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JULY 2020

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JULY 31:
WA's Shire of Katanning being urged to approve application for new tourist park comprising four caravan sites and eight chalets on Warren Rd farmland.


* Dramatic rise in caravans hitting highways after easing of coronavirus restrictions ... 10,968 people reached.

* Caravan overturns on Queensland's Bruce Highway ... 10,173 people reached.

* Blaze wrecks caravan and tow vehicle ... 9860 people reached.

* MP take up fight against unfair tolls for caravans ... 8269 people reached.

* Gong for Esk Caravan Park ... 5769 people reached.

* Dealers swamped with caravan inquiries as COVID restrictions ease ... 5182 people reached.


When               straight through will be the norm

FURTHER to the discussion about Mount Barker succumbing to the pressure from others to close the freecamp, I note that the majority of submissions complain (legitimately) about the costs of vanparks ... that cost being the reason for their disappointment.

My dissension revolves around the logistics of vanparks ‒ if I want to suffer from claustrophobia I can do it at home free ‒ and the time-wasting stuffing around booking in, filling out the forms, finding the site, backing in, unhitching, etc, and then in the morning reversing all the foregoing before getting on your way is a huge disincentive to the park situation.

Just about all 'vans of any size these days are fully self-sufficient and not in need of the facilities of the vanparks.

Towns that take the converse attitude of unwelcoming overnighters will soon enough see the loss of business suffered not by the vanparks, but the wider community generally.

There will be limited stopping for evening meal, brekky and coffee in the am, a walk around town to see the shops, provisioning, fuel and so-on.

Straight through will be the norm.

They are totally contra to the outback and smaller towns that bend over backwards to attract the hordes of nomads and overnighters to their towns.

Brodie Allen.

Hot               topic

THE owners of Suburban gas water heaters have been told to continue being patient.

This has been a total disaster for many who have purchased a new caravan and are stalled waiting for a resolution.

To me it seems like a politician's promise-equal-worthless dialogue.




Weber BBQACCC issues national recall

Lotus 'van owners warned of burns risk from external BBQs

Have your say

OWNERS of Lotus caravans have been warned there is a risk of burns when using some external slide-out BBQs. In a nationwide alert, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reveals that some Weber Q1000 barbecues were modified to help their installation on caravans sold between January 2016 and June 2018. "This has resulted in the temperature of the surrounding stainless steel surfaces exceeding the relevant gas standard's requirements," it said. "If the surfaces overheat, there is an increased risk of burn injuries." ACCC has advised owners to stop using them and contact their nearest Lotus Caravans dealership. Suppliers included Alan Grahams, Brisbane RVs, Chapman Caravans, Dave Benson Caravans, Freestyle RVs, Gateway Caravans, Gold Coast Caravan Sales, Harbour City Caravans, Hervey Bay Caravans, Ian Grant's Caravans, Lotus Caravans, Luxury RVs WA and Wagga Caravans Centre.

Childers RV signChamber's plan to boost business

Sign of the times for RVers heading
to friendly Childers in Queensland

Childers Chamber of Commerce in Queensland has applied for a $5000 council grant to fund a community noticeboard adjacent to the town's popular RV-friendly overnight parking area. Chamber president Teena Mammino said she recently counted 46 RVs at the facility. "There's no doubt that establishing Childers as an RV-friendly town was an excellent initiative by the council," she added. The rest area, complete with dump point, was opened three years ago and lies just a couple of hundred metres off the busy Bruce Highway. Local traders and tourist operators will be able to utilise the noticeboard for their benefit. Photo: Caravanning News. Have your say

Caravan smash on BruceThree treated for minor injuries

Driver fined $400 for causing caravan rollover on Bruce Hwy

Have your say

A MOTORIST has been slapped with a $400 fine for causing an accident in which a caravan rolled on Queensland's Bruce Highway. The 62-year-old woman allegedly failed to obey a stop sign in the Kurrimine Beach area in the state's far north. Police said a white Colorado towing a caravan was travelling south on the highway when the driver of a gold Nissan X-Trail went over a stop sign at the intersection of Murdering Point Road "and pulled out in front" of the rig. The 60-year-old interstate driver of the Colorado was unable to brake in time and hit the X-Trail, causing both vehicles to spin 180 degrees and flip onto their sides. Both drivers and the passenger in the Colorado received medical treatment for minor injuries.

