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March 2019

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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

Manjimup Shire Council in WA is inviting submissions on its plan to provide four 24-hour parking bays for self-contained RVs outside the Northcliffe Visitor Centre and Public Library.

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


* Police trace owners of abandoned crash caravan ... 18,873 people reached.

* Billabong caravan auction ... 12,274 people reached.

* Dealers 'in dark' over Coromal and Windsor takeover ... 11,828 people reached

* Hunt to find buyer for troubled Aussie Adventure Caravans ... 10,788 people reached.

* Mass stampede for Aldi's sale of caravan equipment ... 9127 people reached.

* Caravanner survives blaze caused by unattended chip fryer ... 7355 people reached.

* First of new breed of Coromal caravans roll off Brisbane production line ... 7209 people reached.


'Real reason' behind plan
for  28-day camp permits

YOUR story about the Ararat council pondering on camping permits should have mentioned the real reason behind the 28-day permit plan (see story here).

There are four or five permanent residents out there and the council can't move them on due to the fact the council don't own the land.

Some have been there over 18 months and have clothes lines concreted into the ground and veggie patches.

They have hooked up to the power in the toilet block and connected hoses to the single tap.

The donation is not meant for the council ... it's for the Green Hill Lake committee for the upkeep.

The council do very little out there and wanted to close half the area, which we locals protested about and had it stoped.

The council said it was the cost to maintain the dirt road, which was rubbish.

Many volunteers maintain the area and put many hours of work out there.

The council should not take any credit out there, or be given any.

Name supplied..

Missing sites

RE your article last month concerning Townsville's "six free camping areas" (see story here).

Well, my WikiCamps shows one only site for free camping, but a myriad of holiday parks.

Am I missing something?

I have always stayed away from these northern towns due to the general lack of free camps.

As a senior traveller I just hate the crammed and busy holiday parks.

Money is not really the problem for me, but I didn't invest in a self-sufficient 'van to camp in Disneyland.

Where are the freedom sites?

WJ (Bill) Frost.




Jurgens factory

'Committed to make success of our business'


By Dennis Amor

JURGENS Australia has resumed production after this week's lockout. About 50 staff who turned up for work on Monday were forced to return home after finding the gates of the Pakenham factory padlocked. AL-KO International has also moved to have troubled caravan builder wound up. Calls to the company from Caravanning News went unanswered and dealers reported being "in the dark" over the situation. But in a statement issued yesterday, director Paul Kyriacou blamed the problem on landlords who had taken action over a "commercial dispute". "We are pleased to advise we have resolved this issue, the gates are open and we have resumed operations," he said. "A supplier has taken legal proceedings to recover outstanding payments. We are in the process of recapitalising which has taken longer than expected. We are confident of settling all suppliers in the near future." Mr Kyriacou said there was "still a way to go" in catching up with production to meet demand. "But please be assured we are committed to making a success of our business and rebuilding confidence in our brand. We acknowledge recent events have created significant uncertainty for our staff, customers, dealers and suppliers. We are truly sorry for the distress this has caused." Have your say

Kui Parls advert

Story and Photo By Dennis Amor
Have your say

Another caravan comes to grief on the Bruce Highway

Another caravan comes to grief on Queensland's Bruce Highway

TRANSPORT operations manager John Creenaune has re-ignited the thorny issue of special towing licences for caravanners.

And the 56-year-old former SES volunteer who has attended many accidents involving caravans revealed that raising the issue has resulted in him being bombarded with "unpleasant messages" from opponents.

Mr Creenaune, who works for Deniliquin-based Fellows Bulk Transport in NSW, believes would-be caravanners should complete "some sort of course" before being allowed to tow their RVs, which can weigh up to three tonnes, on public roads.

"I'm not asking them to get a truck licence but many of them hit the road and are just disasters waiting to happen," he told Caravanning News.

It's time for action from the federal government ...

Mr Creenaune's plea follows recent accidents involving caravans and trucks, including one in which a caravan side-swiped a B-double, causing it to overturn and trap the driver in the wreckage.

A transport industry worker for 30 years, Mr Creenhaune said he had witnessed some "horrible" incidents on the road and it was time for the federal government to take action.

"I have been to many crashes involving caravans and pulled elderly people out," he said. "And they all had to do with inexperience."

