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May 2017

Monthly readership: 19,000 to 24,000
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MAY 31:
Long-serving director Greg Tate is resigning from Coromal and Windsor caravans builder Fleetwood Corporation after 30 years.

MAY 31:
Family-owned Crystal Creek Caravan Park on Bruce Highway at Mutarnee, Queensland, joins Kui Parks chain.

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

* Camper burned at Victoria's Greens Lake free-camp ... 30,290 people reached.

* Thieves make off with New Age caravan ... 26,033 people reached.

* Mystery of flying tyre as caravan veers off Hume Highway ... 22,221 people reached.

* Leeton Caravan Park wants restrictions on free camping ... 14,840 people reached.

* Loddon Council looking for new caravan park manager ... 13,818 people reached.

* Stolen Boroma caravan ... 11,294 people reached.

* Australian Caravan Club pours $51,000 into Kingaroy's economy ... 8190 people reached.




Family missing in Northern Territory

Call from payphone ends alert


By Dennis Amor

POLICE launched a hunt for a NSW family of four travelling in a caravan through Australia's rugged outback after fears for their safety. Northern Territory policet issued an appeal for help in tracing  the Harveys who had not been heard from for a week. They said there were fears for the safety of the family which was last heard of in Alice Springs. Northern Territory Senior Sergeant Paula Dooley said Mac and Corinne Harvey, and daughters Holly and Madeline, were travelling in a Silver Toyota LandCruiser towing a Jayco caravan. Police called off the hunt after the family eventually used a pay phone to make contact from a remote area in the Territory's south. "We would like to thank members of the community for their efforts in assisting to locate the Harvey family," a spokesperson said. "Their welfare is no longer a concern." Have your say

457 visas

'Aussies being denied job opportunities'

Nomads welcome axing of 457 visas

Story-Photos by Dennis Amor
Have your say

FOREIGNERS will no longer to able to take over caravan park jobs under the controversial 457 visa progamme.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is dumping the visas after admitting they should not have been used as "passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians".

The visas allowed "skilled workers" to enter Australia and work for approved businesses for up to four years, and the government's list of 650 occupations considered acceptable included caravan park and camp managers.



Ian Canham

Ritchi Lex Kumst  

Ian Canham: There are ample people here in Australia to do these jobs.

Ritchi: Look after our own workers first. Glad to see the back of these visas. Lex Kumst: I think it's a great move. Why shouldn't these jobs go to us?  

They were supposed to be issued only where locals could not be found for the jobs.

Statistics show that a total of 31 foreigners were given caravan park and camping ground jobs under the scheme, eight between July 2015 and December last year.

Takarakka Bush Resort and Caravan Park at the mouth of Queensland's iconic Carnarvon Gorge recently copped criticism after advertising for "energetic backpackers" to work as receptionists.

Angry grey nomads complained to Caravanning News that Aussies were being denied job opportunities.

"There are ample people here who would willingly work at caravan parks given the chance," fumed round-Australia caravanner Ian Canham.

"It stinks that a whole lot of people can be brought into the country under the guise of meeting a supposed shortage of skilled labour."

And traveller Lex Kumst welcomed news that the 457 visa scheme was being scrapped.

"I think it's a great move ... why shouldn't these jobs go to us?" he asked.

The 4500-member Australian Caravan Club believed the issue raised the need for an "holistic review" of the entire RV Industry by the Australian Productivity Commission.

"The ACC calls on both levels of government across Australia to convene a complete inquiry into the RV industry to understand all matters affecting the RV traveller," chairman Craig Humphrey said.

"It should range from regulatory compliance, labour requirements and job availability for RVers on the road."

