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September 2017

Monthly readership: 20,423 to 27,629
(previous six-months)

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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

SEPT 30:
Car and caravan reportedly ablaze after rollover on Queensland's Bruce Highway about 18km north of Marlborough. Fires burning on both sides of highway, which is completely blocked. Caravanners said to be out of rig but no further details available.

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

* Nearly 100 RVs safety checked at Toowoomba ... 60,097 people reached.

* Tow Secure breakaway systems recall ... 52,636 people reached.

* Pay-what-you-like sites at BIG4 caravan park ... 38,518 people reached.

* Pine Country Caravan Park on market ... 35,879 people reached.

* New Cell caravans sold for scrap ... 27,873 people reached.

* Plans for free safety checks in Victoria ... 20,687 people reached.

* Crook steals caravanner's LandCruiser ... 11,203 people reached.

More letters to the editor

Following the advice from RFDS

THE RFDS advice to grey nomads makes sense (see story here)

We have been doing this now for many years.

1. After each annual medical we get a printout of our test results and make copies of them to take with us.

2. We stock up on one month's medicines and also get fresh scripts to take with us.

3. We have made sure our 'phone is of the blue tick (rural compatible) and I have installed an external antenna on the 'van for better reception.

4. We hire a sat 'phone when we know we will be traversing remote areas.

5. We also make sure the caravan's water tanks are topped up at every opportunity and also carry a water bladder for use when required.

6. We have an app on our phone called Life 360 so our children can track us easily . And there is an emergency contact with it.


Booze dismay

A CARAVAN park now has a licence to sell packaged liquor (see story here).

Just what we need ... more booze outlets.

It just perpetuates the perception that caravanners are a mob of p...pots.

In my considered opinion this is just a money grab.

Alcohol is the largest cause of domestic violence in the country, and this isn't going to help in anyway.

The drunks at 'happy hours' will love it though.

Peter McKill.

Doubts on safety recall

THERE has been a recall of Tow Secure devices (see story here).

I have a Jayco Silverline caravan with one of these fitted from new.

I haven’t been contacted about the recall and reckon most others haven't either.

Before my last trip away I tested the breakaway switch and found it did not work and replaced it.

But who knows how many others are driving around without knowing their switch could be faulty?

Peter Stott.



Ron Chapman

'There would be no benefit to the consumer'

Qld's peak caravanning body welcomes doors being closed on Sunday trading

Story-Photo: Dennis Amor

QUEENSLAND'S peak caravanning body has welcomed news that the state government has closed the doors on Sunday trading in RVs. Caravanning Queensland's chief executive Ron Chapman (pictured) told Caravanning News: "We are not in the least concerned about this because our members don't want Sunday trading. There would be no benefit to the consumer." In the biggest shake-up to the state’s retail sector in decades, shops will be given more rein in opening hours. But car and caravan dealers will still remain closed on Sundays. Mr Chapman said a recent survey of its members showed that 94 percent of dealers were against selling on Sundays. "It would be an unviable proposition for dealership owners," he said. "Queensland is the number one selling state for RVs and this proves we really don't need it." He pointed out that buying a caravan was generally a long-term project. "On average it takes two years from the time a consumer decides to buy a caravan to when they actually do it. One day won't make a scrap of difference." The main reasons dealers were against Sunday training were cost and the difficulty in getting trained staff, Mr Chapman added. Have your say

Coromal caravans

'Softening in the caravan market'

Story-Photo: Dennis Amor
Have your say

DESPITE a whopping 59 percent rise in revenue, Fleetwood Corporation's recreational vehicles division continues to make a loss.

And the Perth-based manufacturer of Windsor and Coromal caravans said a "softening in the caravan market" meant it was unlikely to return to profitability this financial year.

Fleetwood's recently released preliminary final report for the year revealed that the RV division recorded a $6.7 million underlying EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) loss.

This was in the face of  caravan production rising by 50 percent during the year to meet a "marked increase" in orders.

While it had increased its labour force, manufacturing was being hampered by the lack of skilled factory workers in a state where there were no other caravan builders.

