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JUNE 2020

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JUNE 30:
Two accidents involving caravans in NSW, one on New England Hwy at Armidale and the other on Castlereagh Hwy 30km north of Walgett. No further details.

JUNE 30:
Bundaberg Regional Council's Budget includes a $620,000 handout for upgrades at Elliott Heads Holiday Park.

JUNE 30:
Caravan Industry Victoria today announced cancellation of August's 10th annual Border Caravan & Camping Expo at Wodonga Racecourse due to coronavirus pandemic.

JUNE 30:
Queensland caravan owners will pay an extra 1.8 percent to register their RVs from tomorrow.

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


* Caravanner seriously hurt in NSW rollover ... 26,587 people reached.

* Caravan industry suffers $208m loss so far due to coronavirus crisis ... 9773 people reached.

* COVID-19 crisis thwarts caravan thieves ... 9418 people reached.

* MP's plan to use grey nomads to help outback communities ... 8644 people reached.

* Terrifying video of truck and caravan crash on Bruce Hwy ... 8424 people reached.

* Truckies happy at fall in caravan traffic during epidemic ... 6019 people reached.


People have
the right
to choose

HERE'S my comment on MP's suggestion for grey nomads' quarantine agreement (see story here).

I believe the days of fulltime permanent no-fixed address and with no house to return to after holidays are over.

There is a difference ... those who actually have a home to return to (mostly in another state) and those of us who live in their moveable home.

Please explain how motorhomes/caravanners are a threat in free camps or low cost camping areas.

They have been using them for years and no diseases of any sort collected.

We are self-contained and have limited money, so to pay caravan park fees all the time is difficult and virtually impossible for single travellers.

A lot of money is spent while travelling on fuel, food, clothing, tours and museums etc.

Majority of the time there is no socialising with others, and this is more so when you are single.

You are pampering to caravan parks who have been whinging for years over free or low-cost camping grounds.

People have a right to choose what is best for them under their circumstances.

Jan Allen.

Big Brother

THIS would be a bad thing as it is BIG BROTHER control.

How about testing these people and if free from the virus let then go and free camp between the destination.

Roger Lowry.

No worries

REGARDING last month's story on a nomads' quarantine agreement aiding Queensland's remote areas, as suggested by MP Lachlan Millar.

Would somebody ask Mr Millar if he is going to foot the bill for the two weeks isolation period in a caravan park when travelling over the border in Queensland.

Is he going to pay for all the other accommodation we will have if the free camping is banned?

One day, Mr Lachlan, you will be older and grey, but you won't have to worry will you.

Your retirement will be taken care of, and I'm bloody sure you won't be towing a caravan!

Fiona Horton.


Ivory Rocks campground'Happy to be hosting campers'

 Qld's newest private campground in 20yrs 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

Camper dies after assaultWitnesses urged to come forward

Cops appeal for help after man dies following assault at campground

HOMICIDE Squad detectives in Victoria are appealing for public help following the death of a caravanner. The 49-year-old man (pictured inset) died after being assaulted at the Toorongo Falls campground about 5km north-east of Noojee. Detective Inspector Tim Day said the assault appeared to be unprovoked and police have information that it was seen by a number of people. "We know that people witnessed the incident and those people will be able to assist us in identifying those responsible for the assault," he said. "More specifically, we'd like to speak to anyone who was at the campground over the weekend from June 19 to June 22." Read more button

Consumer watchdog says it would cut competition

Caravanning Queensland  may have to scupper plans
for new
'loyalty program'

Caravan show

By Dennis Amor

PLANS by Caravanning Queensland to offer a "loyalty program" to its members may have to be scuppered.

Consumer watchdog ACCC believes it would reduce competition in the supply of caravanning exhibition event services in the Sunshine State's south east.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released a statement saying it proposes not to allow plans by Caravan Trade and Industries Association of Queensland (Caravanning Queensland) to offer the program to its members.

