Caravan Industry push for free camping to be stopped

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 10:21
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Probably comes as no surprise but appears to be a concentrated push Australia wide to get Local Government to change policies on free camping sites. Have heard on the grapevine that on the committee level around the local Government campfires, that the caravan industry representative's has been pushing that free camping sites and any local run (i.e. shire run campsites) be shut down and that they only be used as overflow if needed at all. To my mind the usual objections spring to mind and i start to get a bit hot under the collar, but that is not what this post is about what i am concerned with is that it appears to be an organised push coming out of the national body and filtering down as a concerted line.
To me it is about the right of any Australian to have choice if you want to travel from caravan park to caravan park then you should be allowed to, just the same freedom of choice for those that do not want to travel like that.
To try and force people to use a service to benefit one person or group just for monetary gain is a bit of a raw prawn. I wonder if this falls into the realm of the consumer watch dog in unconcionable behaviour?
I urge people not to be complacent or you may wake up to a country you do not want to travel and live in.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 10:41

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 10:41
Hopeful local councils consult all their ratepayers before closing any free camping spots. I live in Melbourne but I have stayed a night in Kulin in WA on four occasions in the last three years. Why? Because it is a small country town with a free camping spot right (no power) in the middle of town and next door to a toilet block which also has a shower. It also has a 24 hour fuel outlet, an eatery accross the road, and the people are very friendly. It is obvious that the Kulin council has opened up this free camping spot (was the old rail yards) to encourage visitors to their town and help keep it alive. Good on them and hopefully other councils will see the benefits of the same model.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
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Reply By: Member - John G - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 10:59

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 10:59
G'day Karl

I'd prefer to reserve comment until the "caravan industry" presents their arguments, but it hard to see local councils around the country bending to a lobby group.

Cheers
John
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Reply By: Malcolm 02 - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 11:08

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 11:08
I lived in Exmouth for a short while in the late 70's and the local council had banned the free camping that used to occur along the beaches. The two caravan parks (one council owned) gained trade but the rest of the towns business' suffered (especially the pub) with the drop off in trade at holiday times. They said that their turnover was down to below 1/2 of what it used to be before the free camping was banned.
Have been back there a few times since and its amazing how the place has changed again, but still a great place to visit.

Mal
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Follow Up By: John and Regina M - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 12:01

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 12:01
But the beaches benefits. And it's no problem if campers are FULLY self contained and responsible. Unfortunately not many of them.
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Reply By: Geoff H (Q - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 11:20

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 11:20
What or who makes up the "Caravan Industry". If it's the Caravan Park owners I can understand. I read an article recently about the cost of Caravan Parks, especially along the Coast so I imagine if you have 6 Million to spend on a Caravan Park you will have plenty of say in the right places.

I don't begrudge them their money, however we like to go bush where the prices are cheaper and the locals are friendlier.

I hope that big money doesn't influence doesn't make it's way to the Country Councils who generally provide cheap/free facilities. We tend not to use the free facilities but we are happy to pay a reasonable price for some facilities.

Regards
Geoff
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Reply By: Member - Sanantone - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 11:44

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 11:44
Interesting, but I wouldn't think Caravan manufacturers would like this, as they are nearly all geared up for free camping accessories.

I have never heard of this group, where & who are they.

Does EO have a voice on this?
Tony
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Follow Up By: John and Regina M - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 11:59

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 11:59
Can't c EO having a voice. It's just a forum.
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Follow Up By: LIFE MEMBER-snailbait - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 08:19

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 08:19
The CRVA is trying to get RV manufactures to stop making fully self contained RV that is so they can claim we will make a mess of the town and must be made to be pushed into CP IN NTHQ miners pushed RV out of the CP and to Freedom of choice camping now they want to ban us at freedom of choice camping
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Reply By: allein m - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 12:50

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 12:50
Interesting situation here I live in Broken Hill and they say tourism is down all over because of costs of fuel and other items .