He questioned the logic of people spending $30,000 or more on a caravan but then foolishly steering clear of forking out an extra thousand on a towing course.

Mr Creenhaune who plans to retire in about nine years, buy a caravan and tour Australia revealed that raising the issue had upset some people who had sent him abusive messages.

"I just delete them," he said. "They can say what they like, but I'm just worried about everybody's safety ... and not just getting on the bandwagon."

Troubled dealership hit with rise in competition and suspected fraud

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

A FORMER employee of family-owned and operated Brisbane RVs, which is now under administration, has been charged with fraud.

The suspected employee has been accused of defrauding the Queensland company of over half a million dollars, which was only recently identified.

The long-serving female member of staff is understood to have been charged by police with several counts of siphoning funds from the company, located alongside the Bruce Highway at Burpengary north of Brisbane.

Administrator Lee Crosthwaite, of Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants, said the dealership, one of the largest in the Brisbane area, had also seen a substantial increase in competition in the caravan industry in recent years.

It is a major agent for Lotus, Paramount, Nova, Fortitude and Golden Eagle caravan and also boasts of usually having over 50 used RVs for sale.

Worrells has revealed that its total debts are in excess of $5 million.

Secured creditor Wells Fargo is owed about $2.9 million and holds a substantial amount of repossessed stock in security under its floor plan agreement.

Brisbane RVs' 19-employee entitlements amount to $330,000, caravan manufacturers are owed about $900,000, trade creditors/suppliers $300,000 and the Australian Taxation Office $150,000.

Worrells are continuing to trade the business in a reduced capacity to complete the onsite assembly of a number of caravans and campers, and to assist customers with orders and servicing.

In a prepared statement forwarded to Caravanning News, Mr Crosthwaite said that on February 28, Brisbane RVs' secured creditor took possession of a "substantial amount" of the company’s stock under its floor plan finance agreement, leaving it with little stock to trade.

"Prior to the voluntary administration appointment, the company received deposits for a number of new and used caravans," the statement said.

"The used caravans are now being held for those customers, pending payment of the balance.

"The deposits paid for new caravans, approximately $550,000, are unsecured creditor claims in the administration.

"However, these customers should promptly contact the manufacturer of the caravan direct as the manufacturers have advised that they are considering honouring those orders where possible."

A sale of the remaining stock of caravans is now being undertaken.

The first meeting of creditors of the dealership will be held at Worrells offices in Brisbane on March 13.

Three years - and still doing what they love most

Couple in twenties tell
of their life on the road

By Dennis Amor

MORE and more younger caravanners are shunning the bright lights and joining Australia's army of grey nomads. Official figures released by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia indicate that couples in their twenties are taking more and more caravan holidays, with a 16 percent rise during the last year. And while the majority are satisfied with a couple of weeks in a holiday park, others are turning caravanning into a lifestyle and hitting the road fulltime. Many may question whether a life on the road is for them, but for one couple from Bundaberg in Queensland it was a no brainer. Caravanning News caught up with the couple in their twenties who have spent the last three years travelling Australia's highways and byways and asked them about their life on the road. "Waking up every day to new experiences, new faces, new opportunities ... it's the life we wanted to live," electrician Jack Hambrecht and teacher Brittney Roberts (pictured) said. Three years after beginning their adventures on Australia's highways and byways, they are still doing what they love most. Read More button

CoromalCoromal, Windsor sale reaches final step
Fleetwood, former manufacturers of Windsor and Coromal caravans, has announced the completion of the brands' sale to Apollo Tourism and Leisure. It expects to receive $11.2 million in cash before the end of the current financial year. The 'second completion', which included raw materials and trading stock, concludes the transaction period after Apollo acquired the brand names for $1 million last year. Fleetwood managing director and chief executive Brad Denison described it as "an important final step" in disposing its caravan manufacturing business. "We considered the Apollo sale transaction to be a superior outcome for our shareholders compared to other alternatives such as an outright closure," he added. Have your say

Billabong caraavan

'It should never have been shut down'


