work away from home.

"At a minimum, and in line with policy regarding the operation of hotels and motels, roofed accommodation with the provision of self-contained amenities should be able to remain operational for transiting and the essential working population.

"We are working closely with state associations to advocate strongly regarding this position to federal and state government to ensure that the measures that are implemented to ensure the health and safety of Australians, don't lead to the creation of additional health or social crises in regional communities.

"Urgent clarity is also being sought by state associations regarding essential workers and their ability to continue to reside in caravan parks."


 No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without
the prior written permission of Dennis Amor.

Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
All Rights Reserved

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