ALICE SPRINGS SHOWGROUND - BIG INCREASE IN CAMP FEES

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 18:23
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Got a big shock today when went to the office to pay for another week at Blatherskite Park. Because we are currently on site we were not affected, but from the 1st September price for a powered site is $41/night [pensioners $36] - up from $25. Price for unpowered sites also increased accordingly. We understand the local caravan parks had something to do with this!
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Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 19:03

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 19:03
Lynton - Geez, that's pretty savage and a seemingly unwarranted increase. It's certainly way above the inflation rate or any other cost increase, and the increase appears to fall into the "gouging" stunt we talked about on another thread.
I seem to recall we paid around $25 to $30 for most caravan parks between Perth and Darwin last year - and I would be registering a pretty vocal protest to any controlling authority about such a huge leap in charges - particularly if no written justification can be supplied.

Cheers - R.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 07:54

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 07:54
Price increases for businesses have nothing to do with inflation rate, inflation rate is calculated on common household groceries and essentials (basket of goods)...... and is used as a guide.

With our business we have seen an increase on running cost of about 14%.

Most societies who run showgrounds are looking for good profit to provide better services to their members and deal with increased operating costs.

Unfortunately the average Joe Blow doesn't see these extra expenses nor in most cases care about them.

There is a simple way to fix this problem..... pay less per hour for staff and lower the returns on everyone's super and investments..... sure you would approve of that wouldn't you.

Most forget any business is allowed to make a good profit under law and it's you choice if you use them or not...... thats right businesses have to give everything away don't they!

What right have you got to ask for a written justification of why they have increased their prices....... like to see you do that with the fuel companies and supermarkets...... and insurance companies....and.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 11:21

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 11:21
What a lot of crap. Business cost increases are immediately passed onto consumers, thus leading to inflation. From the ABS website:

"The total (CPI) basket is divided into 11 major groups, each representing a specific set of commodities:

Food and non-alcoholic beverages
Alcohol and tobacco
Clothing and footwear
Housing
Furnishings, household equipment and services
Health
Transport
Communication
Recreation and culture
Education
Insurance and financial services."

That's a little more than "common household groceries" and shows how little you know about how the CPI is calculated and inflation is measured.
How often have you seen, "inflation is up this quarter because of a jump in (insert some section of the retail industry) sharp price increases"?

Going from charging $25 to charging $41 is an increase of 64% in one hit, and this amount of increase in one hit cannot be justified under any circumstances, even if there has been a major business input increase along the line.

My workshop landlord endured a 35% in rates over 3 yrs. At the end of that 3 yrs, he outlined to me his huge input cost increases and explained he had to charge a higher rent for my shop. The rent of my shop and my 11 business neighbours went up 5.5%. That was the first rent increase in 8 yrs.

I don't see where you get a 14% increase in business input costs, unless your major business input costs are related to one particular input that has skyrocketed - such as steel.

Wages are only growing at about 3% annually, and wages and associated wage costs, generally make up around 35% of business cost inputs.
Inflation is currently running at 2.6%, so I can't see where you get a 14% business input costs increase - unless you're talking about a 2 year period.

I sure do request reasons for massive price increases, and my insurance company has just been dragged over the coals for our home and contents insurance. The premium went up 37% in one hit on our latest invoice.

I grilled them about the excessive increase and they simply stated they'd incurred quite a substantial, unexpected amount of losses on recent major events such as the QLD floods - thus they needed to recoup those losses. I continued to put the heat on them and they reduced the increase to 33%.

Interestingly, as part of my negotiations, I acquired quotes from 3 other insurance companies - who all claimed "lowest premiums around" - and their premiums were between 112% and 127% higher than my previous years premiums!

This is most certainly a prime example of business price gouging - and I most certainly have a right to an explanation from any business as to why a particular charge has skyrocketed, way above any reasonable expectation, and way above any comparable item price increase.

I've yet to see any major retailer suddenly increase the price for one particular article by 64% in one hit. People would just walk out on them, wholesale.
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Follow Up By: John and Regina M - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 11:28

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 11:28
My local cafe have just put their coffee prices up 50 cents..

Damn gouging bastards. I'm going to be writing to my local member. How dare they! And they have refused to provide a written explanation as well. It must be illegal mustn't it? I know they provide sugar fo free, chairs and tables, napkins, cold water in a glass, background music and a view of the ocean.

But the bastards didn't ask me if they could. They're a bunch of capita pigs.........