By Dennis Amor

A SLIMMED down Billabong Custom Caravans is back in business. Founded 13 years ago and with nationwide outlets, The Victoria-based manufacturer produced quality handmade caravans at its Campbellfield factory in Victoria but shocked the industry when it went into administration and then liquidation last year. Business couple Andrew and Claire Lednar bought the brand name for an undisclosed price and are now breathing new life into the company, operating in a small area of the factory. Ms Lednar told Caravanning News that she and her husband themselves were owners of a Billabong caravan and had been following the company's growth over the years. "We just didn't want to see the end of Billabong," she said. "We thought of changing the name but it is one that is loved and respected by so many people."  Manager and former owner of the company Forch Salce told Caravanning News he was delighted Billabong was up and running again. "It should never have been shut down in the first place," he said. "The company is now a lot different. It is not 48 people turning out six or seven 'vans a week ... it is six people doing one 'van a week." He said the company's resurrection had been well received. "When news got out we had about 300 replies and only five of these were negative," he added.   Have your say

SunlandSunland denies financial problems
QUEENSLAND-based Sunland Caravans has dismissed allegations that it is in financial trouble.
Owner Roy Wyss Jnr was commenting on an attack by the Lemon group claiming that this was the reason it did not attend the Victorian caravan show. He told Caravanning News: "They are posting damaging garbage based on speculation rather than facts." Mr Wyss explained that Sunland did not attend the show because it did not qualify under new rules set in place by the organisers after its Victorian dealer retired earlier this year. "We are, of course, at the Gold Coast show this year and Sydney and Brisbane shows," he said. "There is no doubt the group's onslaught is doing great harm to a business built on its good reputation and can cause the loss of livelihood to a great many people." Have your say

Sporties Tuncurry camp hostClub's RV site a smash hit with travellers
A NSW sports club's trial RV campsite has mushroomed into a resounding success.
The experiment, launched two years ago at Sporties Tuncurry in the State's Mid North Coast region, got off to a slow start but quickly gathered momentum with nearly a thousand self-contained caravans and motorhomes using the facility last year. Bar and bistro takings at the club have soared, proving that RV patrons are using club facilities. A delighted official told Caravanning News that plans were now afoot to extend the site. Read more button

Romance on the roadRomance just a road-trip away
ROMANCE for some travellers is just a road-trip away, according to the caravanning and camping industry.
In fact, according to the Caravanning Industry Association of Australia, camping sojourns are particularly good for improving relationships. It's Real Richness Report found that 85 percent of campers felt closer to their spouse or partner compared to 65 percent of non-campers. For couples looking to make the most of time away together, camping trips offered a chance to disconnect from technology and enjoy time with one another in nature, with 94 percent of campers believing that camping creates happy memories. Read more button

CampfireAlarming stats on campfire safety
A NEW survey has revealed disturbing statistics on campfire safety.
The alarming findings came during one of Victoria's peak times for camping and as the State ‒ one of the most fire-prone areas in the world ‒ experienced a period of high temperatures. Park Rangers are concerned after the survey showed that an incredible three quarters of campers had no idea how to correctly extinguish a campfire. The remaining 74 percent thought it should be extinguished by covering with soil or sand. Campfires must always be fully extinguished with water, not soil, and must be cool to touch before being safe to leave. Read More button

CMCA park signCMCA opens gates for non-members
The CMCA, Australia's largest RV club with over 70,000 members, has relaxed its rules and will now allow non-members to use its low-cost RV parks.
Up to 15 percent of sites may be available during busy periods but each park will be assessed individually to determine the mix. CMCA chairman Garry Lee described it as an exciting step for increasing the club's membership. It has parks in Ingham, Bundaberg, Chinchilla (Qld) and Railton (Tas). Its facility in Euston (NSW) is undergoing redevelopment while a sixth park in Penola (SA) is in its early stages of development  Read more button

The Kerrigan family outsude The Castle

The Kerrigan family outside their
famous home dubbed
The Castle

'The Castle' caravan park plan blocked

Councillors decide to 'tell
him he's dreaming'

