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

JANUARY 2021
 


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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

JAN 31:
Caravan reported to have rolled several times after coming to grief on Queensland's Flinders Hwy south of Townsville. No one seriously hurt.

 

* Bundaberg's new caravan park ... 11,926 people reached.

* Hume Highway caravan crash ... 9098 people reached.

* Ferry fares blamed for Tassie tourist shortage ... 8961 people reached.

* ACCC warning on deadly gas water heaters ... 8183 people reached.

* How to distribute RV loading weights ... 6633 people reached.

* Qld Govt advice on jobs for grey nomads ... 6140 people reached.

* Early Xmas present for Coraki caravan park ... 5242 people reached.

MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Care needed when booking gas inspection

YOU may already know that when selling your RV with gas installed, you will need a gas certificate.

Unfortunately, in Queensland there is a certifiers-only licence available that allows individuals to do "gas certificates only".

That means if they find a problem (and they often will) they are not authorised and cannot legally do any repairs.

Consequently, they will defect your 'van and walk away with your money for the privilege.

This licence is relatively new and they only know the new rules.

So if your 'van is a little older they will try to apply the new/current standard, and so your 'van may fail.

There is absolutely no recourse for doing a defect notice incorrectly, as it comes down to their opinion.

This could encourage unscrupulous operators who are working the system to find fault and still charge you!

When booking a gas certificate inspection ask them two questions:

1: Are you a fully qualified gas fitter?

2: If there is a problem, what are you going to do?

If they are not a fully qualified and don't or will not do repairs, then save your money and call someone else.

Name withheld.




 

Tasmania caravan theft

RV and tow vehicle stolen

Caravan crooks strike in Apple Isle

POLICE in Tasmania are asking for help in tracing thieves who made off with a Jayco caravan and LandCruiser. The $70,000 white coloured 2013 4WD was stolen in Launceston on January 23 and is believed to have been used in the theft of the caravan a few days later. The 2007 Jayco StarCraft, registered number Y35AI and valued at around $50,000, was stolen from Coastal Marine in Somerset. It was towed away by a white 2013 Toyota LandCruiser, registered number D97ER and valued at around $70,000. Anyone with information about the theft of either vehicle is asked to contact Burnie CIB on 131 444. Police are also seeking information from members of the public who may have dashcam footage from the Bass Highway at Somerset or noticed suspicious activity at the site. Have your say


Plea after another breaks free

WARNING ON KILLER RV SOLAR PANELS

Flying solar panel

  Have your say

THE founder of a road safety program has pleaded with caravanners to ensure their roof-mounted solar panels are secure.

Ken Wilson's call comes after three people died when a panel broke free from a caravan roof on Tasmania's Midland Highway and another motorist recently had a close call when panels became dislodged from another recreational vehicle in NSW.

"With more RV owners wanting a fully self-contained vehicle and requiring more power options, solar panels are now one of the ‘must haves," avid caravanner and manager of the Truck Friendly program Mr Wilson told Caravanning News.

"There is an increasing number of home handymen doing more and more work themselves and searching for advice from the large number of social media sites where followers are allowed to offer uneducated, dangerous and sometimes illegal advice to those new or inexperienced in caravanning."

He said it was important for people to check that solar panels were securely attached to caravans and other RVs.

Three people were killed last October when a car had to swerve to avoid a solar panel that flew off the roof of a caravan in Tasmania.

Alarming video has now been shared on Facebook page Ausiecams of another solar panel coming loose from a fifth wheeler.

It shows a solar panel narrowly missing a following car and ending up under an RV under tow near Eastern Creek.

Mr Wilson recommends that solar panels be professionally installed and checked regularly to help ensure they are firmly secured to the roof of an RV.

"With the increasing number of home handymen doing their own work and so many social media sites often giving suspect advice from unqualified people, it is important that handymen do their research on the correct way and safely to attach their solar panels," he said.

