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June 2017

Monthly readership: 20,900 to 27,200
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JUNE 30:
Shares in Apollo Tourism and Leisure - which manufactures, rents, sells and distributes a range of RVs including motorhomes, campervans and caravans - today achieved a year-high of $1.52 on the Australian Stock Exchange.

JUNE 30:
Jayco, Australia's biggest builder of RVs, is advertising for new staff to work on furniture assembly, electrical and plumbing, machines and chassis as orders continue to soar.

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

* Tasmanian council blasted over $3 camping sites  ... 55,181 people reached.

* Apollo buys Kratzmanns and Clint's Caravan Warehouse ... 27,814 people reached.

* Hunt for 'missing' NSW caravanning family ... 18,640 people reached.

* Insurer refuses to compensate owners of flood-ravaged caravan park ... 17,576 people reached.

* Caravan disintegrates in Pacific Highway smash ... 17,134 people reached.

* Queensland cops probe caravan rebirthing scam ... 16,527 people reached.

* Two in hospital after Townsville caravan accident ... 15,317 people reached.


Zoo accused of 'biting the hand that feeds it'

THERE'S no doubt that Australia Zoo is biting the hand that feeds it (see story here).

And it's not surprising that one local caravan park has described its plan to set up overnight camping facilities as a "slap in the face".

Over the years, parks in and around Beerwah have accommodated thousands upon thousands of travellers wanting easy access to the zoo ... one even selling thousands of dollars worth of entry tickets monthly.

But all they get in thanks is news that the zoo will set up in opposition by providing more than a hundred overnight sites for caravans, motorhomes and other campers.

And it seems even that news came in through the back door.

The parks complained they were never consulted during the planning process but had been kept entirely in the dark about the development until it got council approval.

Geoff Hill.

Good news

GOOD news, councils!

Reading the May edition of Caravanning News it was heart-warming to see the ratio of good news from local councils at six to one.

Let's hope more local councils climb on the positive band wagon.

Terry Nunn.

Fine them

I READ in the last issue of Caravanning News about a town which tells travellers to ignore no-camping signs

Well, I think they should be fined for parking there.

What do they think caravan parks are for?

Peter Edwards.

Gerry Ryan

Resignation fades into history as ...

Jayco's Gerry Ryan honoured by caravanning industry's peak body

By Dennis Amor

CARAVAN tycoon and multi-millionaire Gerry Ryan has been honoured by the caravan industry's peak body. Mr Ryan, founder and owner of the giant Jayco company, received the Richard Davis Award from the Caravan Industry Association of Australia for his outstanding contribution to the industry. The accolade comes six years after his company parted ways with the association's forerunner, the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Australia. No reason was ever given for the former president's shock resignation. Mr Ryan was not present to accept his latest award, but he said in a video message: "It's a great honour to receive an award named after Richard Davis." More button

Hiccup in vote on controversial trading reform


Mr Chapman: severe impact

Mr Chapman: severe impact

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

A DECISION on whether Queensland's caravan dealers will be allowed to trade on Sundays has received a welcome setback.

Major reforms to the state's topsy-turvy retail regulations would enable dealers to sell caravans and other RVs seven days a week ... a move which they say is unnecessary and would create problems.

But the new legislation remains in limbo after a squabble between politicians resulted in the government postponing its vote on the controversial shake-up.

It is expected to continue debating the issue when it next meets on June 13.

Shadow Employment Minister Jarrod Bleijie said many suggestions in a report on Sunday trading had attracted little support, suggesting that another needed to be done.

Queensland's caravan industry has already given a cool reception to the proposed new laws, with Caravanning Queensland ‒ the industry's peak body in the state ‒ warning that the new hours could severely affect smaller dealers.

Chief executive Ron Chapman told Caravanning News that 92 percent of members were against Sunday trading.

Queensland sold more RVs than any other state in 2015, despite competing against others with larger populations and seven-day trading.

'Serious buyers will still find time to
make a purchase'

Dealers argue that potential customers already have more than enough opportunity to buy recreational vehicles.

One major caravan retailer said it opened six days a week and thought that extending the hours would have a negative affect on sales staff and their family life.

"Sales won't increase because serious buyers will still find time to make a purchase," a spokesman, who did not want to be identified, said.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the state's existing "complex and costly" trading hours were holding back job opportunities and the economy.

The proposed reform package making motor vehicle and caravan dealers exempt from the restrictive Sunday trading hours followed "extensive consultation" with the Motor Trades Association of Queensland, she said.

"No workers will be made to work any additional hours which could result from increased trading hours unless they have voluntarily agreed to do so," Ms Grace added.

Meanwhile, the 4500-member Australian Caravan Club has welcomed the Sushine State's biggest shake-up of trading rules in 20 years.