So this will hit the people who can least afford it and the towns that need that tourist dollar will feel the effects


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Follow Up By: Member - mike g2 - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 15:36

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 15:36
hi all, don't forget the input to WA camping law review, recently mentioned in exploroz. also..anyone know who or what the 'national body' is- write/contact to them and check it out ! not an uncommon political ploy to float an idea to check on response from genearlly apathetic public. in the scheme of things these sort of announcements often hidden away on pg 15!

By the way, does EO admin ever go into bat for its membership on any issues or stay neutral to being a forum only?
MG.
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 16:25

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 16:25
The big problem is NOT free camping in out of the way areas but in close proximity to small /ish towns and large towns whose economy relies in part on the tourists / travellers $ ,, free camping 3 or 5 km out of town does very little to help a small towns economy , yes some of you will say that you go into town and spend big $$ on fuel / groceries / pub etc but in reality most don't because you fuel up at large towns using Coles / Woolies discount vouchers that you got stocking up in large towns and your booze came from a Dan Murhpy's before you left the big smoke……..
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Follow Up By: Member - KBAD - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 17:52

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 17:52
As i said in the first post to me it is about choice, neither one or the other is right. I travel with my large dogs (well behaved) most caravan parks don't want me there in the first place, so what does that mean because i choose to travel with my pets i shouldn't be allowed to go to places. We already face restrictions with National parks, and realisticatly with the prices that are charged can people afford to always stay in caravan parks or "holiday parks" as they are to become known in WA.
In my experience there is only so much cash in a persons budget that can be spread around, and it is a fine line to tread or all people will do is holiday overseas as it will be cheaper to do that then travel in our own country.
Perhaps a better model would be to designate areas that self sufficent holidayers can frequent if they choose. Thus minimising the cost of setting it up and allowing "holiday parks" that provide amenities to cater for those that need amenities, or wish to experience that type of stay.
I have no problem with paying a fee for the use of someones land be that a shire or private owner, but occasionally it is nice to camp without the feeling of someones hand in my pocket. My dollar my choice.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 17:55

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 17:55
How does free camping hurt the towns Alloy? Even if not all do, some will refuel, by morning coffee or lunch, shop and sightsee on the way through the town and this is EXTRA custom for them.

I can assure you that most travellers do not have the storage capacity to stock up on perishables to last them to the next Coles/Woolworths, and the fuel certainly won't get them far.

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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 00:01

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 00:01
Dead right Mother. One of the most basic rules of retail is to get people into your shop. If travellers know they're getting something for "nothing" at least a few will return the courtesy.
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Follow Up By: Arthur B1 - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 05:24

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 05:24
Would love to see your research to substantiate the claims you make. In fact there seems to be much creditable research to claim just the opposite. Have a look here for some interesting reading http://www.freechoicecamps.com.au/studiesstats.html
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Follow Up By: Geoff H (Q - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 12:28

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 12:28
Free Camping does hurt, unfortunately we live near one and apart from the smells, noise and rubbish we have to pay rates to maintain the facilities.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 12:52

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 12:52
We just recently had an influx of 65 c/vans c/trailers & motor homes for a concert 'do' that an entertainer wanted to do in our town , ALL free camping , power given from every out door power point , power leads ever where , All monies for entrance to concert to the entertainers , no fees for use of hall or set up , an after concert dinner put on by locals ,,,,,,,, Local pub extra staff put on ,, Local pub extra turnover for the day = $24 ,, Dinner profit = $70 from a $700 outlay ,,,, Council cleanup = 4 staff all the next day ,,, Extra fuel sold by servo = NIL ,, Free Camping ….. WE the rate payers pay so tight a's free campers can improve our economy ?? Yeah right.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:37

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:37
Hi Alloy, I don't know where your are, and I hate to say it, but either the event was planned as not for profit but to gain custom as the first of a series of events (a smart form of advertising), or it was not managed well.

