Caravanning News – DECEMBER 2020 edition


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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

DEC 12:
Caravan parks and campgrounds in low-lying areas of NSW’s Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers are bracing themselves for heavy rainfalls through to Monday, with the SES warning of possible flash flooding.

DEC 12:
Partnership between Victoria’s Central Goldfields Shire Council and Dunolly Caravan Park could see a public dump point established at the park for visitors and locals.

 

* Revolting
caravanner caught on camera pouring
sewage down sink at Queensland cafe
.
.. 29,035 people
reached.

*
Caravanner, 44, dies in crash on Queensland’s
Leichardt Highway … 11,805 people reached.

* Douglas Shire
Council in far north Queensland takes to social media to warn
against freedom camping … 9419 people reached.

* Caravan crushed by passing truck on Bruce
Highway at St Lawrence
… 8891 people reached.


* Stolen caravan
found covered under tarps at Cessnock

… 6914 people reached.
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*
Bargain

hunters warned to beware of scam ads offering caravans at
ridiculously low prices

… 5249 people reached.

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MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Struggling
to meet the rising cost of insurance

I READ with
the greatest of interest your story in the last edition of
Caravanning News
about caravan parks struggling to meet
ever-rising insurance costs (see story
here
).

Is it any wonder
they are having to put up their camp fees?

I know many of
us criticise their charges and, in some cases, are having to
resort to free-camping.

We certainly do,
even though we enjoy the benefits of spending time in caravan
parks.

But heading into
the occasional free rest area for a few nights is the only way we
can afford to stay on the road.

And we would
like to remind everyone that our insurance cover for our tow
vehicle and caravan is also soaring to heights never experienced
before.

Looks like the
insurance companies are making a killing out of all of us!

Christopher
Meade.


 


Rod Hennifey 
New logo 
Not enough to cope with demand

Road safety campaigner
Rod
pleads for more rest areas

TRUCKIE
and road safety advocate Rod Hannifey has accused authorities of not
providing enough roadside rest areas to cope with a major surge in use by
caravanners.
“Not only are there not enough of them but far too many
lack suitable shade and facilities,” Mr Hannifey
(pictured)
complains in the trucking
industry’s Owner Driver magazine. Statistics show there are now
more than 741,000 registered RVs in Australia, with many owners
shunning caravan parks in favour of freedom
camping. Mr Hannifey said this had been caused by many factors, including
fewer caravan parks, higher fees in those which have been upgraded and
higher fuel costs for self-sufficient caravanners who spend most of the
year on the road. “This can be very seasonal, with many heading north from
southern states as temperatures drop and then home again as temperatures
increase … putting large demands on already insufficient rest areas,” he
wrote.

Have your say


Caravan park insuranceInquiry told of ‘poor conduct’

Ombudsman
accuses insurers of “killing off” small caravan parks

A GOVERNMENT inquiry has
accused insurance companies of killing off small businesses, including
caravan parks.
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise
Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the inquiry had heard reports of “poor
conduct” by insurers ‒ including very late notice of renewal terms and
price hikes ‒ effectively putting small business in the position of
accepting the terms or being uninsured. NSW’s Caravan and Camping Industry
Association, the Caravan Parks Association of Queensland, the Victorian
Caravan Parks Association and BIG4 Holiday Parks all made submissions to
the inquiry which has now handed down its final report.
It
has been welcomed by Australia’s peak caravan and camping
industry body. Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive
Stuart Lamont said the Ombudsman’s acknowledgment of market failure and
the need to provide certainty to small business operators was “a welcomed
and accurate summary of the current insurance sector” and her
recommendations were a step in the right direction to support the caravan
park industry.
Read more button


‘No option but to cut
corners’


NEWCOMERS TARNISH RV INDUSTRY’S IMAGE

Colin Young

 

Have your say


AUSTRALIA’S booming caravanning industry is suffering problems which are
tarnishing its image and reputation, it is claimed.

“Professional and ethical caravan and camper trailer companies are being
tarred by the same brush used by lesser-respected companies,” Caravan
Council of Australia general manager and qualified
automotive engineer
Colin Young (pictured)
said.

He alleged that some newer and smaller companies entering the industry
were “appreciably handicapped” by being grossly under-resourced in
essential areas such as engineering, legal, finance, management, quality
assurance and marketing.

“As such, they have no option but to cut corners in a futile attempt to
successfully compete with the long-established, well-resourced,
highly-experienced and well-known professional companies,” he claimed.


Hopefully effective immediate action will be
taken to ensure that a new highly-respected image for the
caravan industry in
Australia is created, for the benefit of everyone.”

Mr Young’s comments came after the council
received “many calls and emails” from caravan owners and potential-buyers.

“The vast majority of callers have experienced problems with their
caravans, ranging from annoying minor faults to serious and dangerous
defects,” he said.

The number of complaints against the newer and smaller companies was
significantly disproportionately high
when considering the number of vehicles they sold.

Mr Young said many RV owners
and potential buyers
complained about poor knowledge and unprofessional conduct by some sales
personnel, especially at major caravan shows.

“Often the salesperson cannot, or will not, answer even basic critical
questions and provides statements which at best are ignorant and
misleading … and at worst downright lies,” he said.

“The caravan industry needs to protect itself, by insisting that the
government urgently introduces mandatory, comprehensive and
fully-independent audits and assessments for all RVs manufactured.”