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Follow Up By: John and Regina M - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 12:01

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 12:01
Ron N doesn't get it.
Alice Springs answers to Alice Springs. You really think they give a bleep about your figures?
Same as closing free camping areas. The benefits are to the local community.

If you don't like it go kiss a frog.
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 12:04

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 12:04
Ron

I think you highlight an important consideration that is influencing costs – insurance.

Insurance costs are increasing and one of the key reasons for this is the low level of interest rates in Australia, and around the world.

And is across the broad range of insurance products, including home and contents, motor vehicle etc.

Insurance companies charge premiums and part of the premium it receives is invested in short term money market deposits and government bonds, providing an income stream. The combination of premiums charged and interest income earned provides the revenue and capital it needs to meet claims and operating costs.

Claims costs continue at a normal rate, possibly slightly higher over the past couple of years, however interest earned on premiums collected are decreasing, so the premium charged side of the equation is going up, and will continue to do so I suspect.

Call it price gouging if you like, but is it really?

After all there are so many insurance providers around these days that competitive price tension exists, if they are all increasing in price vis. a vis. a year ago perhaps that is telling us that the cost of providing the service is, in fact, actually increasing...

What it also means is that underwriters will most likely tighten the claims process, that is, they will ensure that the terms and conditions of policies are met fully before paying out a claim...

So a note of caution to those overloading vehicles on trips! - read your policy documents as you will most likely find yourself uncovered.

But to Alice Springs, generally many of these types of venues have been subsidising the cost of providing the service, perhaps that is now being removed, but they will be better placed to answer that, I suspect.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 12:12

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 12:12
Landy - I've never seen too many insurance companies go broke yet, they cover themselves very well with re-insurance and their investments.

Low levels of interest rates are not THE single deciding factor in insurance companies investment returns.
Insurance companies invest their funds precisely the same as superannuation funds - in balanced investments that are strung out between cash, bonds, shares, and property and property trusts.

The largest proportion of superannuation funds are doing very nicely, thank you - so there's no reason why insurance companies investment returns should be falling, when superannuation funds are currently doing well with returns.

The over-riding feature I have encountered with insurance companies, is that they continually follow the same pattern.
They offer you an excellent initial premium - and once you've signed up with them, they immediately adopt the "inertia" principle - that you're reluctant to change to another insurer - or to even check other companies premiums, when you receive your renewal notice.

As a result, they commence to gouge you with premium increases that are much higher than they should be.
In marketing terms, you're a "captive customer". You're a fine woolly sheep to be fleeced, and you're not likely to notice being shorn.

As a result of the shock realisation many years ago, of how these companies operate (and I can assure you, back then, I ran a $15M turnover business, and paid out a LOT of money in insurance premiums), I instructed my broker to ensure he thoroughly "shopped around" any time my premiums fell due.
I did not automatically place my insurance renewal with the company I had used the previous year - as many people do - even if they were a great company to deal with.

It's just as easy, as an individual, to "shop around" with insurance quotes from other insurance companies whenever renewal falls due.

Just as we seek to acquire the latest object of our desire at the best price, then it makes equal sense to shop around for the best insurance deal.
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 13:38

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 13:38
Hi Ron...

I'm happy to agree to disagree on a number of the points as the ExplorOz forum probably isn't the place to debate the investment strategies of insurance companies, as much as I would enjoy that!

Besides, I can see we'd bore everyone to tears, for sure...

But it remains a fact that investment returns have declined, and is what I was highlighting as a contributing factor in premiums increasing.

Rest assured, I'm not leaping to the defence of the insurance companies, crikey, I'll leave that to them!

Nor am I that sure that all super funds "are doing nicely"...Like the term "gouging", "doing nicely" is open to wide interpretation...

Being a student of the Global Financial Crisis (I lived in breathed it for months!) of a few years ago I can assure you that many insurers and reinsurers alike found themselves in a lot of financial difficulty, many closing their doors or found themselves amalgamating with others.

I'll leave you to do your own research on this...

And your strategy of shopping your insurance business is a sound one, especially given the price tensions that exist from the large number of providers...

My only caution on that last point is to ask that age old question when something is cheaper than everything else - why?