Maybe if the first of an annual event it will progress from there, and lessons will be learnt every year. I come from a town where a big musical event is held annually. That too was a learning process. Sales were plenty from the start. The local servo ran out of fuel, some ATMs ran out of cash on Saturday morning. You couldn't buy eggs for love or money come Sunday breakfast. This annual event is very lucrative for some businesses, and just a nuisance to others.

Astonishing that no extra fuel was sold - but this must be due to your location and very different to ours. Our pubs put on extra staff, and do very nicely. Food outlets do well, and community groups have fundraising food stalls. Volunteers put in a LOT of work before, during and after the event.

An event is a totally different situation than a steady stream of campers year round. What would have happened if your local caravan park had an influx of 65 units for that one off event? Would they have coped?

Mh
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:03

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:03
A BIG difference in location Motherhen , ours is a very small town on the tourist trail in Qld but 125km off the asphalt , 1 pub , 1 shop , 1 Post office , 1 Nurse , 1 Police , easy to see that you actually know not what a small town relies on [in part ] from tourists ,, we don't need you to buy 1 lousy beer at the pub and think your doing us a favour because you FREE camping are not doing a thing for our economy at all.
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Follow Up By: Member - KBAD - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:35

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:35
Alloy we all come from somewhere I lived near Daly Waters for 14 years, I am sure some of you have passed through there, when i was there the largest the permanent population ever ran to was 11 people including kids, no nurse, the post office was the pub, yet we put on the Daly Waters rodeo each year that had little benefit to the progress association that ran it but pulled in over 20 thousand a day for the pub, there was no camping fee's at the grounds.
So there are others out there that fully understand the realities of living in small communities, but the understanding needs to stretch both ways and instead of looking as travellers as a valuable resource that needs to be tapped into instead create a atmosphere that makes people want to come to your town and they will spend there hard earned in your local stores.
One of the most confusing things to me is the need for Governments / Local businesses to create tourist traps, if you have a nice place if it is a friendly community, if there are nice sights and things for people to do then they will actually seek you out, al that is needed then is to cater for their needs. Which maybe as simple as well thought out spaced out camping grounds the ability to holiday with their pets if wanted. It really can be as simple as that.
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Follow Up By: Alan S (WA) - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:43

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:43
I also live in a small comunity that now hosts two big events a year.

And a while ago i also owned a local business that sold similar goods that were sold at the events by community groups. Did i do any better on those weekends, only marginally after you take out the additional costs.

Beside two days a year once averaged out over the whole year dont't make much difference.

We are close to Perth, so there is not much extra fuel sold, and at the event most products that were available in the local town were sold by stall holders or communty groups.

I always saw it as fundraiser for the groups not a business proposition.

On the times where caravan clubs used the local show grounds on a friday night on the way through, they arrived with full tanks of fuel, there were self suffcicient and they left in the morning.
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:47

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:47
In that particular case the out of town organiser hasn't done the right thing in encouraging the campers to patronise (in the good sense) local businesses Alloy. Plenty do. Mind you they shouldn't have needed to be cajoled. Word of mouth brings plenty of unseen business to towns, although with just one shop and a servo you'd need to have some other drawcard to have that happen I guess. Perhaps you shoud erect a sign on each side of town saying Woopwoop welcomes visitors and their wallets. Would raise a smile or two if nothing else.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:16

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:16
That's OK Alloy, I won't buy a beer in your town - I can't stand the stuff LOL.

A small town 125 kilometres of the highway - sounds like a place that I may like to visit. Your town needs something to attract the visitors. Get them "though the door" and your town businesses have potential customers to target with their marketing strategies.

From our eastern states travels in 2009, I was so impressed with small communities in areas doing it tough giving free, donation or low cost camping and their welcoming attitude that I wanted to promote these towns with the message "worth going out of your way to visit". There are mutual benefits, and these towns and communities should be encouraged and rewarded. We may not all be able to spend up big in every town, but by spreading the word, from the campers that come, many will spend a little and it all adds up. It is also a rewarding experience to talk to the locals in these towns, and that really enhances the travelling experience. I work on another forum towards promoting these welcoming towns. Will yours join the list?