Kui-ad



RV safety check in NSW 
‘Important homes away from home are compliant’

NSW turns
spotlight on RV safety to cater for boom in regional road trips

FREE educational safety
checks have given caravan and camper trailer owners the knowledge and
confidence to hit the road as safely as possible, according to NSW
Regional Transport and Roads Minister Paul Toole.
They were
recently held at Kempsey, Coffs Harbour and
Grafton in response to a rise in regional travel. “With international
travel restrictions still in place, and domestic restrictions only just
lifting, we’ve seen a surge in the number of people wanting to explore all
the wonderful things regional NSW has to offer in a caravan or camper
trailer,” Mr Toole said. “It’s important that these homes away from home
are compliant and can be used right across our state road network safely.”

Read more button



Spirit of TasmaniaApple Isle missing out


High ferry fares taking the spending spirit
out of Xmas tourism in Tassie

TASMANIA’S peak
caravanning industry body is blaming high Spirit of
Tasmania
ferry fares for a shortage of RV tourists on the Apple
Isle.
The news comes as newly released figures for
November reveal it was Australia’s worst performing destination, with
falls of 40 percent on last year. 
Caravanning Tasmania president Bronwyn Wild has now warned that
if something is not done soon, Christmas
caravanning travel will be lost to other states,
resulting in millions of lost dollars for the Tasmanian economy. “With the
aggressive push by other state marketing agencies to attract Victorians,
Tasmania is missing out on the price sensitive market,” she said.

Read more button



Suburban heater



Carbon monoxide fears


ACCC renews warning of potentially
deadly water heaters fitted to RVs

AUSTRALIA’S consumer
watchdog has renewed a warning to caravanners
that they could be using deadly water heaters in their RVs.
More than
18,000 of the heaters has been sold, but only only 210 have been modified
or scheduled for inspection. The Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission said that under certain conditions
some Suburban-branded heaters which can operate on gas or electricity
could become lethal. “They may produce unsafe levels of carbon monoxide
when gas is used to generate the heat,” it said. The affected
heaters were manufactured between April 4, 2018 and August 1,
2019. “Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause death and exposure for a short
amount of time can lead to serious injuries,” the ACCC explained. “Carbon
monoxide has no smell and is unlikely to be detected. It is also highly
flammable and can explode on contact with a spark or flame.”
 Read More button



Proserpine RV park‘The
dumbest thing to do’


Caravanners
fuming after council closes free park for wet season


QUEENSLAND’S Whitsunday Regional Council has come under fire for shutting
its free 48-hour caravan park at Proserpine,
The council banned
camping, saying the RV park adjacent to St Catherine’s Church
in the town’s main street would be temporarily closed for the wet season.
“Once it is over, it will be reopened for the peak RV season to welcome
travellers through Proserpine,” it said. But angry caravanners took to
social media to criticise the decision, particularly as borders are being
reopened as COVID cases fall. “Quite possibly the dumbest thing the
council could do,” Bill Chegwidden fumed on Facebook. “They whinge
that there’s no tourism due to COVID, yet when the borders open, you shut
Proserpine out.” And Ange Nixon commented: “Must have a direct link to
Mother Nature to know when the wet season is starting. What a stupid
decision.” Local resident Sophie Camm said the town had seen “a lot more
people” spending money in Proserpine since the park opened. “While some
accommodation providers might not be on board, it has been a great thing
for some Proserpine businesses,” she said.

Have your say



aspen park‘Nimble
management team’


Turbulent times as Aspen fought to survive
bushfires and COVID

IT
HAS been a topsy-turvy year for lifestyle and holiday park operator Aspen.
“It has been a very turbulent time for all of us,” chairman Clive
Appleton told the chain’s annual general meeting. The financial year had
kicked off well but that was the prelude to
devastating bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic,
which impacted its short-stay tourism business. “On a brighter note, our
management team has navigated the environment tremendously well,” Mr
Appleton said. “Throughout COVID-19 it has been
very nimble, leasing the majority of our traditional short-stay holiday
cabins on a longer-term basis, often to essential workers,
he said. The profitability had held up well due to higher occupancy,
cost-saving initiatives and government subsidies including JobKeeper. The
2020 financial year produced underlying earnings or 6c per share, up 20
percent on the previous year. Operating profit
for the financial year rose 34 percent to A$6.64m.
“Aspen’s stock price has been trading near five-year highs which is
very pleasing considering the challenging environment,” Mr Appleton
added.

Have your say


Caravans on road‘Education
and awareness important’

Caravan industry launches safety initiative
as RV road trips surge

AUSTRALIA’S peak caravanning industry body has launched
a nationwide safety campaign as the tourist industry braces itself for a
surge in domestic road trip camping holidays resulting from the easing of
COVID restrictions.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s
Caravan/RV Road Safety initiative hopes its efforts during November and
December will make things safer for caravanners and other campers. With
more than 741,000 registered RVs, it said education and awareness will be
important in preparing Australians to safely enjoy their holidays. In the
coming months, more than 14 million nights and 3.3 million camping trips
are expected to be taken.



 


 


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Letter man


Defective Jaycos: ‘The law acts in
mysterious ways’

I WAS surprised to read that
the Federal Court has cleared Jayco of acting unconscionably towards
four consumers who purchased defective Jayco caravans (see story
here
)

It was accepted that the company
had
made a false or misleading
representation by saying a consumer was only
entitled to repairs, when in fact their
rights under the Australian Consumer Law
included a refund or replacement.

I followed your link to the
court’s lengthy judgement and must admit I was even more baffled … I
hardly understood a word of it.

The law acts in mysterious ways!

Barrie.


Reasonable

I refer to your story about
the tiny village of Silverton reminding caravanners that free camping was
not allowed there (see story here).

It suggests a stay the local caravan
park, where it costs $10 a night with no power..

This seems very reasonable to me.

Roger Lowry.