Kratzmanns Caravans

Chief executive confirms deal

Apollo to buy major Queensland caravan dealer for $15.6 million

By Dennis Amor

IT'S official ... Apollo Tourism and Leisure will take over Queensland's major RV dealers Kratzmanns and Clint's Caravan Warehouse for around $15.6 million. The news comes after days of speculation and rumour. Apollo managing director and chief executive Luke Trouchet today confirmed the move and told Caravanning News the acquisition would contribute to Apollo's strategy of becoming a leading player in the Australian RV retail market. It would also further expand its retail network across the country. "Kratzmann Caravans was founded by Gary Kratzmann and has become an iconic brand and we are very proud to be involved with the group," he said. "Whilst Gary is retiring to spend more time with family, the management are all staying on. Clint Kratzmann will be continuing the family legacy by being appointed as general manager." Mr Trouchet explained that there were no plans to change the strategy that had made the Kratzmann Group "the success that it is". "Really, it will be business as usual," he said. "Combined with our announcement to purchase rental company CanaDream, recent acquisition of RV retailer Sydney RV and our 25 percent investment in Camplify a peer-to-peer caravan and RV sharing community we are delivering on our plan to become a world leading RV company." The family-owned Kratzmanns business was founded north of Brisbane in 1987, just a stone's throw from where Apollo had its humble beginnings in a backyard shed in 1985.  Have your say

Up to 100 write-offs may be involved

Police probe caravan rebirthing scam


By Dennis Amor

POLICE in Queensland have confirmed they are investigating reports of written-off caravans being illegally rebirthed. It is believed up to 100 owners could have fallen foul of the alleged scam. It is known that a Brisbane dealer has been interviewed by detectives. Police told Caravanning News the matter was "ongoing" and they could not provide any detailed information at this stage. But a Transport and Main Roads spokesperson admitted the department was "assisting" them with investigations into alleged caravan rebirthing. "We have been in contact with affected customers and will continue to work with them while investigations continue," he said. "We can't take action against the registrations until they are confirmed as statutory write-offs." The spokesperson said affected owners had been contacted and advised their caravans should not be used on the road pending the outcome of a police inspection. "We have started cancelling the registration of those caravans identified as statutory write-offs. We will continue to investigate possible options for assisting customers," he added. Statutory write-offs are considered unrepairable to a standard which would make them safe for road use. They are not allowed to be registered and can only be used for spare parts or scrap metal. Have your say

A Sunland caravan with the Longreach label .. circa 2007

Legal fight over Longreach label

Sunland wins brand name dispute

By Dennis Amor

A MAJOR caravan manufacturer has won a costly legal battle to win back its original brand name. Queensland-based Sunland Caravans owner Roy Wyss Jnr was furious when he discovered another manufacturer using his Longreach label. The original Longreach was the first ever built by his Caboolure company and was available in a large range of configurations. He told Caravanning News: "I stopped using the name for a while and then saw another caravan builder had latched onto it. I rang them and asked them to stop using it, but suddenly Longreach was everywhere. It was as if they were being defiant." He said that now he had won back his brand name he would start using it more. Mr Wyss declined to name the other caravan manufactuer, but it is known NSW-based Millard Caravans did build Longreach models. There was no one at the company to comment. Mr Wyss said terms of the court settlement were confidential but revealed he had spent around $100,000 in legal fees. Have your say

The IrwinsForget sleeping with the animals for now

No camping at  zoo in foreseeable future

Have your say

THERE are no signs that caravanners and campers will be overnighting at the world-famous Australia Zoo in the foreseeable future. Sunshine Coast Regional Council last year gave the green light for the popular tourist attraction at Beerwah in the Sunshine Coast hinterland to accommodate recreational vehicles and tents. The nature-based plan provided for eight cabins and 100 caravan and camping sites on an adjoining site, with easy access to the zoo via a pedestrian link across Irwin Road. But public relations manager Alex Halford has told Caravanning News: "Thereís no update on our camping development at this time." More button

Hunter Hall in hospitalToddler scalded in horrific caravan accident
A QUEENSLAND toddler continues to recover after being showered with boiling water from a kettle during his family's dream caravanning adventure.
Rockhampton parents Kerrie and Mick Hall and their four children were already three months into their planned year-long road trip to Tasmania. The horrific accident happened at a Landsborough caravan park in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, just days after little Hunter had taken his first steps. The inquisitive tot pulled open the caravan's oven door and knocked over a kettle boiling on the hot plate. More button

Truckie seeks help from grey nomads in road safety initiative
TRUCKIE and road safety advocate Rod Hannifey is seeking the help of grey nomads in his fight to improve road safety for all users.
The award-winning B-double driver and Churchill Fellowship recipient has decided to launch a survey of caravanners and motorhomers after chatting to grey nomads at the recent Stone the Crows festival at Wagga Wagga. "I was asked what they could do to help my cause of improving road safety," he said. "This survey, then, is the first step in seeking the thoughts of RVers which could help us achieve more." More button