Mh
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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:20

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:20
O/T a little, but its the first time I can recall Alloy c/t coming back after posting a stirring statement.

You must really have your knickers in a knot
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Follow Up By: LIFE MEMBER-snailbait - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 08:24

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 08:24
Mother hen you are so correct we as nomads can not carry 6 months fuel are foods
Terry
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Reply By: Member - KBAD - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 18:09

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 18:09
Lifted from the Annual report of The Caravan Industry Association of Western Australia or caravanwa.
Quote

"1. 1) NON -COMPLIANT CAMPING
This is a critical issue facing the caravan park industry not only in W.A. but throughout Australia.
2) LOCAL GOVERNMENT OVERFLOW POLICIES, OVERNIGHT & 48 HOUR CAMPING & REST AREAS
These coupled with the proliferation of non-compliant camping have become a very pressing issue for the indus- try as a whole and the Association is in the process of taking steps to ensure that all State and Local government authorities provide an even playing field for all and take heed of the National competitive neutrality principle when setting up these free or under-priced facilities that compete unfairly with private enterprise that has com- ply with a multitude of regulations, policy directives and laws.
3) PROPOSED REVIEW OF THE RESIDENTIAL PARKS (LONG-STAY TENANTS) ACT
The Association assisted its members with their response to the Department of Commerce's survey / feedback on the proposed amendments and also submitted to the Department its own detailed response to the proposed changes. Following our written response the Committee also met with key representatives of the department to reiterate the industry's stand on the said proposals.
The work of this Committee will be an ongoing one. With ever increasing pressures from different sectors to have more free or non-compliant camping, in its various forms ,in different parts of the State and the never ending changes in legislations, regulations and policies from the different levels of government, the operator of a caravan park has indeed an arduous task.
It is difficult and at times nearly impossible for individual park operator members to deal with these issues by themselves and consequently they look to the Association for leadership in tackling these issues in the best interest of the industry, in a timely and effective manner.
Committees by their very nature are constrained in acting speedily and are at best reactive to the problem. For CIA- WA to proactively advocate on behalf of its members in this fast evolving environment, it is my humble view that there is a real and pressing need for the Association to have a full-time Legislations & Policies Executive in its em- ploy; this is a matter that the Board needs to consider in due course.
This role would involve:
• • Formulating, with the assistance of the Board and Standing Committees, the industry’s agenda on critical matters and carrying forward to all levels of government and other stakeholders in a continuous and effec- tive manner
• • Constantly monitoring and responding on all industry linked regulatory matters so that CIAWA has a real im- pact in shaping the regulatory environment for all of the industry (parks and trades); thereby effectively be- coming the peak industry body
• • Researching the various issues affecting the industry and compiling statistical data towards advancing the Association’s objectives
• • Developing key links with State regulatory bodies so as to influence outcomes affecting the industry
• • Informing and educating members on the various compliance and regulatory issues that clutter this industry "

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Follow Up By: disco driver - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 18:39

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 18:39
There was a full page paid ad in the WA Sunday Times newspaper a couple of weeks ago espousing all of your post and more.
The Caravan Industry Association in WA has a few van manufacturers and a lot of caravan park owners/lessees as members who have an obvious vested interest in getting "free" camping limited or preferably stopped.

I can see their point in restricting free camping within town limits but once a camper/caravaner is away from townsites/civilisation, they should have no say in where one camps.

