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Breaking News headline
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* Caravanner witnesses frightening rollover ... 29,186 people reached.

* Caravan rig crashes while attempting to overtake ... 14,937 people reached.

* Swift reveals which of its cookers used in RVs are safe ... 13,776 people reached.

* Grey nomads fined for entering floodwaters ... 10,374 people reached.

* Police in Queensland target overweight caravans ... 9096 people reached.

* ACCC takes a swipe at caravan industry ... 6252 people reached.



Excelling in service, innovation and best practice

Jayco Newcastle wins gong for fifth time

Jayco Newcastle staff with award
Jayco Newcastle staff with their award

JAYCO Newcastle has scooped the prestigious NSW Dealer of the Year Award for the fifth time. The gong was awarded as the caravan industry begins to bounce back after the crippling Covid pandemic. The awards were coordinated by the NSW Caravan and Camping Industry Association and the Land Lease Living Industry Association. They recognise businesses and individuals excelling in service, innovation and best practice. Jayco Newcastle managing director Damian Charleson said the win was a reflection of the dealership's entire team. "Our focus is to really push for ongoing change, while adding value for our customers," he said. "I am so proud of our team and how they are each continuing to grow within our business." Jayco Newcastle took out the award In 2015, 2016 and 2017, as well as being subsequently inducted into the Hall of Fame for this run before winning the award again in 2019. The dealership is well known for its Customer Appreciation Weekends around the Hunter for caravan enthusiasts and staff members. Have your say

Turtle Sands
Photo: Caravanning News

'Eco-tourism experience'

NRMA shells out to acquire park
adjoining famous turtle rookery

By Dennis Amor

NRMA Parks and Resorts has bought the beachside caravan park bordering on the world famous Mon Repos turtle rookery in Queensland. With over 40 parks nationwide, the chain is Australia's second largest investor in holiday parks. Its latest acquisition Turtle Sands Camping and Holiday Park near Bundaberg has taken limited guests since pulling down the shutters in 2010, telling Caravanning News it wanted to protect the adjoining turtle activity. The park first threw open its gates in 1974. NRMA Parks and Resorts said it planned to create an "eco-tourism experience" next to a world famous marine turtle nesting beach, which attracts visitors from far and wide during the turtle laying season from December to March. Have your say

Remedy revealed

Potentially lethal Swift cookers are safe to use

Swift cookerTHERE is now a remedy to make recalled potentially lethal Swift 500 series cookers installed in some caravans or motorhomes safe to use.

Inspection and repairs will be carried out free of charge by the manufacturer under a remedy Swift has negotiated with the Gas Technical Regulators Committee.

The committee comprises representatives from Australian state, territory and New Zealand gas regulators.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is concerned about the risk of explosions and burns associated with 16 recalled models of the Swift 500 series cooker.

About 11,000 manufactured between 1 January 2019 and 31 May 2020 (inclusive) are affected.

"Unfortunately, three people have already suffered serious injuries and burns while using a defective Swift cooker," ACCC deputy chairperson Delia Rickard said.

"In one case a person suffered first degree burns to their stomach and legs. We don't want to see any more injuries occur.

"Consumers should check if their cooker has been recalled by visiting our Product Safety website. Affected consumers not already registered for the recall should contact Swift Appliance Group as a matter of urgency, so an inspection and potential repair can be arranged."
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Catherine Jones'One of the kindest people'

Appeal after woman's home
is crushed by falling tree

By Dennis Amor

AN appeal launched to help a 72-year-old woman whose caravan home was crushed by a massive tree during a storm in the Adelaide Hills this week has already raised a thousand dollars. Chris Marshall was away visiting a friend when her caravan, packed with all her personal treasures, was smashed to pieces. Catherine Jones (pictured), who launched the $10,000 gofundme appeal, described Ms Marshall as "one of the kindest people" she knew. "She pioneered home birthing in South Australia with the help of her friend Doctor Ramsey," she said. "She is a passionate advocate for Aboriginal people and adopted Aboriginal baby boy Peter George 32 years ago. He lives in Port Augusta with his family." Ms Jones said her friend had brought Peter up with her other three children Sita, Rani and Leo and travelled all over Australia with them, working as a nurse and midwife in Aboriginal health organisations and hospitals. She said she wanted her friend to have a place to live ... a new caravan which she could decorate and make a home for herself again. "It doesn't have to be a brand new caravan, just one that is solid and livable," she added. Have your say