"Caravanning Queensland would offer discounted fees to exhibit at its own caravanning trade shows on the condition that members do not take part in competing events," it claimed.

"The ACCC intends to revoke an exclusive dealing notification lodged by Caravanning Queensland about the 'loyalty program' because it raises serious competition concerns.

“We disagree with Caravanning Queensland's claim that this is simply a loyalty program for its members," Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.

"Loyalty programs should reward members for purchasing more of your products or services, rather than linking the reward to an agreement not to purchase your competitors' products or services."

In its draft notice, the ACCC proposes to revoke Caravanning Queensland's notification because it is satisfied that the proposed ‘loyalty program’ has the purpose and effect of substantially lessening competition in the supply of caravanning exhibition event services in the South East Queensland region. Read more button

Kui Parks advert

RVs parked in Bruce Highway town
Photo: Caravanning News

Caravanners take to the road as travel restrictions ease

QUEENSLAND'S highways and byways have seen a dramatic rise in caravan traffic during the past week as COVID restrictions continue to be eased. In fact, there were more RVs than cars parked in one Bruce Highway town visited by Caravanning News. One local trader told us that the lifting of COVID travel restrictions was breathing new life back into the community. Meanwhile, caravan dealers are being swamped with inquiries from potential buyers as COVID travel restrictions ease. The Caravanning Industry Association of Australia described this as great news for the local manufacturing and retail markets, plus the tourism sector. "Recent weeks have shown a shift in people's behaviour," chief executive Stuart Lamont said. "Having been cooped up for months, Australians are now turning their attention to travelling within their own backyard." Caravanning Queensland chief executive Jason Plant was very buoyed by recent activity. "Since the gradual easing of restrictions in Queensland from early May, our retail members have reported a significant increase in retail inquiry and activity," he said. "This strengthened around the time of the Premier's announcement on the lifting of intrastate travel restrictions and continues to remain strong." Have your say

Man charged with causing death of boy
fell from moving caravan in NT

Brettson PaynePOLICE have charged a man involved in the death of a young boy who fell from a moving caravan in the Northern Territory. It is alleged the 31-year-old local man was towing a Roma caravan with a ute at Katherine and travelling with nine children. "A number of the children were unrestrained including four children travelling inside the caravan," police allege. "While in motion, the caravan door opened and the eight-year-old boy fell out onto the roadway, suffering critical injuries that resulted in his death." The man described by police as a family friend has been charged with drive motor vehicle causing death, and will appear in the Katherine Local Court on August 10. The Major Crash Investigation Unit, assisted by local detectives, continue to probe the incident. Detectives seized a white Mazda ute and the Roma caravan during their investigation. A GoFundMe campaign for the family raised over $9000 from 112 donors within the first 24 hours. It says: "Our beautiful boy was loved by so many in Katherine and in Kakadu. He was a warm and cheeky spirit who loved life and family, was devoted to fishing and loved his sport and starry nights." Have your say

Qld national parks caravan campingImportant for recovery plan

Qld backs tourism recovery by opening camping bookings for next year

CARAVANNERS and campers can now book most campsites in Queensland's national parks 12 months in advance to help support tourism and regional jobs. The decision to open the facilities was an important part of the state government's recovery plan Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs. Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said Queenslanders had done a great job in containing the spread of COVID-19, so it was decided to make it much easier for campers and caravan enthusiasts to plan their holidays over the next year. Read More button

'First taste of overnight freedom for months'

Surge in number of people heading to caravan parks

PEOPLE are again flocking to the nation's caravan and holiday parks as the coronavirus restrictions are eased. The Caravan Industry Association of Australia revealed there had been a "strong, sustainable surge" during the last week. "Over the weekend many Australians were once again able to explore our great country," the association said. "For many residents, this was the first taste of overnight freedom in months and fell over the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend in some states." Read more button

Sunrise Caravans: Aussie spirit'We support and encourage Aussie spirit'