"These panels usually have sharp aluminium corners and sharp mounting brackets that at 100kph can do seriously injury to, or kill, anyone in a following vehicle."   See video.


Kui-ad


Fay Miller'I've always done the best I can'

Former NT caravan park owner Fay recognised in Australia Day honours

By Dennis Amor

FAY Miller, former mayor and owner of the Red Gum caravan park at Katherine in the NT, was recognised in the Australia Day Honours. Ms Miller received a Member of the Order of Australia for her "significant service" to local government, tourism and her local community. Among her fondest memories was working as an information officer in the Katherine Visitor Centre. She is a former chairman of the Katherine Region Tourism Association and is a Nitmiluk Tours board member. Ms Miller has worked on the Brolga NT tourism awards since 1995 and has been a volunteer Red Cross fundraiser for over 20 years. "The pride for me is being able to serve my community with dignity," she once said. "I've always done the best I can and I'll continue to do that ... listen to people."


Donna CockingCitizen of the Year award for Donna

Meanwhile, WA's Mandurah Caravan and Tourist Park owner Donna Cocking has received the 2021 Australia Day Community Citizen of the Year Award from the state's Shire of Murray. She is also a board member of the Caravanning Industry Association of Australia and executive director of Experience Holiday Parks. She described the award as an honour and said she was proud to be an Australian.


Magpie killed at caravan park'He loved being around people'

Kids blamed for death of popular visitor to Queensland caravan park

By Dennis Amor

CALLOUS kids are being blamed for the death of a popular visitor to a caravan park and campsite in Queensland. The Kinchant Waters community west of Mackay is said to be devastated after Jerry the friendly magpie goose had to be put to sleep following an attack by a gang of children wielding sticks. The injured bird was found by park proprietor Russell Biggs who described him as special and adored by campers. "He turned up at the park about six months ago and just loved being with people," he told Caravanning News. "He was a favourite with all the campers and just loved being around people. He would jump on people's caravans and boats." Mr Biggs said he had even seen Jerry at an elderly lady's Winnebago watching TV with her. "He had no fear whatsoever and will be sadly missed," he said. Police have not been told of the attack on the bird. Have your say


Caravan on road  Concessional funding suggested

Domestic tourism will remain at risk without government support: CIAA

CARAVANNING and camping remain critical to domestic tourism and the recovery of regional Australia, according to Caravan Industry Association of Australia. It made the point as Tourism Research Australia revealed that the sector accounted for 44 percent of all holiday nights across the nation during the September quarter as people came to terms with a COVID travel environment. But the association warns that the industry will remain at risk unless sustainable support initiatives are carefully considered. It has called on government to look at other support programs as Jobkeeper comes to an end in March. They could include concessional funding for tourism operators that is paid back once a return to profit occurs, coupled with increased access to business advisory services to help operators pivot to new opportunities and manage cash flow. Read more button


  Risk of injury or death'

New Age recall after fears shock absorber brackets could detach

Have your say

MORE than a hundred New Age caravans could be at risk of being involved in an accident, it has been revealed. A national recall has now been launched after it was discovered shock absorber brackets could detach from the chassis on the RVs while being towed. "There is a risk of loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of an accident causing injury or death," according to the recall notice. A total of 134 caravans sold nationally between November 1 2019 and August 1 2020 and fitted with Cruisemaster XT suspension could be involved. "Affected consumers should contact their nearest New Age caravan dealer for inspection and repair free of charge," the notice added. Owners are urged to contact their local dealers or New Age Caravans on 03 9305 1714. Click here to see affected VINs


Death van Drawers open and generator missing

Police probe traveller's mystery death at NSW rest area

Update Jan 30: Police rule out foul play and say he died from natural causes.