Capital city shows weaker than in previous years

"This efficiency lag is the key reason the increase in revenue hasn't delivered at the bottom line yet," managing director Brad Denison said.

"However, factory labour efficiency is increasing."

Despite improvements in the business and strong results at the Perth and Sydney caravan shows, results from other capital city shows had been weaker than previous years, Fleetwood said.

"This is in line with a generally weakening trend seen in the Australian caravan manufacturing sector towards the end of the financial year.

"The board has confidence in the direction the business is taking given the number of improvement initiatives currently underway, and recreational vehicle manufacturing is considered a key component of Fleetwood's long-term future."

Fleetwood said a shift in the RV market saw smaller and lighter caravans becoming more popular in the free camping sector.

The family side of the market was now prominent, with sales to the older demographic falling off.

New products had given its dealers more confidence, with about 50 percent of Coromal and Windsor dealerships now selling the brands exclusively compared with only a handful 18 months ago.

Stuart Lamont, caravannning industry CEO

Suggestion is rubbish, says chief executive

Industry hits out at free rein claims

AUSTRALIA'S caravanning industry has slammed suggestions it has free rein when it comes to building RVs.

"To suggest the industry has little or no regulation or is self-regulated is rubbish," Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont (pictured) said.

"The system is by no means perfect, however with over 615,000 vehicles registered in Australia it would be impossible to suggest that some problems don't occur, and in these situations we urge industry businesses to make sure they understand and comply with their legal obligations."

There have been frequent calls for a Royal Commission into the industry which is constantly being criticised for the alleged poor quality of some caravans rolling off production lines. Read More button

'We think it's important to give back to our customers'

Bailey owners treated to free weekend at Kinka Beach

Bailey Owners' Group weekend at Kinka Beach

By Dennis Amor

MORE than 70 owners of Bailey caravans enjoyed an all-expenses-paid weekend gathering in Queensland. Bailey Australia footed the entire bill for this year's annual two-day Bailey Australia Owners' Group Rally at Discovery Parks' Coolwaters caravan park, Kinka Beach, Yeppoon. Owners were treated to all meals and a comprehensive programme of activities, including a coach trip to the Capricorn Caves, country pub lunch and drinks, Hawaiian luau party and a trivia night. "We think it's important we give back to our customers, as it's they who have made our brand what it is today," Bailey marketing manager Gina Stanwell told Caravanning News. "Owners get the opportunity to meet other like-minded Bailey owners, enjoy a fun weekend away with a large group and plenty of activities as well as get to the know the Bailey staff." She said the event benefited her company in terms of loyalty and advocacy and provided "important feedback" direct from customers about its products and services. "It also humanises us a company, customers can put faces to names. All Bailey owners are invited, even those who own 'vans they've imported themselves from the UK," Ms Stanwell added. Have your say

Caravan safety checksCaravan safety checks set for Victoria
CARAVANNERS in Victoria will soon be able to have their rigs safety-inspected for free.
The Caravan Trade Industry Association of Victoria and Everything Caravan & Camping have established a joint scheme to provide the service. Association chief executive Rob Lucas said the venture would be based on Caravanning Queensland's highly successful initiative which sees safety days being held at over 10 locations throughout the year. Victoria's first inspections will be held at the Melbourne Leisurefest on October 4 and continue the following day.

Tony Dawson's tiny touring rigTony's tiny tourer turns heads
VICTORIAN grey nomad Tony Dawson's mini-rig turns heads wherever it travels.
"We get attention everywhere," a proud Tony told Caravanning News. Tony, wife Debbie and mini foxy Rosie hit the road in May last year in their three-metre home-built mobile home. The tiny tourer boasts shower and toilet, solar power and tips the scales at a mere 450kg. He towed it with a Hyundai i30 but decided to swap it for an eye-catching kit car built in 2001. Morebutton

Graduation day for future leaders
THE caravan Industry's next generation of leaders has graduated from the first ever Caravan Industry Emerging Leaders program.
The inaugural members reached a milestone by graduating from the Leadership Management Australia – The Performance Edge course, which is part of the program syllabus. Caravan Industry Association of Victoria chief executive Rob Lucas said the program was created by the Caravan Trade and Industries Association of Victoria in conjunction with Caravan Industry Association of Australia. "The leaders program is unique and fosters the next generation of leaders for the caravan industry," he said. Read More button