Chairman Craig Humphrey said it was "ludicrous" that in a modern world where people could buy groceries and even a boat on a Sunday, they could not buy a caravan in Queensland on that day.

Fleetwood director Greg TateLong-serving Fleetwood director resigns
DIRECTOR Greg Tate is resigning from Coromal and Windsor caravans builder Fleetwood Corporation after 30 years.
He joined the board as a founding non‐executive director in 1987 and managed the company through a period of significant growth. Mr Tate said he would not be seeking re-election to the board at the company's AGM in November, and to facilitate an orderly transition his resignation would become effective on June 30. He leaves Fleetwood part way through a successful turnaround program following a savage slump in sales and revenue during the global financial crisis and collapse of the mining industry a few years ago. It is believed Mr Tate plans to remain a long-term holder of his $14 million, 11 percent stake in Fleetwood. Managing director Brad Denison said Mr Tate had been instrumental in Fleetwood's history as a listed company. Have your say

Council allocates $260,000 for Bribie Island caravan park upgrade
A CAMP kitchen overlooking the water and new playground facilities will be built at Bribie Island's popular Bongaree Caravan Park in Queensland.
  Moreton Bay Regional Council has allocated $260,000 in its 2017-18 budget for the new facilities. "I'm very pleased," local councillor Brooke Savige told Caravanning News. "I'm passionate about supporting and growing Bribie's tourism industry, which is why I like to see investment from council in the council-owned park." Last year, more than 11,000 people visited the park. More button

MosquitoBeware mozzies and be medically prepared, nomads urged
GREY nomads heading north for the winter have been warned to be medically prepared and to beware of deadly mosquitoes.
WA's Department of Health is also reminding travellers to see their GPs before hitting the road and to take precautions against being bitten by disease-carrying mozzies. The alert follows suspected Murray Valley encephalitis and Kunjin virus activity in the Kimberley and Pilbara areas. Chief Health Officer Professor Tarun Weeramanthri said people did not need to alter their travel plans but must take simple steps to avoid mosquito bites. He reminded grey nomads to ensure they take measures to protect their health, such as seeing their GP before hitting the road and maintaining their medication regime by ensuring scripts were filled ahead of time. More button

ACC members spend up big at Peak Hill muster
AUSTRALIAN Caravan Club members poured nearly $17,000 into Peak Hill and its surrounds during their recent five-day muster in NSW, chairman Craig Humphrey has revealed.
"This represents an average spend of about $540 for each RV or around $107 a day," he said. "The outcomes from this muster prove that RVers and local communities can both reap the rewards that come when we work together and obtain a beneficial outcome for all of us." About 60 members in 31 RVs attended the Chairman’s Muster at the Peak Hill Showgrounds. More button

April WhistonApril voted industry's most impressive young leader
APRIL Whiston has been voted the caravan park industry's most impressive young leader.
General manager of her family-owned 494-site Merool on the Murray caravan park at Moama in NSW, April received the Future Leaders Award at the recent Caravan Industry Association of Australia conference on the Gold Coast. Other finalists were Rob Gallagher (Adventures Group Holdings chief executive), Daniel Tilton (Next Generation Holiday Parks chief executive), Michael McIvor (Broken Hill Tourist Park operations manager), Amanda Ferguson (Discovery Parks investment analysist) and Stephen Edwards (Edwards Group chief executive). More button

Fresh direction for Paradise, 'loyal customers' told
AWARD-winning RV manufacturer Paradise Motor Homes, which has hauled itself out of receivership, is a still "a very sound business", according to its new owners.
The Gold Coast-based motorhome and caravan builder, founded in 2002, closed its doors in March after running into difficulties but was bought by a group of private investors ‒ including shareholders of the secured creditor ‒ last month. In a recent letter to its "loyal customers", PMH Manufacturing managing director Shannon Burford said "fresh direction and vision" had now been brought to the company. More button

Mayor Jack DempseyCMCA rally a 'golden opportunity' for traders
MORE than a thousand motorhomes, campervans and caravans will descend on Queensland's Rum City in October.
Their owners are expected to pour tens of thousands of dollars into Bundaberg's local economy as around 2000 RVers attend the 32nd Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia national rally. As a forerunner, Bundaberg Regional Council hosted an information session for local businesses to gain an insight into how they could help club members attending the nine-day event. Mayor Jack Dempsey described the rally as a "golden opportunity" for local traders. More button

Club and council sign MoU to help RVers
AUSTRALIA's biggest caravan club has joined forces with the Caravan Council of Australia to help caravanners seeking advice.
The Australian Caravan Club said the signing of a memorandum of understanding would provide "substantial support" for the club and its 4400 members in areas of recreational vehicle construction, compliance and maintenance. One of the nationwide not-for-profit RV club's objectives is to ensure members can be provided with general advice on the construction and maintenance of their RVs. More button

