The future of rest stops in Queensland

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 06, 2014 at 20:07
ThreadID: 106118 Views:3364 Replies:6 FollowUps:10
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Attended a public forum by Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games to develop best practice guidelines for rest stops in Queensland. The following is for information,

The project has conveniently separated camping from rest areas and camping was ruled out of scope for this session. Surprisingly a lot of public representatives were there to express a view about camping. This session was advised that separate project was under way titled Camping Options Toolkit for Councils which was workshopped in Oct 2013 and will release its findings in March this year.
The attendees were keen to discuss the camping issues and it highlighted that it is not simple to separate “resting” and “camping” which the presenter described as a grey area. Interestingly it was stated that rest areas guidelines were in part addressing camping in existing rest areas and trucking rest areas. I expressed concern that these guidelines should NOT result in closure of existing rest areas merely because they longer complied with the new best practice guideline. The response was not particularly encouraging as the presenter suggested that there was no legislative power to do so.

So the focus for this workshop was just rest areas which after a long presentation concluded that, after extensive research by the presenters, we would like a range of things like working toilets, rubbish disposal and shelters. There are also a number of standards regarding engineering, access and signage. There were very good suggestions from the audience but to be honest there was precious little time for comment for a 100 or so attendees.

The bottom line is that rest areas will become a local council/non-profit/commercial problem and there seemed very few funding solutions for rest stops that will include the type of services suggested by this workshop. The one area of leverage may be fatigue management where there is a need for government to provide safe roads for road users. This issue seems to have been picked up by the RACQ. I didn’t leave there thinking that there world of rest stops will dramatically change for the better unless commercial interests in tourism underwrite these changes as they are the main beneficiaries of “doubling tourism by 2020”.

Everyone is encouraged to complete a feedback survey on rest stops.
Rest stop survey

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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Feb 06, 2014 at 23:51

Thursday, Feb 06, 2014 at 23:51
Thanks for the info, Beatit.

Completed the survey, and all the parking areas on Landsborough H'way will soon have free beer, dancing girls and valet parking.............nah, not really!!!

But did add some thoughts on a few of the areas that are good, just that they lack some amenities.Toilets and shelter sheds/tables should be mandatory, I feel. For instance, the only 'loo between Mt Isa and Camooweal is at the World War II site, and heavy vehicles have nowhere to pull over, even if they just want a whizz.


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AnswerID: 525895

Reply By: Member - Peter M (QLD) - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 07:25

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 07:25
Thank you Beatit
I completed the survey.
I'm very concerned that there seems to be a concerted move to close out overnight stop overs for people who do NOT have a fully self contained vehicle. Which is probably about 90% of campers, camper trailers, small mobile homes, caravans and what about mum, dad & the kids travelling in the family car without camping gear.
We were trapped once on the Don River bridge at Bowen by flood waters a couple of years ago and there were a lot of small family groups that were travelling huge distances without camping gear there too.
Like all surveys this one did sem to have been loaded to get the result the researcher wants.
One again thank you for getting the message out
PeteM (Qld)
AnswerID: 525899

Follow Up By: Member - ken m4 - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 09:15

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 09:15
When towing We are self sufficient but do identify with the need for facilities at places that may result in road closures due to Rain or other weather issues for people not prepared. Last year we were in Ravenswood and were informed by a fairly knowledgeable person that the Charters Towers Shire were considering charging a camping fee for people staying at free camps as some of the campers were abusing the privilege of these sites, so any upgrade of services needs to be supported by the travelling public. Like any prepared survey the questions can be targeted for a result.
Survey completed.
Lets hope the rest areas and free, or reasonable fee camping sites are maintained and not spoiled by the irresponsible few.
FollowupID: 807987

Reply By: Member - ken m4 - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 09:25

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 09:25
Forgot to say thank you Beatit for your involvement and information on this subject. We hope that the Shire councils do not use the supposed WH&S concerns to close some of these places. Although impartible to put in place I would not be against a fair charge for any facilities presented at these plaCES
AnswerID: 525905

Follow Up By: Member - ken m4 - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 09:27

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 09:27
Not practicable not impartible
FollowupID: 807988

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 10:45

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 10:45
Okay. Lets throw a spanner in the works!!!

I tried the survey and found it was a real crok. There were three answers for me at the second question about where do you stop.

Which type of roadside rest area would you normally stop at?

Choose one of the following answers
Driver reviver stops YES
I normally don't make a stop
Scenic locations (e.g. lookouts, parks)
Road houses / Service stations YES
Stopping at an undesignated area of your own choosing
Roadside rest areas (designated places to stop) YES

For example on a recent trip home from Sydney I stopped three times. First at the roadhouse at Pheasants Nest for a leak. Then at Marulan for an egg and bacon sanga and then just past the Canberra turn off I stopped was tired and stopped for a drink and a nap. So please anyone tell me which answer should I have ticked. This is a regulay occasion for us when we go to Sydney and back.

After not being able to say where we stop, I find it strange why people could honestly complete that question. By completing the survey you must have neglected all the different reasons we stop. And thus the rest of the survey could very well be a fabrication.

Another example. What about Dogs Grave up in the high country. It has toilets (not a lot of them around - good for Mum and kids) a table (excellent for a cuppa/picnic) and views to write about. So for which reason do people stop there. Okay it's remote and not on a major four lane highway. But it is a rest area where you can park the cars out of the way etc.

Didn't see the one about "Stopping to smell the roses".

AnswerID: 525913

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 11:56

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 11:56
G'day Phil,

Yes the survey was poorly designed and the questions for most needed more than one answer option. Some questions were also not easy to understand what they wanted exactly and there was no final comment provision that might have permitted to express these concerns.