Disco.
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Follow Up By: LIFE MEMBER-snailbait - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 08:56

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 08:56
now we see the true colour and where Karl is coming from the industry has been trying to get non compliant camping for some years it has now had that fail it has started a new line of being a responsible industry don't you believe it it is not a responsible industry's trying to kill of the small businesses in small towns there has been lots of post over the years about this topic of freedom of choice camping in NSW its has failed all the councils who sided with the CRVA have gone back to freedom of choice camping there is a little problem in the major CBDS by back packers but the problem areas are the beach side placers where the CRVA still have some influence In nsw there is a Crown land white paper asking of what to do and put in legislation but by and large the CRVA has lost face in trying to stop FREEDOM OF CHOICE
PS
Al the facility's that council built in small towns are not for RVS there are built for the towns people of the towns and the RVS CONSUMERS ALSO USE THEM
Terry
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Reply By: Tony H15 - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 18:09

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 18:09
I doubt the caravan industry would have any interest or say in this matter. The Caravan Park Owners Association (Vic) and the Caravan Park Association (SA) have a very definite interest in this subject and do from time to time raise the subject in an effort to stop or at least limit free camping. There are probably other organisations similar to these two in other states and at a guess probably a national organisation as well. Caravan parks cost millions to buy into and with that sort of money invested you would naturally want to maximise your profits, free camping then becomes a competitor and as such a viable target. I think these organisations should be wary of what they wish for though - their wish just may come true and if it does it probably won't bode very well for them: I dislike caravan parks, simply because I would much prefer a view of the ocean or a river, forest or desert to that of a couple of dozen other caravans parked on dusty, grassless, blue metal covered sites only a few metres away. I would not appreciate being herded into an overcrowded, overpriced, glorified parking lot. Were that to become the future, I would prefer to sell my camper and spend the extra $s on a hotel/motel or B&B. I don't think I'm alone in that respect.
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Follow Up By: Member - KBAD - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 18:19

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 18:19
Hi Tony agree with your sentiments, in WA some caravan builders and other associated industries including Comm bank are members of the same body that makes up Caravanwa, whether they have much input I do not know. Whether that is the same across the country i do not know either.
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Reply By: Tony H15 - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 19:30

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 19:30
The Caravan park organisation states Local government authorities should endeavour to provide an even playing field for all when setting up free or under-priced facilities. This may be so but it is also so that many would prefer to stay in under priced camps with limited facilities for a variety of reasons, budgetary constraints being chief amongst them. Isn’t it also fair that Local Government authorities should also heed the voice of these people as well. Are they any less entitled than caravan park owners. Unfortunately, caravan parks are big dollar businesses and hold considerable sway over local government authorities, in the end big money will no doubt win out. And, like I said in my previous post: caravan parks will more than likely also suffer as a result of their greed induced thinking - at least one can hope! At a time when there are more and more people heading off on the big trip, local authorities need to realize their towns are the winners: these travellers need to restock: food, petrol, diesel, oil, spares, hardware, tools, and then of course there are repairs, lunches, dinners, coffee, etc. the need is no less had they simply stayed at home, indeed they are probably spending more that they would had they simply stayed at home - certainly on fuel at the least. If these travellers don't dine, repair and replenish their supplies in a town close to their 'free camp' odds are they will at another town close to a 'free camp'. Everyone gains from the traveller, why put measures in place that will ultimately have a negative effect..
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Follow Up By: Arthur B1 - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 05:19

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 05:19
Totally agree. This debate is raging all over the internet, forums, social media and in the press. One would think that smart business people would wake up and realise what damage they are doing to their industry by constantly attacking the very people who are their potential customers. I see on Facebook that Caravanning Qld banned the CMCA from having a stand at the Qld Caravan and Camping Show, what a stupid move that was. What did they hope to achieve by doing that.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 21:49

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 21:49
It is akin to the local café objecting to the grocery store in town. After all, those people shopping for ingredients for their meals could dine at the café every night.

There are two different markets. Those who choose and use fully serviced powered sites, and those who have invested up front in an independent rig so they can have the freedom they want. The latter may sometimes be the caravan park’s customers, but only when they choose. Any pressure and that CP has lost them and their ilk forever. These travellers also prefer to spread their spending amongst a variety of businesses in town, not just the one.

I cannot think of any other industry that thinks it has the right to gets its customers by legislation not by good business practices like the rest of us have to do.