Good luck out there, Baz - The Landy

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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 19:57

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 19:57
Gday,
Why do you camp at the showgrounds and not the caravan parks?
AnswerID: 517588

Follow Up By: NTVRX - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 21:00

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 21:00
We have just left Heavi-Tree c/van park in Alice. (could not get into temple bar) price was $25.50 (Seniors card) our dog was placed on a good behaviour bond of $20.....refundable when leaving the park(checkout). We visited the showgrounds and were told you must have a connection with horses,have a very big rig & ALL caravan parks must be full with no vacancies....we noticed a couple with a small van setting up so we approached them and asked why they were setting up & what connections if any they had with agriculture in particular horses. They had no affiliation with horses & as their van was a single axle it certainly didn't fit the criteria of a big rig and having come from a near empty caravan park our new found friends certainly didn;t meet that criteria. Some friends of ours visited the showgrounds & were basically told "We accept anyone" there were no restrictions mentioned. We left Heavi-tree because the noise from "people" outside in the street yelling,fighting & police rolling up every half hour during the day & night PLUS there is no security undesirables roam around the park day & night. Most other parks are $38 to $40 plus.....which makes the OLD price for the showgrounds at $25 inviting....but now the increase!!!! Hmmm!! I wonder if Temple Bar will follow suit?
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Follow Up By: Tim - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 21:08

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 21:08
I think I could probably take a fair punt.... Won't win too many friends in this post though.
Tim
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 21:14

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 21:14
Just to clear a couple things up,
Show grounds are run by show/agricultural societies, volunteers and local councils.....not profit businesses.
Therefore when there is a special need, such as horses/cattle......large vehicles......no other "SUITABLE" accommodation.....charity's etc...etc, they make their area available.
They're not there to save the traveller a few bucks and to undercut the local businesses???? If some "new friend has managed to slip into one of those categories, well good on your "new friend"! Don't bugger it up for them because you couldn't save a few bucks!
If they said no you cant stay there, take it on the chin and move on.

Maybe your friends forgot to tell you the rules or slipped through the net and got away with it like your "new friends"........but rules are rules, and in this case, quite reasonable in my eyes.

As for your issues with "the noise"........Id assume its blackfellas???? If you can sort that, good onya.....Ive spent most my life there and have recently left because of that sort of crap, so if you don't like it don't stop there.......but don't bitch about the show grounds!


Ps how did you happen to "visit" the show ground? Odd place to visit with no ag background????
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 22:09

Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 22:09
What are the amenities at the Showgrounds like Lynton? Showgrounds are usually a cheaper alternative for those not fussy about amenities blocks, as well as for those with pets or big rigs that my not get places in local caravan parks. $41 does sound extreme. Just our luck we got to Alice Springs leading up to Show weekend and the grounds were not open to campers, after finding our favourite Temple Bar fully booked as were the other parks in town.

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Follow Up By: Member - Lynton B (QLD) - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 18:26

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 18:26
Hi Motherhen:
Amenities here compare very unfavourably with most caravan parks, except it offers plenty of space for campers: It has fairly good showers and toilets, albeit they are cleaned once a week; it has powered sites, but power boxes may have 6 - 8 outlets; not every powered site has water available, and where water is supplied it is supplied via two taps at a site, and very frequently the two taps provide water to 4 vehicles [dual taps have to be fitted to each outlet]; some shade is present but very rarely for vehicles [trees are located at the perimeter of the show ring]. No fireplaces, BBQs, etc.
However at $25/night one could easily "put up" with the lack of amenities.
With the increase to $40/night, you would have to prefer to stay at a caravan park. However many grey nomads have a limited fortnightly "allowance" and money saved by using a showground at $25/night can be spent at shops or attractions - the latter enriching their experiences in the area. The new fees are considered exhorbitant; and campers will seek alternative sites - but NOT a caravan park here!
Extreme pressure was placed by Government agencies and caravan park operators on the showground managers to increase fees to this level. So there is no question of price gouging by the managers.
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 18:56

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 18:56
Here is an interesting report just completed recently, quite balanced...

I think the issue remains a fair playing field for all, and the big problem that needs to be resolved is that we have increasing numbers of people travelling in self-contained vans, but the infrastructure isn't in place, nor changing quick enough to deal with this change.

A lot of this has to do with legislation...

Caravan Park owners are making substantial investments and commitments to local communities, what changes can be made that are equitable for all?

And I'm all for travelling as cheaply as possible, but it requires sensible debate.

The automatic response is to talk about "price gouging", but is it, or do prices reflect the cost of the investment, and ongoing costs plus a reasonable return?

And hey, I don;t have all the answers, but I do recognise that it is an issue that will only get worse, and requires some well thought out planning by the vested interest groups...

Food for thought, hopefully - not looking for a "dust-up"...

Grey Nomads drive caravan boom, but camp sites decline
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