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March 2018


Westbury ... no camping at recreation ground

Local businesses blast camping ban

Neutrality rears ugly head again as Apple Isle council bans camping

Have your say

THE thorny issue of competitive neutrality and its effects on grey nomads and other traveller has again reared its ugly head on the Apple Isle.

Tasmania's Meander Valley Council in the central north of the state has closed the Westbury Recreation Ground to overnight camping, blaming noisy parties and a breach of planning regulations and national competition policy principles.

The council will also ban camping and overnight stops at the Bracknell River Reserve from March 13, claiming it "must abide by planning regulations and national competition policy which govern how the reserve may be used". The council said it needed to stop camping and overnight stays until issues were resolved.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association of Tasmania has passed a motion seeking a state government review of the "current application of national competition principles as they relate to free camping in regional towns".

"We need to stop camping and overnight stays until we resolve these matters," the council said in a statement.

"Visitors to Meander Valley are valued and we encourage you to check out some of our wonderful caravan parks so you can continue to enjoy the unique experience we offer."

The decision has caused an uproar from local businesses who claim they will suffer badly from the decision.

One has even thrown open its property for caravanners and other campers to stay for free, providing room for 30 travellers.

Local resident Rebecca Poulton aired her anger on social media, arguing that if the council was really concerned about abiding by planning regulations and national competition policies then the ban on free camping should be across the whole region and not just Westbury.

"This should include the Deloraine site near the racecourse and any others," she said.

"An announcement like this one referring to free camping in Westbury only is very unfair, particularly when so many local businesses are benefiting from extra tourists staying in the area."

She described it as a "poor decision" by councillors.

Tasmania's National Competition Policy rules that any government-owned enterprise deemed as being involved in significant business activities must compete on the same terms as private businesses.


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the prior written permission of Dennis Amor.

Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
All Rights Reserved

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