Stars symbolStars symbol set to shine on
CARAVAN and tourism parks will still be able to display their star ratings after a Tourism Industry Council takeover.
Operated by Australian Motoring Services since 1950s, the national scheme and its internationally recognised symbol for quality standards was in danger of being scrapped. But the tourism council has announced it will take over the reins on July 1. The star ratings will join the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program and the Australian Tourism Awards as a part of tourism council's suite of programs to develop and promote high quality tourism businesses. Have your say

Court slaps lifetime ban on illegal Spit camper
TOUGH new measures to stop travellers illegally camping at a Gold Coast beauty spot have led to a lifetime ban for one offender.
The man appeared before Southport Magistrates Court accused of trespassing and was ordered never to return to Doug Jennings Park on the Southport Spit. The action was taken by the Gold Coast Waterways Authority ‒ trustee of the park ‒ after swarms of caravanners, motorhomers and other campers constantly ignored no-camping rules. More button

Bonny Hills tourist park signIngenia snaps up Bonny Hills park for $13.5m
INGENIA Communities has bought the BIG4 Bonny Hills Holiday Park on NSW's mid-north coast for $13.5 million.
Located on 3.4 hectares, the Rainbow Beach park is close to popular tourist attractions. Ingenia chief executive Simon Owen said it represented "a well capitalised tourist park" offering a range of accommodation catering largely to the family holiday market. More button

Galaxy liquidator set to reveal final dividend
LIQUIDATOR of now defunct Galaxy Caravans Pty Ltd
Altan Djenab has announced he will declare a first and final dividend on July 28.
The well respected RV manufacturer had been building caravans for over 20 years but shocked the industry when it went bust and closed the doors of its Somerton factory in Victoria in late-2014. The family behind the business later said that despite losing its "beloved" brand name, it had moved "onwards and upwards" under the new name Customline Caravans. Have your say

Mt Isa caravan blast kills father and two childlrenCops recognised after deadly caravan blast
TWO Queensland policemen involved in the aftermath of a massive caravan explosion which killed a father and his two children at Mt Isa have been recognised for their efforts.
Constable Wayne Querruel received a bravery award while colleague Senior Constable Tyson Seumanu received the Commissioner's Certificate. The remains of a 39-year-old father, his son (4) and daughter (7) were recovered after the deadly blast outside a house in the suburb of Mornington in July, 2015. It was later described as a murder-suicide. Constable Querruel and Senior Constable Seumanu ignored their own safety as they frantically searched for survivors after the explosion, which rocked the whole area. Have your say

Be vigilant against caravan crooks, warn police
MOUNT Isa police in Queensland have warned caravanners to be on their guard against thieves.
The alert comes as thousands of southern grey nomads flock to the northern states in search of winter sunshine. Sergeant Cath Purcell said they should not put temptation in the way of crooks. "Most crime that occurs to caravans involve the theft of property, including cash and valuables, when they are unlocked," she explained. "Many more offences may go unreported as travellers are eager to continue with their holiday plans." She said caravan parks were  targeted by thieves who were aware of easily finding unsecured vehicles, unlocked caravans and easy access to property and large amounts of cash. Have your say

Nyngan free campingParks concerned over power poaching
ROGUE grey nomads in caravans and motorhomes have been illegally plugging into power points at Nyngan's Flood Memorial Park in NSW according to concerned local caravan parks.
Bogan Shire Council has now disconnected the "power mushrooms" at the free camping area. General manager Derek Francis told councillors in a report: "It appears that the measures council undertook to prevent access to power had not been totally successful." Councillors decided to continue the free camping and erect signs explaining there was no power at the site but was available at Nyngan's two caravan park. Have your say

Travellers welcome new overtaking lanes
CARAVANNERS and other travellers have welcomed news that 15 new overtaking lanes have been completed on Great Eastern Highway in WA's Goldfields region.
Eight eastbound and seven westbound lanes, each with an average length of 3km, have been built along 225km of the highway between Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Southern Cross. There were 103 crashes on the stretch between 2010 and 2014. Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the new overtaking lanes would provide regular passing opportunities, helping to reduce driver frustration. "They will also improve travel time and address safety issues that have contributed to vehicle incidents along this road," she added. Have your say

Elizabeth White, VicParksVicParks applauds Budget support for tourism
THE peak body for the caravan and holiday park industry in Victoria has applauded the state's support for tourism.
The Victorian Caravan Parks Association said it had been "encouraged" by the provision for more funding to support tourism activities. "It is critical that tourism infrastructure and businesses are supported to grow and develop in line with consumer expectations," chief executive Elizabeth White (pictured) pointed out. "This is a Budget that recognises the key role of tourism to grow the state economy and create more job opportunities in regional Victoria," she said. More button