'Many issues will now be resolved"

New laws improve protection
for caravan park residents

Lania ChoppingNEW laws have been passed in Western Australia to give more protection to people living caravan parks.

They will give tenants renting sites or homes in residential parks better clarity with contracts and costs as well as set new rules relating to terminations.

WA Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping (pictured) said extra protection was important for members of the community who rely on residential park living as an important and viable housing option.

"Many issues affecting long-stay tenants will now be resolved, including certainty of contract, disclosures, costs of park living, sale of a home, exit fees and park liaison committees," she said.

"I believe the laws strike a fair balance between upholding the rights of tenants and maintaining the financial viability of the park for operators."

Long-stay tenancies can involve living in a caravan, mobile home or park home located within a caravan park or lifestyle village.

The changes follow extensive consultation with tenants, operators and the community generally.  Read more button

Kui Parks advert

SWARMS of caravanners are heading to far north Queensland as the deadly coronavirus epidemic continues its stranglehold. Some tourist parks as far north as the Daintree are reporting brisk business as grey nomads and others in their RVs escape the state's chilly southern regions. "You wouldn't know there was a problem with a thing called COVID," Brisbane caravanner Charlie Brereton told Caravanning News. "It's quite a delight to be on the road at the moment without the hordes of grey nomads from Victoria ... and there's plenty of space at rest areas, too." Cairns caravan parks reported being near capacity again while there was a steady turnover of travellers at the Daintree Rainforest Village's Riverview caravan park 140km to the north, with one intrepid traveller telling Caravanning News: "It's so peaceful here. You wouldn't know there was a lockdown." Have your say

Take care'We need to be mindful'

Cop urges road users to give 'a
tad more' consideration to RVers

QUEENSLAND police have urged road users to give more consideration to caravanners as COVID restrictions are eased. Rockhampton's Sergeant Jode Fernie said many drivers would have noticed the recent increase in RVs on the state's highways and byways. "Whilst it allows our economy to regain strength, it also means we need to be mindful and share our roads with vehicles who need a tad more consideration than smaller vehicles," she said. Read more button

Minister Stuart Ayres'Raft of experiences' to be had

NSW minister backs new campaign to entice people into the great outdoors

NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres has thrown his weight behind a new consumer campaign launched by the state's caravan and camping industry. Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW (CIAA) has now partnered with the state government's tourism and major events agency Destination NSW for the 12-week Love NSW Caravan & Camping campaign. Mr Ayres (pictured) said the project would remind travellers about the simple pleasures of the great outdoors and the joy of being on the open road. CIAA chief executive Lyndel Gray said there was a "raft of experiences" waiting to be had across NSW. Read more button

Easts Riverside Holiday ParkFather and son spark alert

Guests test positive for COVID
after staying at NSW caravan park

TWO guests who stayed at the BIG4 Batemans Bay at Easts Riverside Holiday Park in NSW have sparked a coronavirus alert. The father and son arrived at the caravan park on July 13 and stayed in a self-contained cabin for two nights. They were not showing symptoms of the virus at the time but were tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to Sydney. NSW Health has contacted some guests directly and it understood they were classed as a casual contact of the father and boy. "Our park has had practices and protocols in place since the early beginnings of COVID-19 in case we had an incident such as this," the park's executive manager, Corinne East, said. "The self-contained cabin where our guests stayed has been closed off and will undergo professional deep cleaning in line with our strict COVID-19 cleaning procedures and advice from NSW Health." Have your say

Commplete Campsite camper  'Strong and solid reputation'

COVID-19 blamed for sending manufacturer into liquidation

By Dennis Amor

AN award-winning camper trailer manufacturer in NSW has hit troubled times as the coronavirus crisis worsens. The family-operated Complete Campsite, which specialised in building soft floor, hard floor and hybrid offroad campers, went into Complete Campsiteliquidation following a meeting of company members this week. Sydney-based Shumit Banerjee has been appointed liquidator. He told Caravanning News that the main reason cited by directors for the company's downfall was the impact that the coronavirus crisis was having on the economy  and their turnover, plus the closure of trade shows which were a "big driver" of their business. "I think this is reflective of the industry as a whole," he said. Mr Banerjee admitted that the Australian Taxation Office was one of the major creditors. No one at the company's factory in Lisarow on the NSW Central Coast was contactable today. Complete Campsite was launched in 1991 and has won a swag of awards, including best camper trailer manufacturer and off-road camper of the year. Last year it launched what it called "a more streamlined approach" to sales by dealing directly from its factory and attending shows, events and expos across Queensland. "With almost 20 years in the camper-trailer business, we are proud to have built such a strong and solid reputation," Complete Campsite once said. "And with each passing year, we are going from strength to strength." Have your say

