Caravanning News is registered with the National Library of Australia's PANDORA archive

August 2016


Stuart Lamont

Mr Lamont: new opportunities

'Much excitement and hope'

Industry's peak body welcomes new Cabinet

Have your say

THE caravanning industry's peak body expressed "much excitement and hope" after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced his new Cabinet.

Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont said he now welcomed the opportunity of working with ministers and their departments with "positive dialogue" so the iconic Australian caravanning and camping industry could continue flourishing.

"We look forward to liaising with Cabinet ministers in their new or existing capacities to showcase the incredible story which is the caravanning industry, and discussing how we can work closely with them to achieve positive outcomes for both the industry and Australia more broadly," he said.

Mr Lamont said the passing of Motor Vehicle Standards Act (MVSA) reforms remained the most immediate and pressing issue.

"These have had an interrupted path through the Parliament and we now call on the government to pass these important changes to the legislation so that consumers can benefit from tougher compliance regimes and a level playing field across imported and locally manufactured trailers, including caravans," he explained.

'MVSA reforms will create new opportunities for consumers'

"The changes announced in February this year, after much consultation, are supported by the industry amid continued frustration at ongoing delays in the legislative progress.

"The MVSA reforms will create new opportunities for consumers to benefit from supporting industry businesses that are committed to doing the right thing by their customers and within the law."

The industry generated $19.02 billion to the Australian economy annually, much of which was in regional areas.

This created jobs and provided valuable inward capital for Australian communities, Mr Lamont said.

"Importantly, it also provides many Australians with the opportunity to get away and reconnect with themselves or loved ones in one of the safest and most beautiful countries in the world," he continued.

"As an industry we have recently enjoyed strong results in manufacturing, retailing and accommodation takings that are above the growth in the economy in general as well as in other competitive industries.

"While this can be put down to a united industry working together towards collective outcomes despite being diverse and geographically spread, we have also needed to be nimble and embrace new opportunities to remain competitive.

"As such, the transformation of industry to meet consumer trends has been an important driver in industry success.

"Even though the caravanning and camping industry is experiencing confidence and certainty with regard to both industry investment and consumer behaviour, it is now important that the government makes decisions to drive the country and industry forward."

Mr Lamont thought the appointment of Michael McCormack as a regionally-based minister in the capacity of Small Business was to be welcomed "even if this is in the outer ministry".

"As an industry largely made up of SMEs, many of which are located in regional Australia, we appreciate and applaud a minister who understands the challenges of being a small business in the bush," he said.

The linking of local government and regional development through Senator Fiona Nash was also seen as a positive for industry.

"Many industry businesses are frustrated at the inconsistencies of regulatory enforcement that apply within local government," Mr Lamond said.

"Therefore, the opportunity of opening up new investment and encouraging a better visitor experience in the regions is welcomed.

"As such, we are hopeful the new ministry structure will revive previously shelved or stagnated projects."

Mr Lamont believed the elevation and naming of tourism into the Trade and Investment portfolio supported by an assistant minister was "heartening" and recognised the sector as an important contributor to the Australian economy.

"With the caravanning and camping industry making up 17 percent of commercial accommodation nights and 10 percent of visitor expenditure ‒ including having the highest average international spend across the sector due to length of stay ‒ it is important that the sector's share of voice is maintained within the Cabinet," he said.

"Furthermore, having the tourism and trade portfolios integrated allows us to continue to explore export opportunities through one ministry, both in services and product ... for which extensive potential exists within the industry."

The caravan industry looked forward to exploring the areas of industry, innovation and science with Greg Hunt and Craig Laundy, along with their colleagues Paul Fletcher, Darren Chester and Josh Frydenberg.

"There are exciting possibilities in the industry and in infrastructure development in the regions, which will help make the industry more competitive," Mr Lamont said.

"An industry that is enabled to be at the forefront of technology development will be able to provide valuable connectivity that will keep Australians travelling around Australia long into the future."


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Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
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