Cassowary Coast anxious to attract more RVers
CASSOWARY Coast Regional Council in Far North Queensland wants to attract more caravanners and other RVers.
At their last meeting, councillors considered creating RV spaces at the Innisfail Showgrounds. It already allows travellers to overnight at Tully Showgrounds in the peak tourist season between May and September. Mayor John Kremastos said the Cassowary Coast was currently missing out on much of the RV market. "RVs are an increasingly popular mode of travel for people of all ages and from what we can see this is a market that we are not catering to," he said. "The more travellers we can entice to stay even an extra day in our region the more we can share as a region in the tourism dollar. We would like caravan park operators to be part of the solution." Councillor Ben Heath said it was time for the council and caravan park operators to "think outside the box". Have your say

Jayco's Gerry Ryan

Jayco workforce expands to meet rising demand
AUSTRALIA'S biggest RV producer plans to increase its workforce by almost 25 percent.
Jayco has been running a series of adverts offering a variety of jobs at its huge manufacturing complex at Dandenong on the outskirts of Melbourne. Multi-millionaire owner and founder Gerry Ryan (pictured) says he will need another 250 workers to cope with the rising demand for his company's caravans, motorhomes and camper-trailers. His company, which already employs 1200 staff, controls around 50 percent of all sales in Australia. Mr Ryan recently told media he is increasingly turning away private equity firms wanting to buy into his business. The Caravanning Industry Association of Australia reports that despite challenging local and global economic environments, domestic caravanning and camping continues to show significant growth. Have your say

Caravan company on market for under a million
A SUNSHINE Coast caravan business in Queensland is on the market for just under a million dollars.
The sale of the caravan and camper import company is being handled by T D Mango Business Brokers. Its advertising material says the business taps into the "booming leisure market" by importing, assembling and retailing its own brand of caravans and camper trailers for the Australian market. It adds that there is "enormous scope" for growth and would be ideal for a working couple. The broker's Ken Dyce declined to identify the company when contacted by Caravanning News. Have your say

Freedom campingWorkshops inspire communities
ABOUT 40 community representatives attended RV Industry Workshops organised by the Australian Caravan Club.
And, the club said, Warialda and Bingara regions of NSW's Gwydir Shire were clearly inspired to attract more RVers. "Our workshops are aimed at assisting local communities to understand what many RVers may be looking for when visiting and staying in a region, whether for a short or long-term stay, and what their requirements and needs might be," chairman Craig Humphrey said. More button

Facelift for Koondrook amenities
FACILITIES at the local caravan park in Victoria's historic red gum township of Koondrook have undergone a $275,000 facelift.
The local shire funded a brand new amenities block which includes a laundry and washing sinks, male and female toilets and showers and ambulant facilities. Landscaping and irrigation works were also completed around the building. Mayor Brian Gibson said the facilities were nearly 50 years old and were "well overdue" for a facelift. Have your say

Van with tyre which smashed through windscreenCaravan sends tyre from ute hurtling through the air
A CARAVAN accident on a major NSW highway caused a bizarre chain of events which landed a man in hospital.
It all began when a LandCruiser hauling an Elite caravan and driven by a 70-year-old woman suddenly veered off the northbound lanes of the Hume Highway at Yass. The rig careered though trees and shrubbery on the median strip before hitting an abandoned ute, sending a tyre from its tray hurtling through the air and into the windscreen of a passing van. More button

Show society abandons camping plan
THE Yeppoon and District Show Society has backed out of plans to set up overnight sites for caravans and other RVs.
Livingstone Shire Council had supported the idea of providing up to 15 sites at the local showgrounds, but the local caravan park lodged an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court claiming it could affect its business. A spokesperson for the show society said the court action had no bearing on its decision to scrap the plan. It blamed high council fees which it would have had to fork out to run the camping area. Have your say

