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

January 2015



Letters to
the Editor

LAST month's story in Caravanning News about the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia copping a caning from Western Australia's caravan industry brought an avalanche of letters. So many in fact that we have dedicated a whole page for just a selection of them. The controversy erupted after we revealed the contents of a Caravan Industry Association WA submission to Esperance shire council, which was considering a request from the 66,000-member club to join the CMCA RV Friendly Town scheme. The association, which represents 150 caravan parks and 100 caravan-related businesses, expressed fierce opposition to the plan.

Parks 'damaging themselves'

THE Caravan Industry Association Western Australia hates its own customers and can't even get basic information about the CMCA correct.

I go to a caravan park once a week to charge the batteries and maybe do a load of washing.

This sort of rubbish from the CIAWA makes me so mad that they have the right to try and force you into their expensive parks.

I will spend the extra money on more solar panels, lithium batteries, an extra water tank and I'll do my own washing.

I can't believe how people in business do so much to alienate their own customers at the expense of other businesses in the town.

Why bother with all the diesel to get to WA to be met with that attitude.

I'll go to Tassie and other places that want my business.

I will be pushing the CMCA to do what they have done in NZ ... buy their own land or lease it for parking on overnight.

All I need in this massive country is a five-metre piece of dirt!

Pay $30 for that? No way.

They are just damaging themselves.

Proud CMCA member.

Double standards?

WHAT an interesting submission from the CIAWA.

Once again it is playing the man and not the ball ‒ or more correctly, the organisation and not the issue.

Having now read all the submissions to the council, it is interesting that claims are made that it is not appropriate for ratepayers' money to be used on freedom camping sites.

But at the same time the industry has been happy to receive $millions in grants from various governments out of taxpayers' money.

One could call that double standards.

It is also interesting that they claim the CMCA is a "vocal minority" and use incorrect figures to claim they only represent 5.1 percent of the RV public.

But if we were to apply the same criteria to the CIAWA, they only represent 250 businesses out of the 215,972 (ABS figures) or 0.116 percent of WA business.

One would have to ask just who is the vocal minority?

WA RV tourism's major problem is the difficulty of attracting eastern travellers ‒ the vast majority in the country ‒ due to the costs involved.

It would appear, at least to me, that they should be expending their time and effort to increase visitations rather than fighting to restrict facilities for them.

More travellers mean more dollars which means more profits and everybody would get their share.

Surely it is better to have a percentage of a growing market than a percentage of a declining or stagnant market because of the obstacles one places in the way.

I would think it is time for the CIAWA and their 250 members to have a total rethink on this issue.

Arthur Bugden.

No shareholders

THE CIAWA was so anxious to attack the CMCA that they very wrongly claimed that the CMCA is owned by shareholders.

In fact, the CMCA has no shareholders ... it is a registered not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.

It makes you wonder about their other "facts".

Paul Scully.

Going to any lengths

THE CCIA of WA and elsewhere around Australia will go to any lengths to shoot down anyone who dares to dispute their supposedly God-given right to determine how every traveller will spend each night while out "on the Wallaby".

The fact that the CMCA dares to suggest there are alternatives will automatically incur the ire of the CIAWA and others of a similar persuasion.

Phil Jones.

Level playing fields?

I AM a member of the CMCA and have never heard the club brand a town or area as unfriendly.

I hear continual talk of "a level playing field" but I feel the caravan parks are distinctly unlevel as they erect more and more cabins on their sites.

What about the motel industry? Is this not impinging upon them?

Why does any industry segment feel that they have a monopoly on the way I spend my money.

Prices jump in school holidays as the parks apply the old rule of supply and demand.

To take my grandchildren to a park is more expensive than booking into a holiday resort.

I have stayed at Esperance and I stayed in a park.

But when I last looked this was supposed to be a free country and I still reserve the right to park or not to park.

The part that really gets to me is that the CIAWA expects people to buy caravans and then feel it has the right to bludgeon them into using parks.

Victor Vella.

Club does not brand

THE CMCA does not "brand" a town RV friendly ... it invites a community to provide basic facilities to attract CMCA members to stay in the town.

It has been the most active club in Australia in relation to the provision of dump sites (often subsidised) to the benefit of all the RV community.