'Significant milestone' for Sunrise as it prepares to move into larger premises

AWARD-winning Queensland dealership Sunrise Caravans will relocate to larger premises next month. Director Steven Andonovski said the move from Burpengary to Burpengary East would be a "significant milestone" for the 10-year-old family-owned and Australian-proud business, which retails in three popular RV brands. They are Blue Sky, Sunrise and Montana caravans. "We support and encourage the Australian spirit by ensuring the brands we sell and stand behind are built by Australians for Australians," Mr Andonovski said. "The new facility will provide Sunrise Caravans with much-needed space to accommodate our growth and further support our diversification into new brands." It is expected that trading will begin at the new 1800sq ft premises in Eastern Service Road from July 1, with an official grand opening in September. Have your say

Caravan hitch

Crime prevention tips

Cops issue blueprint for keeping safe and warding off crooks during school holidays

QUEENSLAND police have issued a blueprint to help caravanners keep safe and for warding off crooks during the upcoming school holidays. They say now is the ideal time to check on how good your caravan or trailer tent security is. "Imagine having a well deserved holiday interrupted by a theft that could be preventable," Mackay's Sergeant Nigel Dalton said. "As with home security and any other vehicle security, some basic crime prevention tips are available to keep your caravan holiday incident free." Read more button

Bullet in side of caravan

Gun could have been fired 3km away

Bullet found lodged in side of caravan

POLICE are investigating after a bullet was found lodged in the side of a caravan in WA. The .243 round was discovered after the caravan owner stayed at the Bridgetown Caravan Park in the state's south-west. No one was injured and it is thought the gun could have been fired as far as 3km away. (Photo: Bridgetown Police). Have your say

Gobsmacked at receiving OAM

Queen's Birthday honour for co-founder
of the BIG4 chain of holiday parks

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

BIG4 co-founder Desmond Watts has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Mr Watts has received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to the tourism accommodation sector. His career in the caravanning industry began when he built Ballarat's Welcome Stranger Holiday Park in the early 1970s. He and three other park owners put their heads together and launched BIG4 in 1979. The owner of BIG4 Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park, Mr Watts has served on the BIG4 board, was an honorary chair from 1979 to 1984 and is a life member. He has been a member of Australia's peak body for the caravanning industry Caravan Industry Association of Australia for 20 years and was a councillor on Ballarat City Council from 1982 to 1983. He is also a member of VicParks. Mr Watts received Vic Parks' Legend Award in 2009 and the caravan industry's Eric Hayman Award for Excellence in 1993. He and wife Margaret own the BIG4 Melbourne Holiday Park in Coburg and BIG4 Renmark Holiday Park in South Australia. The former police officer was said to be "gobsmacked" at receiving the OAM.

Sonia Hornery and tollwaysGrey nomads outraged over new fees

Sydney tollways ruckus: MP's petition attracts over a thousand supporters

MORE than a thousand supporters have signed a petition organised by NSW's Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery calling for a fairer deal for caravanners using Sydney's tollways. Outraged caravanners came out with all guns blazing after toll operator Transurban consolidated its classification settings across all its roads in August. New charges meant grey nomads whose rigs exceeded 12.5m in length or whose rooftop airconditioners tipped them over 2.8m in height were slugged with higher Class B tolls normally meant for trucks. "It is impossible to believe that a car towing a caravan is considered to be the equivalent of a fully laden semi-trailer," Ms Hornery 9 (inset) said. Read more button

Caravan park in Victoria

 Holiday hotspots to be revitalised

COVID shackles loosened as camping, caravanning facilities receive boost

CAMPING and caravan holiday hotspots across Victoria are set to be revitalised just as coronavirus restrictions begin to ease. Caravanners and other RVers are already hitting the road in Victoria as the COVID-19 shackles are loosened, with camping and accommodation now permitted in some areas. "Now more than ever we're appreciating the value of the great outdoors and it's great to see the return of an affordable and well-established holiday tradition in Victoria." Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio said. Meanwhile, 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. Read more button

