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

August 2016
 

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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

AUG 26: Perth-nased Fleetwood Corporation, builders of Coromal and Windsor caravans, will reveal its full-year results next Tuesday.

AUG 26: Caravan Industry Association of Australia appoints former parliamentary advisor Julian Harniman in newly created role of government relations and policy officer to ensure the industry's collective voice is heard, particularly in government.

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


* Australia Zoo's campground plan ... 65,501 people reached

* Cape York hunt for missing caravanners ... 12,362 people reached.

* New accreditation programme for caravan retailers ... 10,682 people reached.

* New caravanning-themed Monopoly board ... 10,273 people reached.

* Chinchilla caravan park on the market ... 8771 people reached.

* Grey nomads killed in horror crash ... 8018 people reached.

* Diabetic caravanner rescued from croc-infested waters ... 7581

* Caravanner stopped by cops after losing wheel ... 6873 people reached.

MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dumping criticism
on RACQ over waste

REFERRING to your recent story on the RACQ warning about dump points (see story here).

The CMCA does excellent work in supporting councils to install dump points,

What is needed is a list of all dump points throughout the country.

Most showgrounds have the facility, many caravan parks do and, thanks to the CMCA, many towns have public ones for general use.

As the RACQ is busy pontificating about this issue, maybe it could approach councils in major popular camping areas and arrange for them to provide dump points.

Teresa Dam out of Clermont is a case in point.

I have seen one person dumping waste over the fence on the entry road.

Such a busy place should have a dump point, as should many others like it.

I suggest the RACQ does its job and follow up, rather than people taking the easy option for want of something better.

As members, we pay for it to support us ... not threaten us.

Bevan Wittwer.

Shovels

SEEMS to me that we all should carry a shovel and bury the waste deep in an uninhabited environment.

I, for one, have done this for years when dump points have not been not available.

Roger Lowry.


Maytow

REGARDING your story in the May edition about Maytow.

I was sorry to hear that they have folded.

I have one of their wonderful hydraulic jacks for measuring ball weight, a very handy little workmate.

Bevan.



Queensland earthquake

Caravanners all shook up

Parks rattled in quake

By Dennis Amor

A POWERFUL magnitude-5.8 earthquake, the biggest to hit Queensland for 20 years, rocked caravan parks on the east coast. Aftershocks were still being recorded off Airlie Beach days after the tremor, which was felt in Mackay, Airlie Beach, Townsville, Cairns and Rockhampton. Caravanner Bronwyn McDonald wrote on Facebook: "Caravan shook like a train was rattling past." Meanwhile, Mike O'Rourke reported his caravan at Cannonvale "shook for about 15 seconds" while Gunna Go Caravan Park at Myrtlevale spoke of shaking roofs and the ground "rumbling". And a caravanner at Alva Beach Caravan Park commented: "The caravan shook like it has never shook before". Because the quake's epicentre was only about 50 kilometres off the coast, there were no fears of a tsunami. Six aftershocks had been recorded by 5pm, the highest at magnitude-4. Queensland Police said there been no reports of major damage, though they were still receiving "a large number of calls" to their communications centres. Have your say


FLASHBACK: Finemore Caravan park ... permanently closed after the 2011 floods

FLASHBACK: Finemore Caravan park ... permanently closed after the 2011 floods

Businesses and residents to be consulted

FLOOD-PRONE LAND MOOTED FOR RV PARK

Story and Photo: Dennis Amor
Have your say

COUNCILLORS in Queensland have decided to go ahead and investigate the possibility of short-term camping facilities being provided for caravanners and others travellers ... on notoriously flood-prone land.

A Bundaberg Regional Council report argued that being mobile, caravans and motorhomes would easily escape any impending floods.

But one councillor ‒ Jason Bartels ‒ went against the flow, claiming that with 23 registered caravan parks and camping spots already available throughout the region there were sufficient sites available to cater for RVers.

The council will now consult local businesses and residents living near the two suggested sites, one adjacent to the old showground and the other in the city's north which bore the full brunt of devastating floods in 2011.

Dozens of homes and a shopping centre adjoining the proposed northern site were destroyed, and two caravan parks just a stone's throw away wiped out ... one permanently.