By Dennis Amor

INDIGO Shire councillors in Victoria have rejected plans for a new caravan park which would have been home to one of Australia's most famous houses. The proposed development by George Fendyk at Beechworth's Mayday Hills Precinct would have included Darryl Kerrigan’s much loved weatherboard home which featured in the hit movie The Castle, together with a timber carving of the fictional Darryl. It was planned to use the iconic building as a tourist attraction, office and caretakers' residence. But councillors at their recent meeting backed a motion from Councillor Jenny O'Connor calling for non-approval of the planning permit application. It was argued the site was incompatible with the "sensitive" agricultural and heritage area. Councillors were also worried  it could become a permanent residential facility. The development's first phase would have included drive-through sites, seven standard caravan and 10 camping sites, car parking together with an ablutions block and camp kitchen. The second would have seen more caravan sites and about 35 permanent accommodation cabins plus recreation areas. Have your say

Nova caravanQld top state for caravan ownership
MORE Queenslanders own caravans than in any other State, according to Caravan Industry Association of Australia's latest statistics.
A total of 163,389 banana benders registered their 'vans in 2018 compared with only 16,703 motorhomes. The Bundaberg region was the top postcode for caravan ownership with 4326 'vans while the Hervey Bay region came in second with 4048 'vans. Victoria claimed to be the heart of the caravan industry was second in the list with 150,990 caravans and 13,542 motorhomes. Other figures are ACT: 4714 caravans and 461 motorhomes; NSW: 139,240 caravans and 18,458 motorhomes; NT: 1691 caravans and 244 motorhomes; SA: 50,294 caravans and 4416 motorhomes; Tasmania: 15,583 caravans and 4915 motorhomes, and WA: 86,866 caravans and 7871 motorhomes. Have your say

ACC receives defibrillatorCaravan dealer with a big heart
A CARAVAN dealership in Western Australia has donated a life-saving piece of equipment to a branch of the nationwide caravan club.
When Bob Elkington and Jennie Morison were finalising the purchase of a new caravan they asked Luxury RVs general manager Luke Bell if he would sponsor their caravan group, the Wait Awhile Nomads. And, much to their delight, he was more than happy to oblige ... in the form a brand new defibrillator. "With a branch membership of 62 this defibrillator has the potential to save lives," delighted branch secretary David Braidwood said. Read More button

Grren Patch sign$2.4m upgrade underway at Green Patch
A POPULAR short-stay camping ground at Cairns in far north Queensland is undergoing a $2.4m upgrade.
Gordonvale's Green Patch facility will be provided with 42 campsites and a new amenities block with toilets and showers, dump point and day-use facilities such as picnic spots. On the banks of the Mulgrave River and Hemming Creek, the camping ground has been closed during the wet season and is expected to reopen in June. Flood warning signs will be installed to alert campers of possible- inundation. Council officers will patrol the area and if required advise campers to evacuate. The Queensland Government has contributed $1.5 million toward the cost of the upgrades under Round Two of the Works for Queensland program. Have your say

Lambs ValleyLambs Valley locals oppose park plan
PLANS for a 48-site 'eco-friendly' caravan park in the Hunter Region's Lambs Valley in NSW have upset locals.
They argue that the development, which would include cabins, glamping tents and caravan sites, would have too many adverse impacts on their peaceful surroundings. They argue that when full, the park's 400 guests would double the valley's population. They also warned that floods could cut the access road and bring power outages for up to a week. They wondered how caravan park guests would cope in such an event. Singleton Council is now reviewing the development application for the park, which would be located on a 372-hectare grazing property owned by ANZ Inheritance. Have your say

Motorhome stuck under bridge'Check dimensions before driving'

Melbourne's notorious low bridge snares another victim

GREY nomads and other travellers have again been warned about the notorious Montague Street Bridge in Melbourne. Numerous RVers on their way to the Spirit of Tasmania ferries have been caught unaware by the three-metre high structure in the city's south. The latest victim was the driver of a motorhome who failed to obey five warning signs before becoming well and truly stuck under the light railway bridge, which has become so infamous it has a Facebook page of its own. He was unhurt but the vehicle's roof was slightly damaged. VicTraffic said it was the responsibility of drivers to know how long, heavy and high their vehicles were. "Check your dimensions before driving," it said. "And please pay attention to the five warning signs, the gantries and the low clearance signs." Have your say

Coconut Grove Caravan ParkCoconut Grove sells at auction for $1.7m
HERVEY Bay's 93-site Coconut Grove caravan park in Queensland has sold at auction for $1.7 million. Marketed by Ray White's Glenn Fallon, the 1.9ha property was snapped up by a consortium of Queensland-based caravan operators. There were six registered bidders, with bids opening at $1 million. "We had more than 30 enquiries throughout the campaign with strong interest coming from Queensland, but there was also interest from around Australia," Mr Fallon said. There was a total of five bids during the auction. Have your say