New 'annual' homes at Lake Conjola tourist parkGo-ahead for 114 new homes at tourist park
INGENIA Communities Group will build 114 new permanent homes at one of the premier tourism parks on NSW's South Coast.
Shoalhaven City Council has given its approval for the development and associated community facilities at the group's swish Ingenia Holidays Lake Conjola. Ingenia bought the tourism park in September 2015 for $24 million. It offers a combination of annual sites combined with tourism cabins and caravan and camping facilities. More button

Stay of execution for Barmah park
LOCALS have won their battle to get a stay of execution for Victoria's Barmah Camping and Caravan Park on the banks of the Murray River.
Moira Shire Council planned to close the park after a poor response in its bid to find a long-term operator to take over the lease. But following a spirited campaign by the outraged local community, councillors at their recent meeting decided to defer any decision for three months. It is feared that closing the park would be a devastating blow to the Barmah economy which relies heavily on tourism. Have your say

Monopoly caravanning-stylePollies able to snap up caravan parks
POLITICIANS in the Canberra's corridors of power can now snap up some of Australia's best caravan parks ‒ or even a whole group of them.
They have been given the opportunity to dabble in holiday parks thanks to the caravan industry's peak body, the Caravan Industry Association of Australia. It has presented a special caravanning and camping edition of the world famous Monopoly game to Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese and Labor MPs Sharon Bird, Tim Hammond and Stephen Jones. And, as required, the prezzies have now been officially logged in the parliamentary gifts register. Australia's caravan industry joined forces with Monopoly to develop what is believed to be the world's first ever caravanning and camping themed version of its world-renowned board game. Have your say

Smashing job on offer
INSURANCE giant Suncorp is looking for an on-road assessor to inspect smashed up caravans, motorhomes and boats.
The trade-qualified specialist will be responsible for NSW's Newcastle, Maitland and Hunter areas. "To be suitable for this role applicants will need to have a working knowledge of caravan repairs and be passionate about delivering great business outcomes," Suncorp said. The assessor would be responsible for accurately assessing damage to determine "cost-effective and safe repairs", it added. Suncorp includes household names such as AAMI, APIA, CIL, GIO and Shannon's. Have your say

Sorell Lions caravan parkPark takeover deferred after Lions roar
TASMANIA'S Latrobe Council has decided to defer a decision to scrap a long-term management agreement with Port Sorell Lions Caravan Park.
This follows a protest campaign launched by members who have run the park for about 30 years. Acting mayor Rick Rockliff said the council's decision to takeover the caravan park "was not taken lightly" and has given an assurance it will not be sold. More button

Bush resort invites backpackers to gorge on nature
TAKARAKKA Bush Resort and Caravan Park at the mouth of Queensland's iconic Carnarvon Gorge has advertised for energetic backpackers to work as receptionists.
Its advert on the Backpacker Job Board promised a "great working environment" and the chance to experience the famous gorge while living and working amongst nature. Successful applicants would receive on-the-job training, award wages and onsite accommodation. The advert also warned they must have the ability to live remotely and be prepared to be "unplugged from city conveniences". Have your say

BIG4's Chinese websiteBIG4 tempts Chinese with true blue Aussie holidays
A MAJOR chain of Australian caravan and holiday parks is targeting the Chinese tourist market.
BIG4, which boasts of being dedicated to the spirit of the true blue Aussie holiday, has launched the industry's first Chinese-registered .CN website. "At this stage, our objective is not to promote individual parks but rather to create greater awareness in China of our holiday park sector as a whole," chief executive Steven Wright said. With its 180-plus holiday parks scattered across Australia, BIG4 wanted to "educate visitors" about the tremendous outdoor experiences Australia offers, he added. More button

Roadstar appoints exclusive Sunshine State dealer
ROADSTAR Caravans has appointed Caravan World as its new, exclusive Queensland dealer.
Founded almost 40 years ago, Caravan World relocated from Woombye to Chevallum on the Sunshine Coast in 2015. Roadstar director Ken Nazim said the Queensland market was experiencing huge growth. "We only search out the best dealers who can cope with the demand in wanting our product with the best customer service at the right price," he said. Have your say