The council had said it would call for expressions of interest to build the RV Park near the rum city's centre after calls from travellers and a deputation to former mayor Mal Forman.

The developer of the new short-stay park for self-contained RVs would be responsible for all costs associated with building and running the facility, including maintenance and insurance.

Under the proposal, the council would be able to give the operator six months' notice to quit.

A council report admits that a council charter bans temporary accommodation in the city's flood-prone areas.

But it added: "The high mobility of RV users and the development of a sufficient emergency exit plan could justify an exception."

It claimed that despite a high demand, there was evidence that existing "cheap short-term accommodation" in the Bundaberg region was of "low quality".


Robert, Bindi and Terri Irwin

By Dennis Amor

CRIKEY ... plans to allow overnight camping at Australia Zoo in Queensland have left local caravan parks hopping mad.

Sunshine Coast Regional Council has given the green light for the world-renowned tourist attraction at Beerwah to accommodate recreational vehicles and tents.

The nature-based plan will provide eight cabins and 100 caravan and camping sites, a reception area, amenities block and easy access to the zoo via a pedestrian link across Irwin Road.

Councillor Christian Dickson, who holds the council's Planning and Development portfolio, commented: "It will be a huge economic boost to the local economy and will continue to boost the profile of the incredible Sunshine Coast worldwide."

But the owner of one nearby caravan park, which sells between $3000 and $4000 zoo tickets monthly, described the council's approval as a "slap in the face".

"This has come as a big shock," she told Caravanning News.

"We are already competing with council showgrounds which can take caravanners and other travellers for next to nothing without all the red tape and regulations caravan parks have to cope with," fumed the owner, who declined to be named.

"It's just not appropriate. We have spent over a million dollars since taking over our park a year ago but it seems the council just wants to take business away from us.

"I'm not happy about this at all."

She claimed caravan park owners were kept in the dark about the plan. "Why weren't we told about it?" she asked.

Beerwah Caravan Park owner Len Smith also said he knew nothing about the proposed development.

"I can see the zoo's point of view in wanting to allow people to stay overnight, but this could hit parks which are struggling," he commented.

Caravanning News' Facebook page ran hot when it revealed news of Australia Zoo's plan, reaching over 65,000 people and chalking up nearly 400 reactions, 114 shares and 54 comments.

Contributor Michael Shailer wrote: "Sadly, I think they are missing the point.

"I am sure that Steve, God rest his soul, would have much preferred to see it expand for the protection and education of wildlife and not for a campground."

And Coll Dwyer wrote: I think a lot of what was Steve's real passion has been lost already."

Others welcomed the idea of being able to stay overnight, but many wondered whether the camping area would be 'pet friendly'.

Attempts by Caravanning News to obtain a comment from Australia Zoo by phone, email and via its webpage went unanswered. Have your say


Jailbird at caravan gathering

Care needed on roads today

Jailbird at grey nomad gathering

FORMER Dubbo schoolteacher-turned grey nomad Alan Hill, 80, loves dressing up.  And the avid traveller certainly made his mark at Mareeba's Davies Park in far north Queensland, where hundreds of grey nomads have been celebrating Christmas in July. The annual festivities were organised by the Far North Nomads branch of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia in conjunction with Mareeba Shire Council. Police urged road users to take care when over 200 caravans, motorhomes and other RVs left the four-day event. "Please be patient as we get the influx of 'vans back onto our roads," a spokesperson said. Have your say


Monopoly with Aussie caravanning and camping themeCaravanners urged to play the game
CARAVANNERS and campers are being asked to play the game.
But they will have to wait until later this year before they can become property tycoons on a unique Monopoly board with a real true blue Aussie caravanning theme, believed to be a world first. The board game is expected to be released in November and follows a joint effort by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia and Monopoly. Read More

Million Dollar Fish event$1m event reels in grey nomads
GREY nomads are flocking to register for an event which could land them a million dollars.
The Top End's inaugural Million Dollar Fish competition lured nearly 26,000 interstate tourists to the NT, many of them caravanners. Registrations have now opened for this year's event which gets underway on October 1 and runs until February 28. And the second season of the competition will have even more prizes to hook tourists and anglers and promote tourism in the Top End. Read More