Retreat caravanRallies continue to support Cancer Council
OWNERS of Retreat caravans will again be raising funds for the Cancer Council when they hold their yearly get-together.
Planning is already underway for the third annual National Retreat Caravan Owners & Family Group Rally, which will be held at the Geelong Showgrounds in Victoria. The event will run from September 14 to 23. "This year we continue to support the Cancer Council and all monies raised will be going to the Victoria Cancer Council," organisers Lyn and Phil Deaves told Caravanning News. All owners of Retreat Caravans are being invited to attend. Previous rallies at Mudgee in NSW and Maryborough in Queensland raised a total of $25,000 for the charity. For more information, go to the Retreat Caravans Owners Club or Retreat Caravans Family Group on Facebook. Meanwhile, about 30 caravans are expected to head for Queensland's Maryborough Showgrounds in April for the Queensland Retreat Caravan group first get-together. Have your say

AL-KO LightR chassisAL-KO set to revolutionise caravan chassis
AL-KO in Melbourne has developed an Australian lightweight chassis with the potential to revolutionise Australian caravan design.
LightR is a highly engineered chassis concept, offering the opportunity for significant weight savings over the traditional Australian caravan chassis whilst retaining the strong and durable characteristics required for the tough Australian conditions. It was created by AL-KO in Melbourne over the past two years. Read more button

Binnaway campgroundMayor dumps blame on thoughtless 'vanners
THOUGHTLESS caravanners are being blamed for the temporary closure of a popular camping ground in New South Wales.
The local council is being forced to carry out urgent repairs and upgrades after travellers emptied their toilet cassettes into the toilets at the facility in the small town of Binnaway on the Castlereagh River in the State's central west. And the closure has had a dramatic effect on the local economy, with businesses reporting a 30 percent loss in income, Warrumbungle Shire Council said. The campground is popular with tourists throughout the year with all sites regularly full on any given night. Read more button

Overturned cattle truckRoad safety a 'shared responsibility'
CARAVANNERS have been reminded that road safety is a shared responsibility.
This follows an accident in which a B-double livestock truck loaded with 46 steers rolled on the Hume Highway, north of Tarcutta in NSW. A 4WD towing a caravan allegedly sideswiped the truck causing its driver to lose control. The caravanners escaped serious injury but the truck driver was taken to hospital after being freed from his wrecked cab. Twenty-three steers also perished. It was not clear whether the 4WD driver will face charges. Comments on social media again highlighted the strained relationship between some truck drivers and caravanners. And NSW Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon is reported to have told the Australian Transport News: "Road safety is a shared responsibility and we all have a part to play in preventing deaths and serious injuries on our roads." He said that with more trucks on the roads than ever, it was "imperative that everyone takes responsibility for driving safely". Have your say

Northern RV

Half-year results show promise

'Pleasing start' as Fleetwood reveals 17pc rise in revenue

By Dennis Amor

WA-BASED Fleetwood Corporation, which offloaded its loss-making Coromal and Windsor manufacturing operations after pressure from disgruntled shareholders, has announced a 17 percent rise in revenue to $167.5 million for the half-year ending December 31, 2018. Underlying earnings before interest and taxes soared 57 percent to $15.6 million, while statutory net after-tax profit was $3.1 million after allowing for losses from Fleetwood's discontinued caravan building business. Managing director and chief executive Brad Denison described the results as a "pleasing start" to the financial year. "Parts and Accessories continues to look to servicing more of the imported caravan market, as well as after-market sales, to hedge against tough conditions in local caravan builds," he added. The results reflected the first contributions from its modular building division and Melbourne-based Northern RV, a major caravan plumbing and electrical services and parts supplier which Fleetwood acquired last year for $10 million.  Have your say