POLICE are investigating the mystery death of a 55-year-old traveller at a NSW rest area. The man's body was found inside a campervan on Monday morning near Goonoo Goonoo Station on the New England Highway in the state's New England region. Drawers in the Winnebago were open and a generator missing. "While it's not known if the man's death is suspicious, detectives have established an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident," police said. They are appealing for anyone with dashcam footage taken in the area or who may have seen the vehicle at the rest stop to contact them. Inquiries are continuing. Have your say


Stolen caravanThieves sussed out RV

Unique towball no problem for brazen caravan crooks

POLICE are hunting thieves who made off with a Victorian family's caravan in the dead of night from the Bendigo suburb of Strathfieldsaye. The 24ft dual-axle Network RV was fitted with a unique towball but this did not prevent them towing the gunmetal grey coloured RV from where it had been left in Bassett Drive at 4am today (Sunday). Police are checking CCTV footage which shows people apparently sussing out the custom-made caravan some time before it was brazenly hitched up to a car and towed away. Anyone with information is asked to contact Bendigo police. Have your say


Lily D'Ambrosio'Making experiences more memorable'

Vic government pours another $2m
into improving caravan and camping

THE Victorian Government will splash out more than $2 million in the second round of grants to improve the state's campgrounds and caravan parks. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio made the announcement during a visit to the newly upgraded Hammonds Road North Campground. "It's great to see families now back enjoying affordable camping and caravan holidays and these upgrades will help to make their experiences even more memorable" she said. Thirty new campgrounds will be built and 30 existing sites upgraded between now and 2023, with more than $1 million in works already complete. Read More button


Adria motorhome'Risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or fire'

National recall after fears gas
pipes could develop lethal leaks

FEARS that gas pipes to ovens in some motorhomes could develop a lethal leak have sparked a national recall. "LPG gas may accumulate within the enclosed area of the caravan and there may be risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or fire, which could result in serious illness, injury or death," national consumer watchdog ACCC says. It is suspected the gas oven in some motorhomes may not be securely mounted which could cause its gas line to develop a leak. Read more button


Kate Meldrum  'Passionate for the future'

Kate joins board of Australia's peak body for caravanning and camping industry

KATE Meldrum, who has led Tourism Holdings Australia since July 2017, has joined the board of Australia's peak body for the caravan and camping industry. She will hold the position until the Caravanning Industry Association of Australia's AGM in November. Chief executive Stuart Lamont said Ms Medrum would bring extensive operational and marketing experience to the national board, while also covering areas of manufacturing, RV rental, and import and export. She has held several general management roles leading group revenue, marketing, sales and CX for the thl group of companies. She is said to be passionate about tourism and the industry, a keen road-tripper and has a passion for the future of the industry from a sustainability perspective in its broadest sense. At the AGM held in late 2020, Track Trailer director Gerard Waldron, replaced Nick Hunter from Sunliner Motorhomes who did not contest the election. Have your say


Retreat caravan

  Previous meetings raised $43,000 for cancer

Retreat owners' rally called off for second time because of COVID

THE fourth National Retreat Caravans Owners & Family Group Rally scheduled to be held at Barmera in SA has been called off for the second time. Co-organiser Phil Deaves said the event should have been held last October but had to be switched to next month because of the COVID pandemic. "Unfortunately we have to have to postpone it again to October 2021 due to the same thing again," he said. The group's last three national rallies raised about $43,000 for the Cancer Council and was spread over NSW, Queensland and Victoria, where the rallies were held. "People travelled from every state in mainland Australia as well as Tasmania & New Zealand," Mr Deaves said. Have your say


Workman's Campground'Non-compliance with rules'

Council shuts beachside camp
'for safety and security' reasons

WORKMAN'S Beach campgrounds in Queensland once described on the world's largest travel platform TripAdvisor as a "Gem Of A Hideaway Campground" has been closed. Gladstone Regional Council said it made the decision to ban overnight stays at the popular beachside facility at Agnes Water following multiple "safety and security concerns". It claims there have been continued incidences of non-compliance with camping rules. The campgrounds had only recently reopened following last year's closure to align with a Queensland Government decision to close all campgrounds in national parks, state forests and state-managed recreation and protected areas. The council said it would be closed "until further notice". Have your say