Stolen Jayco caravanCops appeal for information

Caravan crooks make off with roadside 'for sale' Jayco

CHEEKY thieves reckon they picked up a bargain after making off with a roadside caravan bearing a 'For Sale' sign. But police are now on the trail of the caravan crooks. The 21ft dual-axle Jayco Starcraft had been left at the side of the Barrier Highway in Saddleworth, South Australia, when it disappeared in the early hours of July 7. "The caravan was parked on the western side of the road and marked for sale," said police, who have appealed to members of the local community to come forward if they have any information. The caravan is white and carried registration plates S670TCY. Have your say

Gas water heater'Still a few outstanding matters'

Go-ahead finally issued for the recall of
suspected deadly RV gas water heaters

THE long-awaited recall of potentially deadly gas water heaters fitted to many caravans and other RVs has been given the official go-ahead, it was revealed today. "While this is certainly welcome news there are still a few outstanding matters that we are working through before we can begin to have water heaters inspected," distributors Suburban and Coast to Coast said in a message to consumers. An urgent warning by Suburban last year revealed that some of its gas hot water heaters could generate elevated carbon monoxide which in some instances could spill into caravans and other RVs. Read more button

Fire destroys caravan  Police appeal for dashcam footage

Arson suspected in caravan blaze

POLICE believe a blaze which destroyed a caravan at Geraldton in WA could have been the work of an arsonist. Detectives are investigating the ferocious fire which happened on private property off the North West Coastal Highway at Glenfield during the early hours of Sunday July 12. A propane gas bottle in the caravan exploded. They would like to speak to the driver of a vehicle with hazard lights flashing which was parked on the southbound verge of the highway near the property between midnight and 2.50am. It is believed the driver might have information that can assist them. They have also appealed for anyone with dash-cam vision of the area to come forward. Rewards of up to $50,000 are available for information that leads to the identification and conviction of an arsonist. Have your say

Dr Gareth Butler'Highly influential role in tourism'

'Vanners important as remote and rural towns recover from crisis: researcher

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

BOFFINS from SA's Flinders University have turned their attention to the importance of caravanners as Australia's remote and rural communities haul themselves from the coronavirus crisis. Their latest project The Future of Australian Tourism in a Post-COVID-19 Landscape is aimed at helping stakeholders develop an economic recovery strategy. Researcher and senior lecturer Gareth Butler, who is heading the study, said Caravan Industry Association of Australia data showed that caravanners last year played a "highly influential" role in tourism, pouring more than $7.9 billion into the national economy. And, he told Caravanning News, they would also be amongst the first tourists to re-engage in trips to remote and rural destinations across Australia. "It is therefore crucial that regional businesses and communities that are strongly supported by tourism understand the intentions of this very important domestic tourism group as they start to move once again," Dr Butler added. To take part in an online survey, click here.

virusHunt for contacts

Caravanner tests positive to coronavirus
after 14-hour trip from Melbourne

A MAN who checked into a NSW caravan park after towing his RV from Victoria has tested positive to the deadly coronavirus. The man in his 20s was checked at a Sutherland Shire clinic after the 14-hour journey. His partner tested negative. NSW Health would not disclose which caravan park was involved. Meanwhile, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was "troubling" news. "We are looking at what other measures might be necessary for others in and around that caravan park, but obviously first of all there needs to be questioning to understand what his contacts might have been," he said. "At this point, because it is so early, I won't be saying much more. I thank him for coming forward ... that is excellent that he came forward and I encourage others in a similar situation that may have come from Victoria or Melbourne particularly to make sure you are on high alert, because we in NSW are on high alert." The minister urged people who "ducked out" just before or after new public health orders were issued to consider "packing up your caravan, your tent or whatever else you've got and head home to Victoria". Have your say

Stuart LamontOptimism despite the gloom

Caravan industry struggles through
one of its worst years on record

AUSTRALIA'S peak body for the caravan industry describes last year as being one of the most difficult on record. And, warns Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont (pictured), a small number of businesses will not survive. "That being said, I have also spoken to many who have been able to pivot, restructure and prepare for the future with the level of optimism for what lies ahead encouraging amongst the industry. Yet again, the resilience and determination of the caravan and camping industry and the people that work tirelessly within it continues to astound me." Mr Lamont said that while devastating, COVID-19 did present "enormous opportunities" for the industry as Australians wake up to the holidaying options within the sector. "As your national body we will be heavily promoting the industry even more so than normal to capture the attention of Australians planning their next getaway," he added. Have your say