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Follow Up By: Tony H15 - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 23:28

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 at 23:28
Dead on motherhen - particularly the last paragraph.
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 00:14

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 00:14
There may be an argument wrt FREE camping provided within a town precinct but the level playing field argument can easily shot down by councils - provide absolutely minimal facilities (toilets, water, space), charge a small fee, and let consumers make a choice like they do in every form of accommodation.
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Follow Up By: Alan S (WA) - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:34

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:34
Motherhen

There are numerous business that get its customers or maintain market share through legislation or regulation.
The Liquor industry is a prime example where the restriction of liquor licences protect established players. Industries that also come to mind are Taxi's - through legistaion, and licence plates, medical through providor numbers. Quite often councils through their planning regulations set use requirements on areas in order to restrict activities such as brothels, (couldn't resist throwing that one in), petrol stations etc.

In the case of Pubs/Hotels etc especially in small towns if the prices are too high you either don't go there or put up with the cost. We dont hear people asking councils to start a free hotel.

And to expect a council to create a free camping area in competition to a caravan park in the town just because it may bring some people in to town and spend money is like asking the publican to allow you drink on his premises drinks that you have bought elsewhere because you will spend money in the chemist.

There maybe only a few people wanting free accommodation and a number happy to pay the caravan park rates, but once something is provided free there will be transfer of consumers to that free service, at the detriment of the Caravan Parks.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:19

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:19
Hi Alan

Australians have been going camping for generations. Caravan parks have spring up in recent decades. They will not bully us to be their customers. Australians have the right to choose, and long may our nation be free.

There are many examples of changes to industry (such as the loss of a sheep industry and high employment flow on businesses including wool scours). Now cattle are run on the stations and mechanisation would have reduced the employment prospects of many flow on industries anyway. There are virtual ghost towns with old shops boarded up, or there are thriving tourism communities with low cost camping and tourism features luring visitors - it is up to community which way they go. The caravan park can do quite too well as the town becomes a tourist destination and travellers with different needs and choices come. No caravan parks in the ghost towns.

Your examples are looking at direct competition; eg only room for one taxi service in town not two. The free camp and the caravan park are akin to a grocery store and a café in the same town - different customers, although some of the grocery store customers may dine at the café occasionally.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Alan S (WA) - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:06

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:06
Motherhen,

My examples are just examples of businesses that gets and keeps it customers by legislation or regulation. In regard to Taxi's there is legilation that stops low cost operators providing a paid transport service.

Your example of the Grocery store and the cafe (pub, dinner or some other business selling prepared food) could actually be relevant to this whole situation. Yes as you say different customers, but some grocery store customers may dine out at the cafe occassionally.

But what if in a small town there is a small pub/cafe that sells meals, but no grocery store. People will frequent it, t may be reasonable priced and serves the local community well.

But then along comes a grocery store and all of a sudden people can buy the ingredients instead of the whole meal. Customers will migrate accross to the lower cost option. Now that same Pub/Diner etc attracts a number of tourist in its own right on weekends, and while there people buy fuel etc from other businesses.

But now the local trade that under pins the Cafe's business on the other 5 days a week has been effected, service drops off and tourist stop coming and the remaining business in town now loose out.

All totally hypothetical, and the grocery store owners do well, and the community benefits from cheaper food. but if you replace the grocery store with a free camp that in its own right produces nothing and that takes from one a local business there has to be significant input from the tourists to balance out the effect on the local economy.

As mentioned elsewhere it is totally different where there is no caravan park at all and therefore anything that brings in people is positive, but where existing facilities exist it is a different story.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:28

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:28
Hi Alan

Those those without a stove will continue to dine at the café. Those who need the full services of a serviced caravan park and powered sites will continue to stop at the caravan park.

Those who cannot afford to dine at the café all the time will shop in the next town for all their other shopping needs while they are there, or leave town. Those who are looking for a low cost unserviced place to camp will likewise go on to the next town. Much trade is lost to you town.