Bundaberg's old showgroundNew RV park for Queensland's Rum City
QUEENSLAND'S Rum City is to get another RV park.
Bundaberg Regional Council has given the green light for the facility to be built at the city's old showgrounds near the railway station. Up to 50 more fully self-contained recreational vehicles will be accommodated in the city which, which among other things, is famous for its rum production. But only members of the  Caravan and Motorhome Club of Australia will be able to use the park, to be sited in a flood-prone area of the city.  Read More button

Apollo profits 39 percent higher than expected
APOLLO Tourism and Leisure returned an after-tax net profit of $8.6 million on the back of $177 million in revenue during the last financial year.
Its annual results show that this was 39 percent more than forecast. Statutory earnings were 16 percent higher at $15.8 million. The company, spawned in a humble backyard shed in Brisbane in 1985, now has operations in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US. As well as building caravans and motorhomes, Apollo has a fleet of 1700 rental vehicles and motorhomes in Australia and 700 vehicles in New Zealand. It said RV sales were steadily increasing, with "solid demand" in retail outlets and at consumer shows. Plans were in hand for a new 12-acre manufacturing complex to accommodate future growth. Apollo would also continue further expansion through acquisition and merger opportunities "as they arise". The group's next full-year results would benefit from a full 12 months trading by Sydney RV and Kratzmann Caravans, 11 months by CanaDream and 10 months by George Day Caravans, it said. Have your say

Craig de LeonBreakthrough in brake controllers
HARD-WIRED brake controllers may become a thing of the past for caravanners, thanks to a NSW developer's revolutionary invention.
In an Australian first, Craig de Leon has come up with Elecbrakes, a $649 electronic brake controller which eliminates the need for wires and allows users to control their brakes via their smartphones. Unlike traditional electronic brakes, the system is designed to be fitted to the trailer rather than the car. Craig (pictured) told Caravanning News the device took two years to develop and test, including 1000-plus hours trialling the units under a variety of conditions. Read  More button

Caravan builders extend warranties
CARAVAN manufacturers are increasing their warranty periods.
Queensland-based and family-owned Sunland Caravans has added another two years to its cover, giving five year's peace of mind. Company boss Roy Wyss Jnr said it would be retrospective. "So if you have a caravan that is less than five years old you still have warranty until it hits the five-year mark" he explained. New Age caravans in Victoria said it would provide a three-year structural warranty and free 12-months roadside assistance from September 1. Have your say

Smashed up caravansIn the mood for asking what's wrong with caravans
THE long-running argy-bargy between caravanners and truckies has again been highlighted ... but this time to the soothing strains of Grieg's Morning Mood.
The classical piece features as the background music to a new 1min 34sec video showing caravans being smashed to smithereens by huge trucks. Diesel News carried a link to the graphic footage on its website, proclaiming that the trucking industry needed to say what was wrong with caravans. It posed the question: "Why are they regarded with so much negativity by truckies?" More button

Get-together will raise funds for cancer charity
MORE than 80 caravans will be heading for Mudgee in NSW this month for the Retreat caravan owners' national get-together.
Organisers Phil and Lyn Deaves told Caravanning News that 85 caravans had been registered but they hoped the number would swell to a hundred. The charity fundraising event will be held at the Australian Rural Education Centre from September 25. "Every dollar we raise will be going to the Cancer Council of NSW," Phil and Lyn said. "We are very proud to say that Retreat Caravans has come on board as our major sponsor." Have your say

Mackay signMackay makes grab for more RV tourism
QUEENSLAND'S Mackay Regional Council plans to grab a larger slice of the lucrative recreational vehicles tourism market.
It will launch an action plan to slash red tape surrounding caravan parks and camping areas in a bid to attract more caravanners and other travellers into the region. And the local mayor stressed the importance of catering for all travellers, including the emerging low-cost and minimal facility camping sectors. The council has already held meetings with stakeholders, ranging from industry bodies to existing commercial camping and caravan operators. More button