It would appear to me as a an RV owner that WA is the most RV unfriendly state in Australia.

Many councils have the attitude that you stay in a commercial caravan park or don't come.

I recently stayed in Broome at $50 a night, and the shire wonders why numbers are down.

Not everyone can afford to stay in a caravan park every night while on the road, irrespective of whether they own a motorhome, caravan, camper trailer and so on.

A price range of accommodation should be provided to cater for the gambit of socioeconomic classes, particularly pensioners who have as much right to travel and experience Australia as anyone else.

The article talks about the CMCA being a company with members who are consumers.

Yes, I am a consumer of RV products including campsites, whether they be "free" camps, national parks or caravan parks.

I will choose what facilities I want, where I want to go and how much I will pay.

I will choose how long I stay based on the value I perceive in a destination.

Rather than preserving the status quo, the CIAWA would be better served by surveying their customers (me) on what we would like, so that their members are better placed to service the needs and wants of the broader RV community.

Whether they like it or not, modern caravans are changing the way that travellers see themselves and a whole new market is emerging ... the self-contained RV.

There will always be RVers who will only stay at a caravan park.

The park business will change. It will be forced screaming and kicking on those who resist.

They have to provide me with a service I want to buy and they have to attract me to the area in the first place.

Areas such as Margaret River, Port Headland, Broome and now Esperance are attracting negative press.

All have taken a stance that it is caravan park only or "on your bike".

This gives me the impression that the whole of WA is RV unfriendly.

At least some governments are listening.

The new drive policy in Queensland is designed to attract RVers to the state, with the policy dictating that a range of accommodation be be made available.

At some stage, the broader RV community needs to stand up and support those who are little well off in their retirement years so that a sensible range of alternatives is provided.

Unfortunately, this will only come about when RVers bypass these areas en masse. Then businesses will suffer.

Peter Becker,
CMCA member.

Your loss

VERY disappointed to learn of the Esperance short-sightedness as regards becoming an RV Friendly town.

Simply means we will be spending our hard earned dollars elsewhere and bypass your area.

Australia is a huge country and there are plenty of towns who welcome us. We can never see it all.

Your loss Esperance!

Just think about it: "Many of us can only afford to travel because of the availability of low cost camping."

Bev Andrews.

Internet gives us a voice

ESPERANCE is already the regional service hub for caravan and campers and will not lose any business if it does not have CMCA-endorsed RV Friendly status.

So says the local caravan industry in its submission to the shire council.

Oh really? I wouldn't be putting any money on that claim.

Things are changing fast now social media is involved and places that travellers deem to be 'RV unfriendly' are starting to feel the power of the internet.

We, the people, finally have a voice of our own and we are using it to get what we want.

Caravan parks have been protected by law for far too long.

As a result I believe they have been overcharging and price gouging, and the travelling public are sick to death of it!

$40-$60 a night to park your vehicle on a patch of dirt, use a few dollars worth of power and a few cents worth of water is nothing but a downright rip-off.

Places that support this kind of behaviour will find out very quickly how easy they are to bypass.

The two places in Australia with the absolute worst reputation among travellers are Cairns and Broome.

If Esperance wants to be added to the list then just keep on listening to vested interests and ignore the people who bring the money to town.

Marc Glasby.

Avoiding Esperance

WE are planning to attend the CMCA rally in Albany next year.

We intend to spend about three months in the south-west and it looks like Esperance is one town we will not be visiting.

I prefer to avoid places where the whole aim is to fleece us by forcing us to pay for facilities we do not need.

Imagine if we went to a supermarket to buy milk, bread and potatoes and were forced to buy a $50 grocery pack.

All we want is a level site where we can park overnight.

If there are clean toilets, that is a bonus but not essential.

I am happy to pay a few dollars for this but most caravan parks expect too much.

Name supplied.

A rare event

ESPERANCE needs to have a close look at Bowen to see what they are missing out on.

If a motorhome is ever seen within that city it is either lost or a hire unit.

We desperately needed fuel this year and drove in to buy some at a servo on the semi-bypass road.

The console operator remarked that getting a motorhome in the servo was a rare event!

Heather Hunt.

Insulting accusation

I HAVE a fully self-contained and self-sufficient motorhome which I have spent a considerable amount of money buying, outfitting and maintaining.