I can give a first hand example, but would rather not put this on the internet.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Alan S (WA) - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 18:09

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 18:09
And then there are those that are happy to and can afford to and don't mind to dine at the Cafe', but when there is some where cheaper they will go some where cheaper.

A lot of people dont mind paying for facilities that they may not use, comfort factor maybe, at a caravan park, but if there is somewhere free of cheaper they will use that.

We all naturally try to save a dollar, and by having Free (or cheap) camping option available it will certainly bring additional people in, but it will also transfer exisiting visitors to a lower cost option. Then a business that pays rates, employees locals suffers.

How many will seek the lower cost, will the addiditonal visitors offset the leakage from the Caravan Park who knows.

Why is it with this subject that it is only the accomodation cost that is used as the draw card, what about if the local council subsidised fuel or groceries , then visitors could pay full camping fees and still get a benefit.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 18:34

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 18:34
"Why is it with this subject that it is only the accommodation cost that is used as the draw card, what about if the local council subsidised fuel or groceries , then visitors could pay full camping fees and still get a benefit."

Because we have always been able to "camp" in Australia Alan. We have never had below cost fuel or groceries.

However what you are saying can be changed a little - charge $10 for the camping which purchases a voucher that can be remitted in any store in the town. Who will go into a shop and spend only $10? It guarantees that the people pay for the unserviced camping, or patronise the businesses.

Some hotels which offer "free camping" in their back yards, which I call "customer parking", work on a voucher system just for their own business.

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Follow Up By: Alan S (WA) - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 19:53

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 19:53
Yes we have been able to camp, but I thought we were referring to accommodation in or near towns.
But yes, my suggestion could be changed to what you suggested. There are probably other modifications that could be done as well. The idea being instead of say one business suffering and others supposing gaining, being able to get the benefit of tourism to all. If you pay for accommodation then spend more money you get something back. It also spreads the costs or profit a cross the whole community if structure right.
Alan
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Follow Up By: Member - G.T. - Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 16:42

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 16:42
Then when a C/Park owner gets you into their establishment, they set a rule so as to get you to use their laundry. Eg the Top Tourist Park at Anglesea says that `the use of individual washing machines is not permitted, we have a laundry and clothes lines for your convenience. In other words they insist that you pay to use their facilities. No one did though! Just another grab for your money!!
Regards G.T.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 16:49

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 16:49
Hi G.T.

Without any knowledge of the reasons or situation at Angelsea, some caravan parks who have this requirement have a sullage system in the park which is inadequate for the volume of water from washing machines.

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Follow Up By: Ozrover - Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 17:13

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 17:13
I just get them to run their grey water onto the grass...

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 17:18

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 17:18
Works well in much of Australia Ozrover :). The greenest parks we have been to do the same, and most of the caravan parks we have been to do not have sullage pits at the sites.

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Follow Up By: Member - G.T. - Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 17:27

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 17:27
My site plus all other sites that I saw had sullage points.
The volume of water from my washing machine would be not be much different than the machine that they provided. If a park cannot provide adequate sullage and insist that their facilities be used, should not be allowed to operate in my opinion. I regarded that their position re the use of my machine was a money motivated one, they could have qualified their statement if was for other reasons. Regards G.T.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 20:43

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 20:43
Hi G.T. as you say, their park, their rules, but it was poor customer relations skills on their part not to explain why.

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Reply By: Les PK Ranger - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 00:54

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 00:54
Don't worry, councils will lap this up if they can !!
Under the guise of 'creating a level playing field', they'll love the extra revenue if they can start charging a comparative fee for camping.

Nat Parks & Wildlife / GOVCO around the country are getting in on it too !!
Pressure from local town cara parks mainly.
Especially the recent swath of huge increases in Victoria for camping in all nat parks.
GOVCO have seen an opportunity here to increase revenue across the board.