Innovation and inspiration talkfest
VICTORIA'S caravan park industry will this month stage what is being billed as "largest annual tourism conference for caravan park owners and operators".
The three-day VicParks talkfest will be held at the Pullman Melbourne Albert Park hotel from August 22. Delegates will focus on "innovation and inspiration". About 300 delegates are expected to attend. A trade exhibition of over 50 suppliers to the caravan park industry will run concurrently. "The conference is about equipping parks with the inspiration, skills and confidence they need to continue to innovate, invest, create, grow and together build a leading tourism industry in Victoria," a spokeswoman told Caravanning News. Have your say

Caravanning with friendsCaravanning with friends can 'drive you nuts'
THE potential pitfalls of caravanning with buddies have been outlined by a caravan finance company.
"It can be the most disastrous outing," warned the Savvy Group, which lends cash to people wanting to buy their dream caravan. "Even your best friend (who has donated a kidney to save your brother, hypothetically speaking) can drive you nuts when on the road," its online blog cautioned. Read More

Kingston SE's free RV ParkRV Park among nation's most popular: council
A SMALL town on the shores of South Australia's Lacepede Bay boasts of having what could be one of the most popular free RV Parks in Australia.
A Kingston District Council report presented to councillors recently said it was clear that relaxing by-laws, erecting new signs and monitoring the RV Park had been extremely successful. In fact, it has proved such a hit that the council will continue to make the facility, adjacent to the Lions Park, accessible to motorhomes, caravans, campervans and 4WD vehicles with dedicated roof-top tents whether self-contained or not. Read More

Zone RV plans to double workforce
A QUEENSLAND caravan builder plans to double its workforce by December.
Established in 2015, Zone RV will employ an extra 25 staff to meet the demands of customers. It will also upgrade its factory at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast to streamline production. Zone RV was recently nominated for Caravan World's Best Aussie Caravan 2016. Have your say

Caravan dealer accreditation key logoNew accreditation scheme for caravan dealers
AUSTRALIA'S caravanning and camping industry's peak body has officially launched a retail dealership accreditation programme to improve business standards.
Caravan Industry Association of Australia says its new scheme is "about leadership and professionalism". It would identify leaders in the industry and recognise them for achieving benchmark performance levels in business planning, risk management, business improvement, HR management and sales and service conduct. "This provides a framework for good business practice and encourages continuous review and improvement," the association said. "It also provides an assurance to consumers and industry that the operators possess a commitment to quality and good customer service." Have your say

Awards recognise industry contributors
THE Caravan Industry Association Victoria hosted its prestigious annual Hall of Fame Industry Awards and Gala event at Melbourne Crown Palladium.
Over 550 people attended the event, which recognised the achievements and excellence of its members. "The association has a long tradition of recognising people who have contributed so much to the industry, and our prestigious Hall of Fame awards recognise both past and present pioneers of our industry," chief executive Rob Lucas said. Read More

Solar panels on caravanModifications could invalidate RV insurance
OWNERS who modify their caravans could invalidate their insurance, a motoring club has warned. "If you are in an accident, one of the first things an insurance company will do is inspect the 'van for any modifications that could affect its handling," the RACQ said. "If the weight is above the ATM stamped on the compliance plate, they may consider there are grounds for not paying out any insurance." Read More

War hero and former park manager fined over drugs
A WAR hero and former manager of a Queensland caravan park who grew cannabis to help him sleep has been fined.
Police found the drug and utensils after searching Craig McGrath's caravan at the Big Mandarin Caravan Park in Mundubbera. Gayndah magistrates fined him $400 after he admitted possessing 33.6 grams of cannabis and utensils. The court was told McGrath who suffered post traumatic stress after Naval service in Iraq, Cambodia, Afghanistan and East Timor grew the cannabis 18 months ago. Have your say

Call for Royal Commission into rogue RV builders
 WELL-known caravan industry identity Barry Davidson, designer of the original Phoenix off-road caravans, believes there should be a government inquiry into rogue RV manufacturers.
Mr Davidson, who operated one of Australia's biggest caravan repair businesses at Caboolture north of Brisbane, has often complained to Caravanning News about the build standards of some RVs, even including those from some leading manufacturers. He argues there are still inadequate regulations and enforcement controlling the RV industry which now has around 4000 manufacturers. Former policeman Mr Davidson, who claims only 10 percent of them are able to produce a decent product, wants a Royal Commission into the industry. Have your say