RV drawing'Keep an eye out'

RV manufacturers urged to prepare
for big changes in industry

THIS year is set to be the biggest yet for Australia's caravan industry. With the Road Vehicle Standards Act commencing in full on July 1, every RV manufacturer and importer needs to be getting prepared for these industry-wide changes, says the Caravan Industry Association of Australia. In addition, a revised version of the gas installation standard is set to be enforced in the coming months, while work continues on electrical installation standards where changes are expected such as battery location requirements. Industry businesses are strongly encouraged to keep an eye out for more information. In amongst all this regulator and standards activity, the association's RV Manufacturing Accreditation Program's technical team will continue conducting compliance reviews on RVs around the country at industry caravan shows and manufacturing facilities. Have your say


Roadstar caravan

  State-of-the-art showroom

Business partners to become
Qld's exclusive Roadstar dealers

A NEW Roadstar Caravans dealership will soon open its doors at Redcliffe north of Brisbane. Up to 15 of the Melbourne manufacturer's models will be on display from February 1 at the site of the former Torque Ford business in Oxley Avenue. Behind the venture are former luxury car dealer Martin Roller and business partner Marvin Burke. "We will be opening a state-of-the-art showroom and service centre where we will sell new and used caravans as well as servicing them and offering a wide range of add on accessories," they said. Owner of Roadstar Caravans Ken Nizam said it was "an honour" to have the businessmen join the Roadstar family. They will become the Sunshine State's exclusive dealer for the popular and respected brand. Have your say


COVID  Pub and PO visits land traveller in trouble

Grey nomad slapped with $1500
fine for breaching COVID rules

A GREY nomad has copped a $1500 fine after breaching WA's strict quarantine rules on three occasions. Queenslander Donald Jones, 56, pleaded guilty to three charges of failing to comply with a direction under the Emergency Management Act. Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court was told the traveller and his pet dog entered the state from SA, allegedly on the pretext of caring for a sick relative. His lawyer disputed that Mr Jones had said anything about a sick relative. The court was told that the caravanner has been travelling around Australia since last August and entered WA on December 19. He was quarantining for 14 days at a Salmon Gums caravan park, 100km north of Esperance, and was alleged to have broken the state's quarantine rules by twice visiting a local pub and also a Post Office between December 21 and 23. It is understood Mr Jones now plans working his way to Kakadu in the Northern Territory in time for the barramundi season. Have your say


Spirit of Tasmania   'Win-win for Tasmanians and visitors'

Government peels $240 off cost of ferrying RVs to the Apple Isle

CARAVAN and motorhome fares to Tasmania will soon be cheaper. Return ferry tickets will cost $240 less on average after the Federal Government moved to attract more tourists to the struggling Apple Isle. "COVID-19 has significantly affected tourism in Tasmania and the number of passenger vehicles travelling across Bass Strait, which is why we are moving to increase the rebate already available under our Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme to the value of $6 million," Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack explained. "For travel between March 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021, Australians can take their car or motorbike to the Apple Isle at zero cost and discover everything this beautiful state has to offer – a win-win for both Tasmanians and visitors looking to discover more of what the island has to offer." The announcement has been welcomed by Caravanning Tasmania who said many caravan parks throughout the state were struggling. "We rely so heavily on interstate travel to keep our businesses open and 2020 has been really tough," president Bronwyn Wild said. "We would like to applaud and congratulate not only the Federal Government for this incentive, but also all of industry who pulled together and helped advocate to make drive tourism in Tasmania more attractive in difficult times." Spirit of Tasmania bookings have plunged 85 percent. Have your say


Scratch-Its ticket  'It's going to be done in style'