Ocean Reef caravan parkPark residents hot under the collar over parking
RESIDENTS of the Ocean Reef Caravan Village at Wanneroo in WA are fuming.
They complain that a new funeral parlour across the road has created traffic congestion, prompting one man to raise the issue with the local council after he missed an important engagement. He warned that ambulances or fire engines could have problems if called to attend a home on the street. Mayor Tracey Roberts said the council was aware of the problems. Director Assets Harminder Singh said the city's traffic team had begun collecting data in that area "to understand the issues that have been highlighted". The city needed to work with the funeral parlour operators and consider parking prohibitions if required, he added. Have your say

Colin Young, Caravan Council of AustraliaCCA helps owners of 'lemons' cut legal fees
THE Caravan Council of Australia is striving to help owners of "lemon" caravans cut the legal costs of getting justice.
General manager Colin Young (pictured) said some faced "serious time-wasting and frustrating hassles" trying to get suppliers to honour their legal obligations to fix defects. "Quite often, caravanners have been bitterly disappointed after lodging a complaint ," he said. The council is now endeavouring to slash the cost of having a 'Letter of Demand' sent to the caravan supplier by liaising with suitable highly-experienced solicitors and professional engineers. The idea is to provide an effective low-cost alternative procedure to the current expensive litigation process.

Wujal WujalGrey nomads to benefit from $1m upgrade
GREY nomads and other travellers heading to northern Queensland's Wujal Wujal will soon have access to more accommodation options.
The $1 million Wujal Wujal Eco Village upgrade is being fully funded through the Queensland Government’s Building Our Regions program. Four new safari tents – built on raised decks – will be provided in addition to a camp kitchen and other improved amenities and communal areas. There will also be designated camping and RV parking areas, including an RV waste water disposal point. Wujal Wujal is a small Aboriginal community on the north and south sides of the Bloomfield River. The name Wujal Wujal means 'many falls', highlighting the sacred waterfalls in the area. Wujal Wujal mayor Desmond Tayley said the new facilities and RV waste water disposal point would provide a reason for visitors to stay longer and explore the area rather than pass straight through. Have your say

Neew Coromal caravanApollo revenue rises to $183m
GLOBAL company Apollo Tourism and Leisure has reported a 6.6 percent rise in revenue.
Figures for the first half of the current financial year revealed it stood at $183.8 million. Net after-tax profit was up 7.9 percent at $15 million. Reporting on its Australian operations, managing director and chief executive Luke Trouchet said the addition of the Windsor and Coromal caravan brands to Apollo's retail sales offering represented a "significant opportunity" for the company. "Not only in terms of revenue generation, but it also brings consolidation to a fragmented caravan industry and establishes us as a market leader," he said. The first of the newly designed and impressive-looking Coromal caravans have rolled out of Apollo's factory in Brisbane and will be on display at the Gold Coast Caravan & Outdoor Expo which opens on March 1. Have your say

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Letter man

Council should recognise that travellers have their own needs

YOU reported last month on Bowen's daytime parking idea for RVs (see story here).

Every street in the town is a daytime parking area ... short-stay travellers do not want holiday parks for overnight.

Can't the council get it into their thinking that there is, and always will be, two classes of traveller.

Long-stay holidaymakers, probably with children, need and prefer a plethora of facilities while short-stayers in self-sufficient RVs only want a couple of days in town and will not bother with holiday "villages".

Far from being "unfair" to caravan parks, it is a different class of traveller altogether that looks for the informality of "camps".

Maybe the council should shut the op-shops because they are unfair to the regular traders, or shut the library because it competes with the

I suggest that the holiday parks should take on board the fact that an increasing number of RVs just don't need the holiday park facilities and should look at adapting their business plan to accommodate the short-term stayers.

WJ (Bill) Frost.


BOWEN'S mayor was reputed to have said there would be no freecamp facilities at Bowen while he is mayor.

Not having a 24 or 48-hour stopover area where people could park and spend $$ on stocking up or sampling Bowen is short-sighted and dumb.

He needs to talk to the people at Julia Creek ... they are going gang busters and drawing people to their area.

John McIver.

Here's hoping

SO Aussie Adventure Caravans has gone into voluntary administration (see story here)

Wow, who would ever guess this would happen.

 I would not think there would be many out there that could pull it out of trouble.

I feel for those employed that could lose out, along with people and companies that support them with products made offsite.

Hope people that have 'vans on order or being built don't miss out.

Hope the owners and managers are held accountable 'cause I bet their life and families don't miss out.

They would have probably known this was coming.

Allan Harris.