Norval Park no-trespassing signTravellers continue to snub no-camping rules
DEFIANT travellers continue to flout no-camping rules at an idyllic beach in Queensland.
Caravanners are still enjoying million-dollar views across the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean at Norval Park beach just north of Bundaberg, despite signs clearly indicating they are trespassing and it is illegal to camp there. One campervan was even pitched next to one of the signs, while other RVs were parked just a couple of hundred metres from Bundaberg Regional Council's official permit-only camping area, which is set back from the beach and lacks sea views. A local property owner told Caravanning News travellers were trickling back to the dunes despite frequent raids by security officers accompanied by police. Read More

AL-KO scores double at awards
AL-KO International scored a double at the Victoria caravan industry's Hall of Fame Industry Awards.
The market leader in trailer, caravan and motorhome technology was named joint Manufacturer of the Year while one of its bosses also received the Charlie Tebb Service to Industry Award for 2016. AL-KO shared the Manufacturer of the Year title with New Age Caravans, becoming the first component manufacturer to receive the prestigious award which recognises manufacturers for their outstanding business performance during the last 12 months. Read More

Top animal accident hotspotsGrey nomads urged to beware of wildlife
GREY nomads have been urged to take extra care while driving near the central Queensland town of Dingo.
New statistics from insurer AAMI have revealed the area is the Sunshine State's top hotspot for animal-related road accidents. Thousands of southern caravanners pass through the area every year in search of Queensland's winter sunshine. But they risk hitting kangaroos (88 percent of insurance claims), wallabies (six percent), wombats (three percent), dogs (two percent) and other wildlife (one percent). AAMI reported that nationally, Queanbeyan in south-eastern New South Wales is the riskiest region. The most hazardous areas for individual states included Bendigo (Victoria), Madura (WA), Canberra (ACT), Mount Gambier (SA) and Launceston (Tasmania). No figures were given for the Northern Territory. The average cost of an animal collision claim was $5123, AAMI said. Have your say

Anniversary and birthday celebrations at Roadstar
BIRTHDAY and anniversary celebrations are in the air at the Roadstar Caravans factory in Victoria.
Long-term employee Noel Zammit notched up another milestone when he recently celebrated 38 years in the caravan industry. Meanwhile, production manager Mick Dubojski will be blowing out the candles as he marks his 73rd birthday this month. The workers have spoken about their experiences and changes to the industry over the years.   Read More


caarava minus wheel

Grey nomad escapes hefty fine

Wheely fair cop on Pacific Highway

A CARAVANNER escaped a hefty fine after being caught hauling a caravan minus one of its wheels along a major NSW highway. The errant 75-year-old grey nomad was stopped by flabbergasted police as he headed south on the Pacific Highway at Pimlico south of Ballina. "He had no idea he was missing a wheel," a spokeswoman told Caravanning News. "Officers helped him get the caravan off the road and gave him a few tips on maintenance." She said the man was not charged with any offence. Have your say


Terry Redman$1.07m boost for WA camping-caravan grounds
THE WA Government is investing another $1.072 million in improving caravan and camping grounds in the State's Mid-West.
Dandaragan, Coorow, Irwin and Northampton shires will use the money to develop new nature-based campgrounds across seven coastal areas, adding 300 sites. Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Royalties for Regions funding would provide attractive and functional camping areas with appropriate amenities such as designated camping areas, walkways, eco toilets and rubbish bins. Read More

Ombudsman warns park over low pay
OPERATORS of caravan park in far north Queensland have been placed on notice after Fair Work inspectors found they were underpaying dozens of workers they supplied to local farms.
The park has received a formal Letter of Caution after investigations revealed it had underpaid 84 workers almost $30,000. The Fair Work Ombudsman, who investigated after 10 workers contacted the agency requesting assistance, would not name the caravan park when contacted by Caravanning News. But a spokeswoman told us it had fully co-operated with Fair Work inspectors. "It did all we asked," she said. Read more.