There was a clear message from the attendees that they valued all the usual gear like toilets and bins (both clean and emptied) and that there is no simple one model fits all situations. They acknowledged that different travellers have different needs.

Don't get me wrong I'm not for one moment suggesting they have it right, know what they are doing, will honestly communicate to us or that we'll end up with better and more stops. The synic in me can easily agree with you because there is most likely no desire for the various cash strapped councils to provide these facilities. I suspect they are all betting on commercial interest in such services as they were impressed with those large service centres doing all they feel we want. This however does not address less populated areas so anywhere that is not on highway one!

Kind regards
FollowupID: 808000

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 12:08

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 12:08
Good reply mate. Thanks.

What irritates me is the lack of places one can legally and safely pull over that are not in my 2 hour stop range. We are told to stop and rest every 2 hours. But when you see a sign that says 56Kms to next rest stop and for some ungodly reason your eyes are telling you that you are faitgued NOW, you can't do a bloody thing about it except pull up in the breakdown lane and hope that you don't either get booked or stuffed up from behind (stay on topic here) by someone in the same situation who doesn't see that you are STOPPED..

Why is it!!! aaaggghhhh


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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 14:35

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 14:35

FollowupID: 808020

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 16:27

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 16:27
Sir Humphrey Appleby: [demonstrating how public surveys can reach opposite conclusions] Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do you think there is lack of discipline and vigorous training in our Comprehensive Schools?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do you think young people welcome some structure and leadership in their lives?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do they respond to a challenge?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Might you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?
Bernard Woolley: Er, I might be.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes or no?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Of course, after all you've said you can't say no to that. On the other hand, the surveys can reach opposite conclusions.
[survey two]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Are you unhappy about the growth of armaments?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do you think there's a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do you think it's wrong to force people to take arms against their will?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Would you oppose the reintroduction of conscription?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
[does a double-take]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: There you are, Bernard. The perfectly balanced sample.
FollowupID: 808029

Reply By: pop2jocem - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 12:57

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 12:57
It appears that in Qld the responsibility for administering/maintaining these rest areas lies with the local shires. Yes, no? Here in WA the Main Roads Dept provide the facilities and do the rubbish removal, toilet maintenance and general cleanup as required. The general idea is that only 24 hour resting is the function of these stops. Not long/short term camping.
These rest areas are totally separate from a camp area which are provided and administered by the local shires or DEC. Usually a ranger will give a "move on" order to anyone abusing the purpose. They obviously can't do this 24/7 however.
Is this the general principle in Qld?

AnswerID: 525923

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 14:58

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 14:58

From my experience, Main Roads are responsible for upkeep, replenishing water supply, cleaning etc, though I have seen Longreach council rubbish truck do a run out to empty bins at the more popular rest areas near town.

Further afield it appears main roads collect rubbish as well, as all bins have large clear liner bags, and these are emptied on a regular basis.

What I call the Sandhill rest area, about 25 clicks west of Longreach, has a large bitumen area, suitable for maybe 8-10 road trains, 2 toilets, shelter shed and extra tables, but just to north of this area there are lots of camping spots, in amongst the mulga, and has accommodated over 50 vans. Apparently there's no camping limit.

Was talking to one old fellar, well he was older than me, and they'd been there a week. Used to lock up the van, head into Longreach to do the sights and shopping, and generally just taking it easy. As they were there for a while, took in on themselves to clean the toilets every day, as they were often left in a mess.


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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 at 08:14

Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 at 08:14
The "best practice guide" being developed seems to place the rest stop responsibility mainly on councils. There seemed to be a move away from State govt involvement accept for providing this guide. The one area they cannot escape is fatigue management which is required by law.

One of the reasons for rest stops is fatigue management but the focus was primarily tourism enjoyment which seems to make rest stops somewhat optional rather than mandatory. I believe that the RACQ is trying to elevate the fatigue issue to push it back to the State.

The main roads/transport involvement in rest stops does not seem the same as it used to be and we can only guess why this has changed. One statistic mentioned was that there were 550 rest stops in QLD of which 400 were council enterprises.

Kind regards
FollowupID: 808070

Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 14:28

Friday, Feb 07, 2014 at 14:28
Thank you for attending, and for reporting back to us Beatit :).

If that is the same survey you have linked as the original, I got to the end of it and it required location in Queensland with "nearest town" from a picklist. I was unwilling to say Birdsville LOL. I had described the Main Roads WA 24 hour rest areas with some examples of very good ones well away from the road and serviced with pit toilets, dump point and bins and had to abandon my comments.

I did complain to them that I felt people in other states should also be able to be surveyed, as they were more likely to use rest areas than locals.


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AnswerID: 525927

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 at 07:58

Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 at 07:58
G'day MH,

There was a fellow there that said that WA had a minimum distance for stops of 80K and that it should also be considered in QLD. I like that but don't remember that in WA! I suspect that remote areas can just not do that on a formal basis.

Ah yes the survey seemed to have been cobbled together as an afterthought. It was poorly designed.

Kind regards
FollowupID: 808069

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 at 14:17

Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 at 14:17
Hi Beatit

I can find no reference to minimum distances for highway rest areas but there are gaps further than eighty kilometres on some highways, but these are not without places to pull off in between. Most are probably no more than about twenty kilometres apart in the south west but may be further in the Pilbara and Kimberley.

Looking at 24 hour highway rest areas, they can be at distances greater than eighty kilometres from towns or roadhouses, but at adequate distances for overnight stopping. Some are much closer together.


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