Couple's dream caravanning trip around Oz starts from scratch

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

A VICTORIAN couple plan to hit the road in a super-duper caravan, courtesy a Crosswords Instant Scratch-Its ticket. The Warracknabeal duo at first thought they had won $15,000, but a surprise awaited them when they visited their local newsagent to collect their winnings ... their prize was a cool $150,000, ten times more than they thought. "We were so excited! It was completely surreal," the woman said. "It still hadn't sunk in though. All we’ve been doing is making plans for this prize. We would love to do some travelling around Australia in a caravan – a stylish caravan! It's going to be done in style." The couple has joined the growing list of grey nomads who have scooped their fortunes on the lotto. They include a couple from the Gold Coast who collected a whopping $10 million. And it didn't stop there ... a few months later they landed another $150,000 with a $10 Instant Scratch-Its ticket. Another grey nomad from NSW was "ecstatic" with her $985,744.11 lotto win. A few weeks ago two retirees on a round-Australia sojourn were $621,000 richer after a flutter on Gold Lotto. "When people are on holiday or travelling they are feeling very optimistic," a lottery spokeswoman told Caravanning News. "And that's when they decide to have a flutter. But there's no doubt about it, they are a lucky bunch." Have your say


Stuart LamontFuture looking bright

Caravan parks glad to see back of
2020, says industry's peak body

THE caravanning industry is glad to see the back of 2020, says the peak body's chief executive. Commenting in a Caravanning Industry Association of Australia Year in Review presentation, Stuart Lamont described it as "an horrific year" for caravan parks to trade in the face of raging bushfires and the deadly COVID pandemic. "But as an industry we have been able to pivot and navigate and come back stronger than some other domestic products," he said. Mr Lamont hoped Australians would become reacquainted with the caravan park industry and again fall in love with the great Aussie road trip. "The future looks bright and we are looking forward to how we can exploit the opportunities," he added. Have your say


Greenpatch camping ground  Rising water levels trigger warning system

Greenpatch reopens after safeguards
to reduce risk of flash flooding

THE Greenpatch camping ground in the small sugar town of Gordonvale in far north Queenland has reopened. The multi-million dollar upgraded facility now has additional measures to safeguard users from the risk of flash flooding. Located on the banks of the Mulgrave River and Hemming Creek, it normally offers 42 campsites plus an amenities block with toilets and showers, dump point and picnic spots. Cairns Regional Council has installed a warning system which is triggered by rising water levels. Read more button


Caravans and motorhomes'Not possible to have confidence'

Caravan Council outlines pitfalls of buying and using new RVs

GOVERNMENT regulatory control systems are a major reason for problems facing many caravan owners and potential buyers, it is claimed. And the Caravan Council of Australia believes that manufacturers and dealers are not entirely to blame for industry issues. "There are too many new, under-resourced manufacturers and importers competing in a very limited and highly-competitive market," founder and general manager Colin Young said. With self-certification permitted – combined with the lack of acceptable regulatory auditing of businesses and audits of vehicles – it was not possible for prospective buyers to have sufficient confidence in the design, manufacturing, compliance, safety and quality of all new caravans. Read more button


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LETTERS TO
THE EDITOR

Letter man

Caravan industry sending out 'very mixed messages'

ACCORDING to a story in last month's edition, there were turbulent times for Aspen (see story here).

Must say the caravan park industry is sending some very mixed messages.

In this story they say how tough the year had been, then go on to say that earning per share are up 20 percent, shares are trading at five-year highs and profits are up 35 percent amongst other good news

I bet there are a lot of other businesses that just wish they had those sort of problems during the terrible bushfires and COVID year.

Arthur Bugden.


Greedy locals

I WANT to comment on Silverton's plea on free-camping (see story here).

Greedy locals.

Instead giving money for value and a  bit more, they need to talk to some of the RV-friendly towns.

I did find Silverton a friendly place .

Eddy.


In agreement

I TOTALLY agree with Rod Hannifey (See story here).

As more travellers hit the road, the states and feds receive more excise dollars.

So they should spend more on suitable rest areas that include trucks RVers and cars.

However, politician greed and apathy sets in.

This must end.

Roger Lowry.