Esperance caravan park

Redevelopment begins in May

RAC plans $7.5m upgrade for Esperance caravan park

A BEACHSIDE caravan park in the West Australian town of Esperance is to undergo a $7.5 million redevelopment. RAC Parks and Resorts plan to extend their current park, with internal roads to another 20 self-contained chalets, long vehicle sites suitable for larger caravans and buses, parking and a play area. The reserve was formerly run as a youth hostel but stood vacant for some time after the Shire of Esperance took on the lease in late 2020 to help the local community with worker accommodation during the Covid pandemic. Shire president Ian Mickel said it was time to hand the prime tourism site over to an organisation which had already demonstrated the "fantastic results" they can achieve. Shire chief executive Shane Burge said redevelopment of the site would offer ongoing assistance to the regional community. "RAC prefers to use local contractors in construction which were competitive and available, and hopes the site works and in-ground services will be sourced locally," he said. "The finished extension to the holiday park will increase the amenity of the site and diversify our accommodation options, and of course RAC will continue marketing to its member base and wider population. This gives significant exposure to our town, and once travellers are here RAC works with local tourism operators, encouraging guests to enjoy the amenities of our region." RAC plans to start redevelopment next May. Have your say

Million RoadFitting finish to popular program

'Road to a Million' dubbed huge success

AUSTRALIA'S peak body for the caravan industry had dubbed its recent Road to a Million campaign as being "hugely successful". The Caravan Industry Association of Australia reports a "fitting finish" to the hugely popular program after it was featured on Channel Seven's morning weather forecasts by Sam Mac broadcasting to a national audience in the millions. The campaign had fostered "a unified industry approach" with over 1300 participating caravan parks, the association said. It had generated over 77,900 entries resulting in 339,238 camping nights and over 852,000 entries recorded. "Impressively, 33 percent of campers reported taking a winter holiday they would not have and 68 percent said they were influenced to book another camping holiday this year," the association said. "This live TV event also provided a fantastic platform to spotlight all the fantastic benefits and fun of a caravanning and camping lifestyle, ensuring it continues to be positioned as Australia’s number one holiday choice."

MoneyHigh interest expected

Federal Govt grants available to improve caravan parks

APPLICATIONS for grants under the Federal Government's Caravan Parks Grant Program are now open. It will provide $10,000 to $100,000 matched dollar-for-dollar (or more) for solvent and eligible caravan parks to develop or improve infrastructure and assets. Money will be provided for developing new caravan/camping sites, increasing the number of powered sites, installing new cabins or substantial renovations of existing ones, new or upgraded recreational facilities, new or upgraded visitor amenities, upgrading sites and cabins or amenities to make them more accessible. To be eligible, caravan parks must: hold an Australian Business Number and be a legal entity operating a caravan park within Australia with 40 or more powered sites for short-term visitor accommodation. "We expect there will be a high level of interest for this program and a high number of applications," a spokesperson said. "Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis until the funding is exhausted." Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont welcomed the announcement, commenting: "Caravan parks continue to be the backbone of the Australian tourism industry, with Australians getting out in their millions as they seek genuine and authentic experiences in some of the most amazing locations in the world”. Have your say

Mid North Coast caravan award winners'Exceptional best practice'

Businesses set benchmark for holiday parks in NSW

TOURISM businesses and individuals on the NSW mid north coast were among the winners and finalists at the NSW Caravan and Camping Industry Association Awards in Sydney. "It's very satisfying to see them recognised for exceptional best practice and innovation, and we congratulate all winners and finalists,” said Deb Tuckerman, the MidCoast Council's Growth, Economic Development and Tourism Manager. "These businesses are setting the benchmark for holiday parks in NSW and offer the kind of holiday experience many people are looking for in the Barrington Coast." The NSW Holiday Park of the Year Award went to BIG4 River Myall Holiday Resort at Bulahdelah in the less than 100 sites category. Tiona Holiday Park was a finalist in the more than 100 sites category. Myall River Camp at Hawks Nest won the NSW Holiday Park Innovation Award. Robyn Kingsmill from Lani's Holiday Island and Lani's on the Beach won the President’s Award for services to the industry. Kelly McKillop from Tiona Holiday Park was a finalist in the Employee of the Year Award.