Turtle Sands Holiday Park

Owners forced to 'jump through hoops'

Bundy's Turtle Sands holiday park takes development plans to court

THE owners of Turtle Sands Camping and Holiday Park at Bundaberg in Queensland have appealed to the Planning and Environment Court in a bid to get a development application approved. David and Jenny Baker have owned their park adjoining the redeveloped world famous Mon Repos turtle rookery for more than 20 years. But they said they are being forced to "jump through hoops" to have their own development plans submitted nearly a year ago approved. Their upgraded park would include caravan sites, glamping facilities, resort-style pool, playground, larger cabins and dormitory-style accommodation. Bundaberg Regional Council has referred their application to the state government because of alleged wetland protection problems. Have your say

Lakr TinarooDust off tents and hook up caravans

Dam good way to take up camping
again as COVID restrictions eased

QUEENSLANDERS will be able to dust off their tents or hook up the caravan or camper trailer as camping grounds beside state-owned dams re-open. Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said re-opening camping grounds beside dams was part of the Stage 2 COVID-19 roadmap to easing restrictions. "Queenslanders can now travel to and camp at a range of state-owned dams, lakes and weirs such as far north Queensland's Tinaroo Dam or Lake Moogerah in the south-east," Dr Lynham said. Read more button

Suburban water heater

'We have not forgotten about you'

Distributor of suspect gas water heaters
asks owners to continue being patient

CARAVANNERS who had potentially lethal gas water heaters fitted to their RVs will have to wait a little longer for a solution. Coast to Coast RV issued a nationwide recall of the popular heaters last November after fears they could produce deadly levels of carbon monoxide. And in a new message to owners, distributors Coast to Coast Caravan and Leisure has asked them to continue being patient. "We would like to reassure all customers and registered consumers that we have not forgotten about you and are still working to deliver you a result as soon as possible," it said. Models affected are SW6PA, SW6DA, SW6DEA, SW4DEA, SW4DECA and SW6DECA. Have your say

Open road'Get going to the outback'

Premier urges caravanners to hitch up and 'rediscover' Queensland

  Have your say

QUEENSLAND caravanners are now able to hit the road for unlimited travel including overnight stays throughout the entire state. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the easing of intrastate travel restrictions would "open Queensland for Queenslanders" and come well in time for the next school holidays. "From the Gold Coast to Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast to Gympie to Maryborough to Bundaberg, from Longreach to Mt Isa, to Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns, Queenslanders will now be able to rediscover their state, travelling for as many nights as they like," she said, urging travellers to hitch up their campers or trailers. "Get going to the outback. Now is your opportunity and actually stay overnight." The Premier stressed the easing of restrictions did not apply to biosecurity or restricted zones for indigenous communities, which will remain in place subject to a review in consultation with community members. Meanwhile, NSW's camping grounds and caravan parks have reopened.

Simon Owen'Dramatic increase' in bookings

Aspen holiday parks to  reopen in
time for upcoming school holidays

INGENIA Communities Group will soon be reopening its holiday parks. In a message to shareholders, the ASX-listed company said announcements by the NSW and Queensland governments that parks would be able to reopen on June 1 and June 12 respectively were "positive" for its parks, which had been closed to holidaymakers because of the coronavirus crisis. "The group's holiday parks will now be open for the upcoming school holidays, with NSW parks also open for the June long weekend," Aspen said. "While the closure of the Queensland border is impacting on the group's Queensland parks, there has been a meaningful increase in forward booking and enquiries following these announcements." Chief executive Simon Owen said he was pleased to see restrictions being eased. "We had anticipated increased demand for affordable domestic travel and our team has been busy preparing our parks to reopen. We are seeing dramatic increase in website traffic, phone inquiries and online bookings in response to recent announcements." Have your say