Woodgate tourist parkVictorian plates spark concern

Cops put park under microscope after claims of illegal travellers

A caravan park near Bundaberg in Queensland has been cleared of hoarding illegal travellers from Victoria. Police put the Woodgate Beach Holiday Park, which is popular with southern grey nomads in normal times, under the microscope after claims from concerned locals and on social media that guests with Victorian registration plates were staying there. But police gave the all-clear after carrying out patrols. They told media: "We spoke to the management and we were able to verify that all the vehicles in that park with Victorian plates were lawfully in Queensland." The park is owned by NRMA Parks and Resorts. A spokesperson told Caravanning News it was remaining vigilant and adhering to all Queensland Government COVID Safe guidelines. "With strict border controls in place any Victorians currently holidaying in Queensland must adhere to border restrictions and sign a declaration to verify they did not come from overseas or Victoria in the past 14 days," she said. "If guests reside in or have visited Victoria in the last 14 days, they are not able to travel to our parks at this time. We have measures in place to ensure the safety of guests and staff, including check-in, extra cleaning practices and social distancing rules in shared spaces." Have your say

Jurgens Caravans'Big catch-up ahead'

Troubled Jurgens back in production with skeleton staff

By Dennis Amor

JURGENS Caravans is back in production after hitting troubled times. A statement from owner Paul Kyriacou said: "We are very pleased to advise we have recommenced manufacturing with a core production crew. Our supply chain from our sister company in South Africa is beginning to flow again which is critical for our future." Its factory is operating on limited hours and with a skeleton staff. "We are still here and we are still committed to making Jurgens a success," Mr Kyriacou said. "Our customer service function has a big catch-up ahead." The company hit the news last year when about 50 staff who turned up for work were forced to return home after finding the gates of the Pakenham factory padlocked. AL-KO International also moved to have the caravan builder wound up but later dropped its action. Have your say

Mystery of roadside posts

Dotty signs an aid to
safer overtaking

ROADSIDE signs bearing green dots have mystified some caravanners. They were the brainchild of road safety advocate and truckie Rod Hannifey. Truck Friendly founder and avid caravanner Ken Wilson (pictured) said the signs were part of a road safety initiative to help travellers pass slower-moving traffic. Though not widespread, they can be found on the Burnett Highway in Queensland and some NSW highways. "These indicate there is a safe place to pull off the road coming up soon so you can indicate your intentions and be prepared," he explains in a Facebook posting. "Approximately 500 meters from a safe place to pull over you may see three green reflectors, 250 meters you may see two green reflectors and just at the safe place you may see one green reflector. Not all places are maintained and they are not for overnight or extended stays, but just to allow others to overtake or stretch your legs and check your rig." Have your say

Canberra ParkModern sites and facilities

National capital's newest tourist park
ready to throw down welcome mat

CANBERRA'S newest purpose-built caravan park is set to open later this month. Located just a short walk to the new light rail service and only 6km from the city centre, the 73-site Canberra Park will offer a mix of powered drive-through and reverse-in sites catering for travellers in caravans, motorhomes, campervans or with a tent. In addition to the camp kitchen and amenities, the park has boom gate security and is pet friendly. FreeSpirit Investments director Blake Cottle described the new tourist park as a "natural extension" to existing facilities. "The new caravan and camping area at Canberra Park will provide modern powered sites and facilities for those passing through Canberra and for those staying longer and visiting the many attractions that the national capital offers," he said. Situated adjacent to Exhibition Park, it will welcome its first guests on July 22. Have your say

Caravan on road'Towing far more complex'

Safety warning as families hit the road during school holidays

TOWING a caravan is far more complex than simply hitching one to your vehicle, says a NSW politician. The warning comes from Transport Deputy Secretary for Safety, Environment and Regulation Tara McCarthy as the onset of school holidays sees an dramatic increase in families hitting the road with an RV. Ms McCarthy said this has raised more safety concerns too. "Between 2014 and 2018, there were 239 crashes involving a vehicle towing a caravan on NSW roads and sadly they resulted in 12 fatalities and 120 serious injuries," she said. Read more button