Camplify launches UK operations
AUSTRALIA'S largest peer-to-peer caravan hire company has expanded into the UK.
NSW-based Camplify said it would initially focus on helping RV owners to list their caravans, motorhomes, campervans, trailer tents, static caravans and holiday lodges for hire on its site. Founder Justin Hales believes the UK and European markets are ready for Camplify. Read More button

Fletcher Creek rest area education session

Plenty of food for thought

Cops give grey nomads a good talking-to at rest area

GREY nomads were given a good talking-to by police at a remote rest area in Queensland. But they hadn't done anything wrong ... they were at the Fletcher Creek camping area off the Gregory Developmental Road near Charters Towers to receive some good advice from the cops. The unusual education session dealt with fatigue and the dangers of driving long distances without taking regular breaks. "Many of these road users had travelled long distances all the way from NSW and Victoria," Senior Constable Yvette Starr said. "They made a positive comment that Queensland coppers were the best they had ever come across." The session certainly gave the travellers plenty of food for thought ... and they were even served morning tea by the cops. "The morning was well received with travellers setting up chairs in front of the mobile police facility, waiting for the kettle to boil and for the cake to be cut," Senior Constable Starr said. Have your say

Dimboola park open and ready for business
THE bigger and better Riverside Holiday Park at Dimboola in Victoria is open and ready for visitors following a major state government-backed redevelopment.
Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford has officially declared the rejuvenated holiday park open following a $320,000 grant from the Drought Response Package. The second stage redevelopment of the park – formerly called the Dimboola Caravan Park – was identified as a high priority by the Hindmarsh Shire Council. The redevelopment is part of the council's long-term strategy to install 17 new cabins, providing more accommodation options for travellers between Melbourne and Adelaide and ensuring its long-term viability. Have your say

Tarangau Caravan Park hands $100,000 cheque to RFDSHappy Hour helps raise $100,000 for RFDS
THE humble 'Happy Hour' at a caravan park in remote WA has helped pour a staggering $100,000 into the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Tarangau Caravan Park, tucked behind the dunes at Cable Beach, has been on a charity mission to help the world-renowned "Angels of the Skies" since 2009. "The park and its guests have been long-time supporters of the service," manager Jamie Cole told Caravanning News. And their efforts were marked with a giant cheque being presented recently to RFDS representatives. More button

Caravan club assists council with RV strategy
AUSTRALIA'S biggest caravan club will give a helping hand in formulating a Queensland council's new RV strategy.
The Australian Caravan Club said it was "delighted" to accept an invitation to actively participate in Mackay Regional Council's consultation phase. The invitation was extended to the club during its recent three-branch muster at the Sarina Showgrounds. Chairman Craig Humphrey said his club had already assisted councils and communities in learning how they could benefit from the growing RV market. More button

Adrian and Casey Easdown, Evans HeadEvans Head scoops a double
EVANS Head Holiday Park in NSW took out the top gong at the Richmond Valley Business Awards.
Local business chambers named the popular park Business of the Year. Part of the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Group (NSWCHPT), the Evans Head team also scooped the Hospitality, Tourism and Cultural Events category. Park managers Adrian and Casey Easdown (pictured) were ecstatic. "We were so surprised to have won our category award, but to win Business of the Year was amazing," Casey said. NSWCHPT chief executive Steve Edmonds said the awards to the Evans Head park were a symbol of the "great work" being carried out across the wider group. Have your say

Tenders invited for Miriam Vale RV plan
THREE group are vying for management rights for a planned recreational vehicle stopover facility at Miriam Vale showgrounds in Queensland.
Built Right, Perimeter Maintenance Services, and Darcy and Julie Ward are being asked by Gladstone Regional Council to submit tenders. A council report said the idea of allowing RVs to use the showgrounds had been discussed for years. The plan was to increase tourism in the local area. Mayor Matt Burnett said the idea was to attract travellers off the highway and increase income for local businesses. Have your say