Jayco Newcastle gongHard work rewarded

Jayco dealer wins prestigious award for the fifth time

JAYCO Newcastle is celebrating after taking out the NSW Dealer of the Year award for the fifth time. The high-performing team collected the prestigious gong at the 2022 Annual Awards of Excellence. CCIA NSW president Mark Lindsay said it was an honour to reward the hard work and dedication shown by the company. "As our industry bounces back post-Covid, businesses like Jayco Newcastle continue to make a positive contribution to our economy and we are pleased to be recognising the great achievements of our industry through these Awards of Excellence," he said. Jayco Newcastle's exemplary history includes winning the award In 2015, 2016 and 2017 as well as being subsequently inducted into the Hall of Fame for this run before winning the award again in 2019. Jayco Newcastle managing director Damian Charleson said the win was a reflection of the entire team at the dealership. "Our focus is to really push for ongoing change, while adding value for our customers," he said. "I am so proud of our team and how they are each continuing to grow within our business." Pictured above are, from left, Peter Costello (service manager), Damian Bowdler (spare parts manager), Thalia Earl (accounts & administration supervisor) and Damian Charleson (managing director).  Have your say

'Peaceful havens'

'Home-away-from-home' holiday parks


QUEENSLAND'S Sunshine Coast Council has urged people to take advantage of its $3 million investment in the Coolum and Mudjimba Beach holiday parks. Local councillor Maria Suarez said each park offered a home-away-from-home experience and were two of the region's most peaceful holiday havens that could be enjoyed all year round. "Two of council's premium coastal holiday parks have received upgrades to the amenities facilities to ensure they remain contemporary and attractive for all our valued guests," she said. "The modern conveniences include two new amenities blocks with showers for all campers, including those living with a disability, and a laundry space to wash and dry. As we strive to become Australia's most sustainable region it is paramount the buildings are equipped with solar power generation, battery storage and rainwater harvesting for use in flushing toilets."  Read more button

Trent Bagnall

Revenue soars

Camplify continues strong
growth and achievements

NSW-based peer-to-peer caravan and recreational vehicle sharing platform Camplify says it has made some "remarkable achievements" during the year. In a message to shareholders, it reported continued strong growth, with its marketplace transactions growing by 63 percent and revenue soaring by 95 percent against the 2021 financial year. Chairman and non executive director Trent Bagnall, pictured, commented: "We are very confident that the New Zealand market will provide significant revenues in the current financial year and will provide strong year-on-year growth both in the short and medium term." Founder and chief executive Justin Hales said he was "extremely proud" of the business. "Camplify is extremely well positioned, we are well funded with a healthy balance sheet and strong customer demand," he added.  Read more button

Stuart LamontRecord number planning trips

CIAA urges caravanners to take personal responsibility for safety

THE peak body for Australia's caravan industry is reminding grey nomads and other caravanners to take personal responsibility for their safety and that of others. The Caravan Industry Association of Australia's new Caravan & Camping Safety campaign reminds Australians to focus on safety across the month before they hit the road. It says that with over 840,000 registered RVs in Australia and camping holidays enjoying increased popularity, there will be a record number of Australians planning their trips for the summer holidays. In the coming months, approximately 14 million nights and four million camping trips or more are expected to be taken across Australia. "Importantly we want to see all those who go caravan and camping over the upcoming holidays to not only have a great time while at their destination, but also return home safely." chief executive Stuart Lamont said. Read more button