Scam claim after man loses $18,000

Peak caravanning body warns buyers to beware of company

WOULD-BE caravan owners have been warned about a possible scam which has already cost one man $18,000. It comes after the buyer said he lost the money while attempting to buy a caravan online. The Caravan Industry Association of Australia said it had been made aware of a WA business called Seven Stars Caravans which is offering second-hand caravans and RVs for sale on the internet at temptingly low prices. "We believe that Seven Stars Caravans is a scam and we have reported this business to the ACCC," it said. Read more button

Toilet sign

Social distancing must be used

Parks' communal amenities blocks
given green light to reopen in Victoria

COMMUNAL toilets at Victoria's caravan parks will be allowed to open from today, says VicParks. But the Department of Health and Human Services has advised that floor markings must be used to promote the 1.5-metre social distancing requirements. It said all toilets must be in working condition with soap provided and increased cleaning. VicParks has also confirmed that the DHHS has approved the use of playgrounds and swimming pools up to a maximum of 20 people each at any one time. "These facilities must be managed closely, including ensuring 1.5-metre and 4m2 social distancing measures are enforced in, on and around the pool and playground, and the personal hygiene and surface cleaning requirements are being met," it added. "Showers and change rooms at the pool site, however, must remain closed with guests to shower before arriving on the pool deck." Have your say

Tawonga caravan parkFunding essential, say mayor

Council welcomes government's $2 million for Tawonga park upgrade

VICTORIA'S Alpine Shire Council has welcomed news that the State Government will fund a $2.1 million upgrade at Tawonga Caravan Park. Located on the banks of the Kiewa River at the foot of Mt Bogong 300km north east of Melbourne, the 125-site park closed last month. Mayor Peter Roper said the funding was essential to reopen the park and would provide a valuable boost to the local economy. "This is fantastic news," he said. Read more button

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Letter man

Mount Barker's camp closure
riles travellers

SO the local council has closed the Mount Barker free camp in WA (see story here)

I'll make sure we don't spend 1c next time we pass through.

We only free camp and then have money to spend in other businesses around town and eating out and attractions.

We *NEVER* stay in caravan parks, but are happy to pay $10 a night with toilets and town water. We don't need anything else.

Councils and others need to realise that many who are retired and self-supporting are not going to have the funds.

David A.

Missing out

WE have stayed in the Mount Barker CP for the last five years for two nights.

But we won't when we go through next week. We will now boycott Mount Barker and spend no money whatsoever there.

Previously, when we stayed in the CP, we went out to dinner and bought from the bakery and supermarket.

Now they will all miss out, including the CP.

Bye bye Mount Barker, won't be staying again. I loathe abuse of power and will not subscribe to it in any way.

Monica Dugay.

Drive through

I HAVE just marked it in my Camps Australia Wide book as one place to just drive through.

I travel all over Australia, sometimes for more than four months at a time ... the benefits of being retired and having a caravan.

Free campsites are essential for grey nomads to be able to afford to do that.

Leon Wallice.


NOT only will Ms Smith lose out but so will all the small shops in the town.

Very unfortunate decision by the council. Other towns in NSW and Qld have made the same choice and lost out big time on traveller revenue.

The business will just go to the next town with a free camp.

Liz Lonsdale.


Unfortunately, the "free" campers are more than likely living fortnight-to-fortnight on their Centrelink payments and cannot afford the average of $35 a night.

I am convinced if caravan park operators provided a decent discount to cardholding seniors/pensioners, uptake would increase from grey nomads.

Lets face it, us oldies don't drain the hot water tanks or leave the ablutions filthy like the ankle biters do.

Although we planned for retirement, full price park fees are a struggle.

Brian Lawrence.

Park benefits

WOULD it be too difficult for the council to set up an honesty box at the free camp for a short-term proposition and the money go to the caravan park?

If the dump point is in the park charge for its use or donate that back to the 'van park.

Someone has to have the will to welcome back the family man or grey nomad.

Or the alternative is to lock the place up and shoo 'em away. We all have choices. Which sounds the most interesting to the council?

Paul Klatt.