Supreme CaravansHumble beginnings lead to supreme celebrations
TWO brothers, who built their first caravan in a lowly backyard shed, and their family will celebrate 30 successful years in the industry next month.
Frank and Karl Prosenik's humble beginnings grew into what is now Supreme Caravans, one of the most trusted brands within the Australian caravan industry. The Victorian-based company's success story will be celebrated at a special gala event at its state-of-the-art dealership in Hume, Victoria, on September 2. Read More

Website honour for BIG4 chain
BIG4 Holiday Parks' website has been highly commended in the 2016 AMY awards, the Digital Industry Association of Australia's most prestigious honours.
The tourist and caravan park chain was pipped to the post only by Tourism Australia's Chase the Sun, in which photographers capture time lapse sequences of the sun all over Australia. Have your say

Stuart LamontPeak body welcomes Turnbull's new Cabinet
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 (pictured left) 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. He said the passing of Motor Vehicle Standards Act reforms remained the most immediate and pressing issue for his association. Read More

Mooloolaba action group submits heritage application
AN action group fighting to save an iconic Mooloolaba beachfront caravan park has submitted an application to have it heritage listed.
Sunshine Coast councillors in Queensland want to close the holiday hotspot to make room for more public open space. But the State Government's Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has now confirmed that an application by Danielle Ryan and Jon Erbacher on behalf of the Save Mooloolaba Esplanade Caravan Park Action Group has been lodged. The action group argues the park should remain open because of its cultural significance. Have your say

Gabby Montagnese, New Age CaravansGabby scoops excellence award
NEW Age Caravans managing director Gabby Montagnese has received the 2016 Excellence in Manufacturing Award.
The Women in Industry gong recognises and rewards the achievements of women working within the mining, engineering, manufacturing, logistics and commercial road transport industries. Gabby thought it was "fabulous" for her industry to be recognised for excellence in manufacturing. "This is the first time a caravan or RV manufacturer has had a nomination, let alone a finalist and a winner," she said. "This allows us to showcase that our industry is a career of choice for women all over Australia." She said her company's success was based on not being complacent but always striving for excellence in all aspects of business. "It's more than just product ... it's also about leadership, workplace culture, business-to-business relations and aspiring to improve the quality of life of our customers," she explained. Have your say

Road tripping shows strong revival
ROAD tripping around Australia is experiencing a strong revival in the wake of low fuel prices and historically low interest rates.
That's the view of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia. "We are witnessing a new and robust era in domestic tourism that has the potential to introduce new consumers to the caravan and camping experience," chief executive Stuart Lamont said. "There is also a reconnect with existing markets who in the past may have holidayed internationally." Tourism Research Australia has indicated concerns over uncertain economic conditions created by the fallout from Britain's pending exit from the European Union and unstable EU monetary policies. It is suggested this could lead to a fall in European visitors to Australia. However, any fluctuations in the Euro could encourage more Australians to travel at home and provide further opportunities for domestic tourism and the caravan and camping sector, it is claimed. Have your say

Orange direction signGreen light for more Orange parking
CARAVANNERS will soon find it easier to park their rigs in the NSW city of Orange.
The local council has agreed to set aside more parking facilities for them in the CBD. Extra space will be located around the corner from the new Visitor Information Centre in Peisley Street. Traffic committee chairman Russell Turner said the council wanted to make things as convenient as possible for travellers. "There's potentially dozens of caravans and RVs stopping in Orange to see what's on," he explained. Have your say


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LETTERS TO
THE EDITOR

Letter man

Doubts over drugs among
the dunes at Norval Park

WE have stayed on Bundaberg Sugar's land at Norval Park (see here and this edition).

Caravanners can only travel about 1km from the main track, then it's tenting.

We have never experienced drugs or bad behaviour amongst the caravanners.

Yes, some of the hoons that went there with their tents and camper trailers were definitely a concern.

How would a turtle watcher know drug dealing was rife there, sounds like overreaction and exaggeration.

How about they add some credibility with convictions for drug dealing.

The local general store and pub will not be happy. Guess they might close soon.

Tony Sutherland.

Good news

GOOD news, some people have no respect.

Wendy Shearing.
 


Common sense

I WOULD like to make a comment on a recent call for truckies to be patient.

I think it works both ways.

Whoever is travelling the fastest should be assisted by the slower rig to pass safely, regardless of what that rig is.

It's just common sense.

We all need to start being smart and sensible and stop being competitive and bloody-minded.

This causes less stress and costs just minutes in travel time.

John.