Mayor Ross EbbelsMayor promises an alternative location

Council dumps travellers' facility after complaints from local residents

CONSTRUCTION work on a new dump point for caravanners at Queenscliffe in Victoria has been abandoned. The local borough council has bowed to pressure from a "small group" of local residents who raised concerns about the facility. Mayor Ross Ebbels (pictured) said the council would not be opening the dump point at Hygeia Drive and it would be removed in the coming months. The council's 2018 Caravan Parks Masterplan calls for caravan facilities to be improved "as a priority" to ensure the community continues to attract tourists. "With this in mind, council will continue to explore alternative locations for another dump point elsewhere in the borough," Cr Ebbels promised. Have your say

Drew Williams' home-on-wheel stolen and trashedCampaign to finance new home-on-wheels

Good Samaritan and war veteran Drew
left homeless after caravan theft

KIND-HEARTED Vietnam war veteran Drew Williams was left homeless after his caravan was stolen and trashed in NSW. He lived in the Franklin Arrow with his dog Lucy at Wilkes Park in North Wagga Wagga but was forced to temporarily stay with friends after becoming unwell during the COVID-19 crisis. During one of his visits to check the caravan he saw a homeless man in a leaky tent and took pity on him, offering him the use of his 'van which later disappeared. Police found it 130km away at Albury-Wodonga, badly damaged and stripped of everything of value. Friends have now launched a GoFundMe campaign to buy the compassionate war hero a replacement home-on-wheels. Read more button

Tatura rest areaCCTV will assess trial's success

Tatura opens temporary rest area to entice travellers to stay awhile

TATURA in Victoria's Goulburn Valley has opened a temporary 48-hour rest stop for self-contained RVs. Mayor Councillor Seema Abdullah believes the 12-month experiment at the Douglas St carpark will encourage travellers to stop and stay in the region. "The trial aims to enhance visitation and economic stimulation opportunities from the growing RV market as the region expands its tourism offerings and experiences," he said. The area, which can accommodate three RVs, has been resurfaced and street lighting upgraded. There is also a CCTV monitoring system to help with assessing the trial's success. Have your say

Mornington campsite

Enhancing visitors' experience

Government injects over $20m into revitalising Victoria's outdoor facilities

CAMPING and caravan holiday hotspots and other recreational facilities across Victoria are set to be revitalised. The State Government has allocated $18.9 million to maintain and upgrade public visitor sites and infrastructure including recreation reserves, camping spots and picnic facilities. More than $2.5 million in grants are also available for 25 projects to enhance the visitor experience at campgrounds and caravan parks providing a further boost as tourists return to regional areas. Read more button

Reports of 'unacceptable behaviour'

Council to close Pinks Beach RV Park despite positive online poll

SOUTH Australia's Kingston District Council has decided to pull down the shutters at Pinks Beach RV Park. This follows an on-line poll in which 58 percent of 548 respondents voted to keep the park open. The basic council-managed facility has provided up to five nights free stay since 2013. But there have been reports of unacceptable behaviour such as overcrowding, large volumes of litter and power cords extending across the road. Meanwhile, it is looking into developing a new long-term RV camping facility at property it owns on Cooke Street, near the Kingston Golf Club. Read more button

Ivory Rocks campground'Happy to be hosting campers'

 Qld's newest private campground in
20 years ready to welcome guests

CLAIMED to be the first new private camping ground to open in Queensland for two decades, Ivory's Rock Caravan Park and Camping Grounds at Peak Crossing near Ipswich will soon be welcoming its first guests. Chairperson Joy Winnel said the facility would be happy to be hosting campers after the coronavirus crisis hammered the state's camping industry. "We are pleased to be offering a beautiful place for people to put up their tent or park their caravan and get out in nature again," she said. "We believe we are the newest private campground to open in Queensland in 20 years." Read more button

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Letter man

Tow training is
just 'common
sense' to make caravanning safer

CARAVANNING is returning to some sort of normality for some owners of RVs, with more and more again taking to the highways thanks to  the easing of the coronavirus restrictions.

But it seems to come at a price!

The usual stories of caravans leaving a trail of destruction on some high-speed roads are beginning to surface again.

I read one today in which a Queensland vehicle recovery  company said it was called out virtually every other day to caravan rollovers.

Surely this is evidence enough that people buying caravans should be required to take compulsory training on how to tow ... or that there should be a special licence issued before they can hitch up a caravan and put other users in danger..

It just seems common sense to me!

Frank Simmons.