Garden caravanFeedback invited

Caravans in gardens could
help solve rental problems

QUEENSLAND'S Fraser Coast District Council may soon allow family or friends to live in a caravan in a home's garden for up to six months. Locals are now being encouraged to provide feedback on the idea. "The changes will allow people to help family and friends who cannot find rental accommodation," Councilor Jade Wellings said. "There is a critical shortage of rental accommodation across the country and this is one way the council can help." The authority plans to amend its Administration Subordinate Local Law (Number 1) to allow caravans to be used for up to six months in a 12-month period. The arrangement would last until December 31, 2027, and then revert to the current version unless extended or repealed earlier. Any extension or proposal to repeal would also require community feedback. "We have a kind and compassionate community and many have reached out to me since I started pursing this idea some months ago to demonstrate their support," Cr Wellings said. Have your say

Vicky Taylor'There needs to be less pain'

Former cop helps nomads
find perfect home on road

By Dennis Amor

FORMER police officer Vicky Taylor is the face behind a new company which helps would-be grey nomads find their perfect mobile home. Vicky took a break from her 19-year career to explore Australia's highways and byways with her family but couldn't believe the stress she experienced in finding the most suitable caravan. "I found that there needed to be less pain in buying them," the mother of three told Caravanning News. "And that's why my new company, Find My Van, came about. It is growing every day and I am very grateful to my clients for that. "We’re different from a dealership because we don't hold any stock ourselves and we're not affiliated with any one manufacturer." Read more button

Insurance'Unaffordable levels'

Soaring insurance rates forcing
park operators to their knees

INSURING caravan parks is becoming more and more expensive and forcing some operators to their knees, it has been claimed. BIG4 Holiday Parks say those in areas with increased natural disaster risk are suffering the worst. Insurers are being accused of refusing to cover the $24 billion caravan park sector and are raising premiums to unaffordable levels. "It has not been uncommon to see prices increase five-fold, should insurance even be offered at all," Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont said. Premiums for one award-winning caravan park in north Queensland were said to have soared from $105,000 to $945,000 in two years. Have your say

Jason Plant  Strong interest across the board

Queensland caravan show
clocks up $45m in sales

THE recent Let's Go Queensland Caravan and Outdoor Show indicated that caravanning is still the preferred holiday of choice for many Aussies. Organisers Caravanning Queensland said the four-day event showed that the lifestyle showed no signs of slowing down, with more than 15,000 enthusiasts attending. Thousands of RVs and products were sold during the exhibition, which showcased over six hundred recreational vehicles. With ongoing consistent sales and consumer demand, the caravan industry in Queensland also continues to experience strong interest across the board, from manufacturers and dealers right through to parks and local tourism. Caravanning Queensland trade chief executive Jason Plant, pictured, revealed that an estimated $45 million in sales was achieved during the expo. Read more button

Gary MurrayNext year looks 'very healthy'

Queensland's outback caravan parks report rise in bed nights

By Dennis Amor

MOST caravan parks in the Sunshine State's outback have recorded a rise in bed nights, according to the Outback Queensland Tourism Association's annual report. Meanwhile, the drive market has made good use of free camping areas in Queensland's north-west, with many of the more popular spots being well patronised. Writing in the newly published Outback Queensland Tourism Association's annual report, North West board representative Gary Murray (pictured) ‒ who has been reappointed for a further two-year term ‒ said next year looked "very healthy". Many accommodation operators had made special mention of the forward bookings they have received in association with their local events, he said. Mr Murray, who is managing director of North West Tours, said the last 12 months had been "challenging" for operators in a positive way, ever mindful of delivering products and services in a safe and accepted manner. Read more button

Noosa River Holiday Park

'A sound track record'

New operator to take over reins
of Noosa River holiday park

A NEW operator will take over the reins of the council-owned Noosa River Holiday Park this month. The local council has awarded experienced management company 1EIGHT ‒ which operates caravan parks, campgrounds and cabins along the Sunshine State's coastline and in the outback ‒ a five-year contract to run the heritage-listed park, with further options to extend. Mayor Clare Stewart said the company was an experienced provider of accommodation management services, adopting an innovative and modern approach. "1EIGHT manages seven other holiday parks in Queensland, including Noosa Council's other campgrounds at Noosa North Shore and Boreen Point so they have a sound track record, and we know firsthand the good job they do," she said. Read more button