Government grant for $12m tourist hub
THE Victorian Government has donated $600,000 towards a $12 million nature-based tourism hub to be developed in Koondrook.
Located on the banks of the Gunbower Creek, the hub will feature authentic 'glamping' style tents, a camp kitchen and canoe platform – all linked to cycling tracks, canoe trails, and the Kerang-Koondrook Rail Trail. Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford commented: "We want more people to enjoy our great outdoors and spend more time in regional Victoria because it has the best of everything." Have your say

Sydney show hailed huge successSupershow hailed huge success
SYDNEY'S Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow at Rosehill Racecourse was a huge success, o
rganisers said. More than 60,000 people flocked through the gates for the six-day event. Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW chief executive Lyndel Gray said it reflected the "strong engagement" being experienced across NSW, where there had been a 19 percent increase in nights spent either caravanning or camping during the past year. "This year's supershow was a bumper event that not only delivered a great day out for showgoers, but we also received great feedback from our exhibitors too."  More button

Managers sought for union park
THE United Services Union is looking for managers to run its Aquatic Caravan Park and Motel in NSW.
The successful couple will initially manage the caravan park at Port Macquarie while the 21-room motel is being refurbished. "We are looking for a couple who can demonstrate a passion for professionalism in running all the facets of a busy boutique resort, including laundry duties, ground and general maintenance and supervision of staff while ensuring that the presentation of the resort exceeds guest expectations," the union said. It will hold interviews on June 13. Have your say

Seal Rocks Holiday ParkGong for 'jewel in accommodation crown'
SEAL Rocks Holiday Park in New South Wales scooped a top award in the Mid Coast Business Awards.
It received an Excellence in Tourism & Hospitality gong at the awards which celebrate outstanding businesses within the Manning, Gloucester and Great Lakes regions The park is part of the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Group, which has committed $7.5 million for upgrades at the popular holiday destination. The group says the work has cemented Seal Rocks' status as "a jewel in the accommodation crown" within the Great Lakes Region. More button

Go-ahead for remarkable lookout camp
SOUTH Australia's Mount Remarkable District Council has launched a six-month trial allowing self-contained caravans and other RVs to stay for one night at Hancock's Lookout near Wilmington.
This follows an online 708-signature petition also calling for the townships of Port Germein, Wirrabara, Melrose and Wilmington to be made RV-friendly. Camping at the lookout will only be permitted outside the declared fire season and not on any declared fire ban day. Campfires will be permanently banned. Have your say

Happy campersCampers really are a happier bunch
THERE'S no doubt about it, campers are a happy bunch ... and Australia's peak national body for the caravanning and camping industry can prove it.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia has conducted a study which proves the term “happy campers” is founded on fact. The "Real Richness" probe was intended to better understand the emotional and social benefits of camping and the value it provides for current and future generations of travellers. More button

Air Opus camperTop design award for Air Opus camper
MELBOURNE'S Opus Camper Trailers has scooped a top gong for its unique self-inflating camper.
The six-berth Air Opus was selected for a Good Design Award by an international panel of design experts. It is now in the running for the Australian Good Design Award, to be announced this month. The judges said the Air Opus offered "genuine innovation at a surprisingly affordable price" and was "incredibly spacious with well thought out, easy to use and functional spaces". But its highest praise was for the air beams that inflate the camper in just two minutes. "The convenience of pushing a button to erect the camper with air is simply genius and makes camping accessible to everyone," they said. Have your say

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Letter man

Society's change
of mind is a 'huge loss' for Yeppoon

YEPPOON Show Society backing out of its caravan park plan is a disappointment and a huge loss for Yeppoon in general (see story here).

Not only has the society suffered a financial blow, the money from casual campers will no longer be a source of income for the voluntary community organisation.

Other businesses will also miss out on trade from additional visitors to Yeppoon.

The financial input to upgrade facilities, as they were required to do, could never be recovered from camping fees for a small number of sites.

The society was keen to have casual camping restored but could not pay the price.

The pressure to do so (yes, we can blame the usual suspects) would, had it continued, turned the society into an equal with the caravan parks, therefore creating competition which did not exist before.

Showgrounds are an alternative to caravan parks, not 'just another caravan park', and attract different customers.

Your article mentions that the showground application was for only 15 sites.

If caravan parks in a popular area like Yeppoon feel that 15 alternative sites are a threat to their business, they are poor business managers.


New dealer

ROADSTAR has appointed a new exclusive Queensland outlet (see story here).

The new dealer will want to be much better than the one we purchased our Roadstar from.

And in our travels we are not the only ones who are of the same opinion

John & Maureen Vincent.