THE boss of a Maryborough caravan park in Queensland has warned that
free camping will kill off family businesses.
Wallace Motel & Caravan Park's John Kennedy
claimed the Fraser Coast council would not dare to provide free camping in
Hervey Bay or Burrum Heads where they operated their own "very profitable
"But here in Maryborough, where they have none, we are thrown to the
wolves," he complained.
Mr Kennedy claimed there had been a concerted push by lobby groups,
allegedly led by the Campervan and Motorhome Club of
Australia, to convince councillors to provide free camping in towns
... or lose business.
He suggested that the CMCA had its own agenda of making "lots of money"
from selling RV insurance.
In a letter to the Goondiwindi Argus, which recently carried a
story on the axing of a free-camping trial in the town, he said it was
"ridiculous" to offer free sites within city limits where long-established
caravan parks were already servicing the needs of travellers.
continues to be
a shameless threat'
"It has, and continues to be, a shameless
threat," he argued.
Mr Kennedy pointed out that caravan parks had to pay million of dollars in
planning and development fees etc to earn the right to set up a park.
"We then need to spend millions building the infrastructure, often as much
as a suburb compacted into an area of 5-10 acres.
"Councils then further extort money from tourist parks for water, sewage
treatment and waste collection ... all of which are monopolies, with no
competition nor alternatives.
"These are precisely the same things they 'give away' for free in
city-based free camping areas."
He thought that councils should be "honourable" and do the right thing to
caravan park operators who they have wronged.
"When the free parks were established in our city (Maryborough)
‒ smashing our revenues ‒
we expected we would be refunded some of the monies we gave them for those
'rights to compete'.
"We borrowed millions to fund this business and we pay ridiculous amounts
each and every week to council, yet they destroy our ability to earn the
money to cover it!
"Only last night I was dreaming of a skiing holiday in the USA and
thinking of hiring an RV to stay in tourist parks like ours.
"I was shocked.
"The cheapest site I could find in towns near Yellowstone were $87 per
night, with many at over $100 per night.
"We charge $34 for the same. Yet our own council,
who has the lion's share of the tourist parks in Hervey Bay, charges over
$50 during peak periods.
"This free camping in towns issue will kill off yet another industry of
family-owned and operated businesses if we can't get common sense into the
"This is the plight of our family and many hundreds or thousands of
others. It needs to be highlighted."