I find it insulting that the CIAWA is accusing myself and other like-minded travellers of looking for a free ride.

When travelling I use a mixture of free and paid campsites including free camping, showgrounds and the very basic caravan parks.

I usually plan my trips and research my overnight stops.

If I can't find a reasonably priced campsite (under $25), I'll free camp somewhere then drive straight through or around that town and onto the next.

There I will top up my very large diesel tank, do my grocery shopping, visit the chemist, bakery and hardware shops etc.

I absolutely refuse to pay the outrageous amounts of money some caravan parks are charging for the privilege of a sometimes ridiculously small piece of ground with access to water and a small amount of power.

I rarely use their amenities block or laundry and I hate being crammed in like sardines with screaming out-of-control children.

My dog is better behaved than many children I have encountered in caravan parks.

Many caravan parks do not allow dogs in school holidays ... another reason I free camp.

Why should I subsidise families travelling with children and be forced to pay for swimming pools, mini golf and jumping castles etc when I donít use them?

According to the website I use, Esperence caravan parks need to lift their game.

Yes, I am a CMCA member and will use RV Friendly towns in preference because the status conferred by the CMCA is a guide to its members that those towns supply certain facilities.

That doesn't mean to say that towns not included in the RV Friendly scheme are "unfriendly". What a ridiculous suggestion.

I have stayed in many lovely towns without the RV Friendly branding.

However, when I head to the west I will most certainly travel straight through Esperence and stay at one of the many free camps nearby.

I will restock at the next available place.

I am getting the distinct impression that Esperence is "RV UnfriendlyĒ ... or maybe itís just WA.

Dianne Douglass.

Freedom's the Aussie way

I RECENTLY returned from eight weeks touring the southern part of Western Australia.

I drive a fully self-contained motorhome, with enough waste water storage, potable water and power on board for up to a week of independent travel.

We use a variety of accommodation options on our travels including free camping, caravan parks and motels.

I do not always need the expensive power sites which the caravan park industry is trying to force all travellers to use.

I spent several thousands of dollars on this trip and made a conscious effort to avoid spending any money in the RV unfriendly towns.

The selfish actions of the park industry using influence with some local authorities to prop up an industry that is inefficient and unresponsive to the needs of the market is costing their communities the economic benefits of tourism.

As an example of the benefits to an RV friendly community, on our return journey we took advantage of the facilities in Kalgoorlie.

There, we spent money on fuel, supplies, restaurant meals and a tour.

Freedom of choice is the Australian way.

The caravan park industry needs to lift its game and meet the needs of a changing market.

Trevor Henderson.

Parks not for us

WE travel each year for about three or four months.

We have a nice fully self-contained motorhome with all the bells and whistles.

We have been traveling in an RV of some sort or other for the past 20 years but very rarely stay in a caravan park.

That's because they have nothing to offer us and we don't like living so close to others ... loud TVs, people coughing in the middle of the night etc.

We aren't city folk and we live in a rural area so we aren't used to being herded into a small space.

There are many people like us holidaying in a RV.

So if our only option is to stay in a caravan park then we will give that town a miss and spend our money and time elsewhere.

And people like us do spend money when we holiday ‒ quite a lot, to be honest ‒ but on the things that we value.

For us, a caravan park isn't of any value at all.

Judy and Steve.

Out of touch

I BELIEVE that councils and other organisations should charge a fee of say $5 per person a night in gazetted town area campsites ... and police it.

If travellers claim they can't afford the $5 they should be off the road as you can't be in a unit or house for these fees.

I believe the WA caravan industry is way out of touch with reality and the Australian RV travellers of today.

As travellers we actually have a great advantage of the CMCA pressuring councils and governments in all states to install subsidised dump points and RV friendly towns. This benefits all travellers.

Imagine where it would be today if it was left up to local councils listening to the caravan park industry.

Many small towns around Australia would lose as they have gained from travellers staying for 48 hours or such, but I do agree some need better control.

Caravan park associations complain about travellers with fully self-contained 'vans bypassing them.

But that's why they purchased this type of 'van ... parks weren't offering what they wanted.

The sad issue is that many smaller parks around Australia have reduced fees for fully self-contained RVs but are being overlooked because of the noisier large parks.

Russell Saunders.



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Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
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