Wedding ringsMarriage vows will be music to nomads' ears
GREY nomads are being invited to renew their marriage vows at the Clarence Valley Country Muster.
Hundreds of caravanners and other travellers will head to the week-long event beginning on October 23 at Ulmarra in New South Wales. And who better to conduct the ceremony than country music star Tania Kernaghan ... she has been a marriage celebrant for about six years. Tania and muster organiser Wendy Gordon came up with the idea after realising just how many couples, particularly grey nomads, attend every year. "The caravan fraternity will love it," Tania said. "There has never been anything like this at a country music festival as far as I know." For more information, click here. Have your say

Artificial grassGrass always greener at Shoalhaven
THE grass is always greener at one caravan park in New South Wales.
Fed up with unsuccessful attempts to keep its busy grassy sites in tip-top condition, Shoalhaven Tourist Park has now turned to synthetic turf ... and it's proving a hit with campers. Manager Daryl Merange said many guests were "raving" about the artificial grass. "It stands up to tent pegs very well and we'll certainly be doing more sites in the future," he said. An added feature was that it clearly defined the site area and kept campers from straying. It also remained green all year, was fire retardant and never needed watering or mowing. Have your say

Peak body welcomes moves to strengthen RV safety standards
AUSTRALIA'S peak caravanning body has welcomed a government announcement that it will introduce a Road Vehicle Standards Bill into parliament before the end of this year.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia said it would mean better identification and a consistent approach to both locally manufactured and imported products. Enforcement provisions surrounding what is already one of the toughest compliance standards globally within the industry will also be improved. More button

Silver Bullet among the vineyards

Airstream offers great grape glamping

Silver Bullet among the vineyards

IT'S not your normal accommodation, but Vivien offers the ultimate glamping experience in Canberra's wine growing district. Vivien is a 2014 Airstream caravan owned from new by business couple Brett & Joann Corcoran. They told Caravanning News there was very little accommodation in Canberra's wine region, home to 140 vineyards. So they hit on the idea of making their 'Silver Bullet' available for short-term rental. "What better way to enjoy the area than in one of these unique caravans," they said. "We have Summerhill Road vineyard on board but ideally need another two to participate. We basically locate, setup, handover, pickup and clean Vivien for each booking." Have your say

New home for Canterbury Caravans
CANTERBURY Caravans has a new home in Victoria.
Its new showroom, service and repair facility in Dorset Road, North Bayswater, is just a stone's throw from its old premises. The third-generation business was founded more than 20 years ago and is Australia's biggest dealer for Paramount Caravans. The award-winning company also handles Golden Eagle, Bailey and On the Move caravans. Have your say

Winton rolls-out wif-fiGrey nomads benefit as Wi-Fi roll-out begins
GREY nomads are already benefiting as the roll-out of an extensive free Wi-Fi system gets underway in the Sunshine State's remote regions.
The new technology covers one-fifth of Queensland and is seen as a booster for visitor numbers and businesses. The proposed Outback Telegraph involves the mayors of seven Central West councils, with the first stage being switched on by Winton Shire Council. The Queensland Government contributed $15,000 to jump-start the pilot in the outback town. Read More button

New towing guide from Roma
ROMA Caravans has produced a new guide to help caravanners become "towing professionals".
The Victorian-based manufacturer says that if you can learn to drive then you can learn to tow. Its guide offers 10 simple steps to become a confident caravan hauler. They include caravan weights and legal towing masses, tow vehicles and their towing capacities, loading, hitching, how to drive when towing and reversing into tight camp sites. Have your say

Jenolan Caravan ParkNew owners for Jenolan
THE multi award-winning caravan park in the heart of Oberon in NSW has new owners.
LDL Tourist Parks has taken over Jenolan Caravan Park after the retirement of Sally and Bob Parrington. The couple said they had "loved every minute" during their five-and-a-half years at the park. It had been "a joy getting to know" their guests and having many of them re-visit the park, whether it was once or several times a year. Rebecca Setter, who has worked there for many years, is staying on to manage the park. Have your say