AL-KO's new off-road couplingNew off-road coupling from AL-KO
WORLD leader in caravan chassis components AL-KO has unveiled a new and improved off-road ball coupling.
Engineered by the Australian company for extreme off-road adventure, the new coupling incorporates extreme vertical and horizontal articulation. It also offers a quick and easy hitching design utilising a standard 50mm tow ball, thus avoiding the inconvenience of pin or hole alignment associated with many pin-type off-road couplings. More button

ACC gathering of membersChairman extends muster invitation to locals
THE Australian Caravan Club expects up to a hundred members to attend its six-day Chairman's Muster beginning on May 18 at Peak Hill in NSW's central west.
A full program of activities has been planned for members attending the event at the town's showgrounds. Club chairman Craig Humphrey has extended an invitation to fellow travellers and residents of Peak Hill and its surrounds to join himself and club members for Happy Hour on May 20 at 4pm. More button

Owners group plans 'laid-back' gathering
THE 98-member Sunland Caravan Owners Group is planning a get-together at Glenreagh Recreation Reserve between Coffs Harbour and Grafton in NSW.
The gathering will be held from September 8 to 17. "It will be a friendly laid-back event without any formalities, stress or pressure," host Larry Newberry said. "We have made this event to be over two weekends to make it easier for people to plan their trip." Members could decide for themselves how long they wanted to stay, he added. Have your say

No-camping signIgnore no-camping signs, urges town
IGNORE the no-camping signs at Macksville's Lions Park in NSW ... in fact, the local council wants caravanners and other RVers to overnight there.
Nambucca Shire Council will now spend over $500 in swapping the signs to entice more grey nomads into staying awhile at the park on the banks of the Nambucca River. One councillor told a recent council meeting: "They do it anyway, so we may as well let them know it is OK. These people donít want to be in caravan parks." Meanwhile, local mayor Rhonda Hoban wants the town, halfway between Brisbane and Sydney, to take the necessary steps to become an official RV Friendly Town. Have your say

Extra medical services to cope with grey nomad invasion
AMBULANCE services are being improved on Queensland's Cape York to cope with the upcoming invasion of grey nomads.
Extra paramedic and ambulance vehicles will be located at the QAS's Coen Field Office for six months during the dry season. The office covers an area from Weipa to the Musgrave River, and the town is an increasingly popular spot for caravanners and 4WD enthusiasts to stop on their way to the tip of Cape York. "Tourism is an emerging industry on Cape York, with an increasing number of people travelling in caravans and motorhomes to the region every year," Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said. "That does put some extra pressure on our emergency services."  Have your say

Craig Kenyon, WA caravanning associationNew WA caravan parks development initiative
WESTERN Australia's caravan industry has joined forces with Tourism Western Australia to deliver a new development initiative.
The Caravan Industry Development Initiative Program will focus on improving the capacity and capability of the state's caravan and camping sector. It is a collaboration with Tourism Western Australia, Caravan Industry Association of Western Australia and Breakaway Tourism. Association chief executive Craig Kenyon (pictured) said the program would provide a valuable set of resources specifically for regional caravan parks within the state. More button

Council to spend $35,000 on new RV-friendly site
WOLLONDILLY Shire Council in NSW has decided to spend $35,000 on trialling a 12-month RV-friendly site at Warragamba village's recreation reserve.
Up to eight self-contained caravans, motorhomes and campervans will be allowed to stay for 48 hours at the self-policed site which offers natural shade, barbecue and water facilities and nearby shops. Access will be by a PIN-controlled automated boom gate. The council has also passed a notice of motion supporting another site at the nearby small town of Bargo. Have your say

Kununurra Agricultural Socety caravan parkKununurra park reopens
KUNUNURRA Agricultural Society's caravan park in WA is up and running again, but with fewer sites.
The society had to close the 40-site facility on the showground in Coolibah Drive when the local council ruled it must upgrade infrastructure to comply with regulations. Society president Kath Ryan said she was happy it was now operating on a permanent basis and on a level playing field with other caravan parks. Income from the park helps finance the annual agricultural show. The number of sites had been reduced to 23 which was "a drop in the ocean" compared to other parks, she added. The park is open during the dry season, except for the week of the annual agricultural show. Powered sites cost $35 a night for couples, with an extra $8 for each adult. Up to two children can stay for free, but additional children are charged $4 a night. There is a $20 bond for one dog. rising to $50 for two. Have your say

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