Stuart Lamont   'Growing and critical role recognised'

Federal Budget 'shot in the
arm' for caravan parks

THE Caravan Industry Association of Australia has welcomed the Federal Budget's announcement of caravan park infrastructure upgrade funding. "The announcement of targeted infrastructure investment for the nation's caravan parks will see a big shot in the arm for many park operators looking to build on the quality customer experiences already on offer across the country," it said. The announcement had confirmed Labor's pre-election commitment made to the association to provide much needed infrastructure expenditure if elected in May 2022. In the soon-to-be-announced criteria for the grant program, Australian caravan parks will be able to apply for funding to deliver shovel-ready projects. Chief executive Stuart Lamont, pictured, said the targeted federal infrastructure support package recognised the "growing and critical value" of caravanning to Australia's tourism and visitor economy. Read more button

Northern RVBoon delivers demand

Solid outlook for Fleetwood's
RV Solutions division

By Dennis Amor

THE medium-term outlook for Fleetwood's RV Solutions division remains solid, with order books at high levels and recent growth in registrations to support the after-sales market. Continued growth of new caravan registrations and the sales of second-hand caravans had been a key contributing factor to its growth over the past year, Fleetwood said. "While international travel has resumed, the forward order book for manufacturers remains at solid levels," it added. "The business will likely remain in a strong position through exposure to the locally built RV market via the parts business Camec, and to overseas imports through the services business Northern RV. The recent boom in caravan sales during the past two years will likely continue to deliver demand for our aftermarket service and renovation offering." RV Solutions finished the 2022 financial years with pre-tax earnings of $9.8 million on revenue of $81.2 million. Have your say

Stolen car misses rig by inches

Roundabout fright for caravanners

roundabout frightCARAVANNERS had a lucky escape when they were confronted head-on by a stolen car being driven the wrong way round a Queensland roundabout. The speeding silver Captiva missed the caravan by inches, with the incident south of Brisbane being captured by a camera onboard a police helicopter tracking the vehicle. A man and woman who had been travelling in the stolen car were later arrested. The caravanners escaped unharmed but were shaken up by their frightening experience. Have your say


Partial restitution

Former Brisbane motorhome dealer jailed for fraud

A FORMER Brisbane-based motorhome dealer has been jailed after a major investigation by the Office of Fair Trading into his business activities. Alfred John Jeffreys, formerly a licenced motor dealer and director of The Motorhome Conversion Company Pty Ltd and Motorhomesoz Sales Pty Ltd, appeared in the Brisbane District Court and admitted 11 charges of fraud totalling $692,450. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment, suspended for four years after serving one year. On the day of sentencing, Mr Jeffreys provided partial restitution to assist affected consumers who were still owed proceeds for the sale of their motorhomes. The court heard that without telling the owners, he allegedly sold the motorhomes and received the sale proceeds into his company’s bank account. Owners were led to believe that Mr Jeffreys had yet to sell the motorhomes, even being told in some circumstances, of potential buyers for the already sold motorhomes. Have your say

Rob LucasCarefully planned succession process

Top management changes at
Caravan Industry Victoria

VICTORIA'S peak body for the state's caravan and RV manufacturing industry has announced a major change in the line-up of its top management. Caravan Industry Victoria's long-serving chief executive Rob Lucas, pictured, will hand over the reins to current general manager operations Daniel Sahlberg in January, while Mr Lucas will become chief executive of the National Caravan Industry Training College. President Nat Schiavello said the handover was the culmination of a carefully planned succession process. Read more button

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Letter man

Nomads realising the value of UHF radios on travels

ONBOARD UHF radios, it seems, are finally catching on with fellow caravanners!

During my recent travels I have heard more and more grey nomads chatting about road conditions and possible hazards ahead.

I've had a two-way in my towing vehicle for a couple of years and have lost count of the number of times it has helped me avoid problems up ahead.

The latest was on Queensland's Bruce Highway which had ground to a halt following  a collision south of the Sunshine Coast.

One caravanner was warning fellow travellers of the chaos and gave useful advise on which lanes to use.

Ray Fellows,