Protest dumps man in court
A PROTEST over an RV dump point in the far north Queensland town of Mareeba has landed a man in court.
Annoyed over council plans to install a second site for travellers to empty their toilets, he is alleged to have made online threats to the local mayor and council staff. He was remanded in custody accused with stalking and will front court again on October 9. A council spokesman commented: "Some residents are unhappy with the location of the site in James Street and the council is listening to their concerns." It is understood the council has now decided not to go ahead with the second dump point. Have your say

Julia Creek rest areaNo grant to help extend Julia Creek rest area
McKINLAY Shire Council in northern Queensland has been refused funding to double the size of its popular free rest area.
The council said it was "extremely disappointed" to learn that its application for a $3.2 million grant from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Funding has been unsuccessful. It had submitted extensive details of its plan to double the capacity of its thriving Julia Creek RV Friendly site, where travellers in self-contained caravans can stay for free for up to 96 hours. Read More button

Jeff deadly serious over Proserpine rest area idea
QUEENSLAND funeral director Jeff Boyle is backing moves for a driver reviver and RV rest stop to be set up in Proserpine.
He believes the facilities would help tempt more caravanners and other travellers to detour off the nearby Bruce Highway and spend time and money in the Whitsunday town. An internal Whitsunday Regional Council workshop has already discussed plans to establish an RV-friendly location as part of the Proserpine Master Plan. Mr Boyle claimed that because of poor signage, many travellers failed to realise the town of Prosperpine was just off the highway. "No one realises there's a town here,” he told local media. "You don't find out about it while driving down the highway." The nearest RV rest area to Proserpine is 78km away at Collinsville, which has a 72-hour limit. Have your say

Port Hedland campgroundTraveller lands himself with a problem at campground
CARAVANNERS couldn't believe their eyes when an unusual traveller dropped into a WA camping ground ... from the sky!
Chinese pilot Feng Zhai decided to land at Port Hedland Turf Club's low-cost RV overflow site when he discovered the local airport couldn't accept him. Grey nomads claimed he narrowly missed the 25 caravans in what they described as a "crash landing". The Australian Transport Safety Board was investigating the unscheduled landing. Mr Zhai's family is on a two-year road trip around Australia, but he uses his ultra-light aircraft for much of the time. He said his wife had told him about the campground so he decided to take a look. Have your say

Land too valuable for RV overnighting
LAND in the centre of Wodonga in Victoria is far too valuable to be used for overnighting recreational vehicles, it appears.
The local council decided not to allocate an area where RVs could stay after being told it would mean losing over $2.5 million. A report to a recent meeting of councillors warned that an economic benefit assessment had highlighted that the prime CBD land was too valuable to use as an RV overnight park compared with the "superior" economic benefits likely to be generated by a full commercial development. "While it is acknowledged that the RV market is growing, and will potentially continue to grow, this should not compel council to provide free infrastructure and services," it said. "Councils need to be transparent and considered in their decision-making and perhaps look to an innovative market-based response to find the best solution to RV overnight parking." The report listed 13 caravan parks and camping grounds in the area. Meanwhile, councillors decided there should be a review of signage and parking bays for RVs in the city centre. Have your say

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Letter man

Surely there are ways to police
the 48-hour rule

SO the Wyllie Park rest area north of Brisbane has closed for the second time (see story here).

Surely there are ways of policing the 48hr stay.

Many other free camps have a ticketing system that is supervised by a council worker or a volunteer.

Just ask retailers if they benefit from people being able to stop over or not.

I think the positive will outweigh the negative, or is this just another caravan park owner creating havoc again.

Paul Buckner.

Suspicions over stationary 'vans

I WOULD like to comment on the case of a caravan thief being jailed (see story here).

I notice the Sheriff's Office drive around checking number plates.

It makes me wonder how lucrative it would be for someone to visit onsite caravan parks to check ID plates.

Probably difficult to prove ownership and confirm are they legit?

Seems some people have amazing capacity to have flash caravans for stationary purposes!

Alan Stevens.

Criteria for
ranking order

I READ last month's story on Franklin opening a dedicated facility (see story here).

What criteria is used to determine the 'top five manufacturers'  or to set a manufacturers' ranking order?

Robert Hockey.