Even when backpacking and rough camping in the wilderness of the Alpine NP, they still want near $20 a night camping fees (previously free camping).
I can state no walker I have met agrees with this, no facilities etc, but most would pay an small annual fee to access parks.

Nat parks areas with facilities fair enough, but doubling of many fees for popular places recently puts camping in those places off the agenda for many lower income families.

I rarely stay in a cara pk, generally spasmodically for the facilities every 4 or 5 days if touring a while.
I don't generally want to camp in or near a town either.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 10:15

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 10:15
In Victoria they are hitting the campers with high fees to subsidise the day visitors, who still get all the same facilities free because entry to the parks are still free. While the double whammy of daily entry fees plus camping fees in New South Wales parks which have entry fees make camping expensive, it is still spreading the cost.

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Follow Up By: Turbo 1 - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:05

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:05
What a bunch of sooks some Victorians are turning out to be. In every other state a fee is charged in parks etc. and mostly in honesty boxes.
I know myself when I've camped in Victoria i'm staggered that it's free.
I read the fee structure and it looked like a basic spot will be $13 and goes upwards depending on facilities. Pay up, it's not that much and stop whining that's it's not free anymore.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:44

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:44
"In every other state a fee is charged in parks". Not correct Turbo.

National Parks in the Northern Territory are entry fee free and camping fees very low. The only exceptions are the two federally run parks of Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu.

With a few exceptions, entry to National Parks in Queensland is free, and camping fees reasonable. In New South Wales and Western Australia, entry fees (daily in NSW and once only in WA) are payable in a selection of parks, but the majority remain entry free, however it is the popular ones that have the fees.

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Follow Up By: Turbo 1 - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:53

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:53
les pk above is whinging about camping fees, this is what i'm referring to.
As he states where it was once free now we have to pay, fair enough I say, and there would be few to complain.
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:28

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:28
Turbo, you can call it whinging if you like, but one day you'll wake up and realise that wherever you wish to travel, wherever you wish to camp, you'll be paying something for the privilege, even if there's nil in the way of facilities.

I'm talking bush camping in Vic, real bush camping, no roads even.
Vic parks wants bushwalkers to pay $13 PER NIGHT for camping (for example) on the Aust Alps Walking Track, in pure wilderness, no facilities whatsoever.

I don't know about you, but I feel reasonable Aussies would expect GOVCO is going too far.
This is a huge country, and since the year dot, we can go find a river, beach, bit of bush, and just camp, enjoy the surroundings, and enjoy a peaceful weekend without having imposts of paying for the most basic camping.

No, I don't consider that's a whinge, but if you want to whinge about what you call whinging, feel free.

As mentioned below (817237) if there are good services / amenities, yes it's reasonable to pay for these.
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Follow Up By: Turbo 1 - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 19:47

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 19:47
c'mon mate, I can't believe you would have a problem with a group of up to 6 only having to pay $13 per night camping, that's $ 2.16 per night per camper for six of you.
Suck it up because their is an even bigger lobby out there who like everywhere closed.
Just accept you can't have free camping forever.
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 20:00

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 20:00
Sorry Turbo, there're many solo walkers out there, those in pairs etc . . . such fees are a real impost in such circumstances.
I'd have no probs paying $80 / $100 a year or similar to access all of our National Parks for walking, but that's not what they're doing.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions on this (and other such topics that seem to have such passionate interaction) and I'm sure a lot here feel the same about too many fees to go bush, and others feel camping should be made less accessible to those that don't have a money tree out in the backyard.

As you should have noticed, not talking about towns, or outskirts here, or even places with toilets, water, etc.
I do believe in user pays, but we all own our bush.

If things keep going and we suck it up as they dish it out, one day we'll find things are so draconian that only a Eureka Stockade sort of event will reverse such things that are brought in on us so gradually.
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Reply By: The Landy - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 09:00

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 09:00
An emotive topic and one in which many of the facts and even the basis of the argument can be lost in the heat of the discussion.

So to be clear, I refer to “free camping” as in close proximity to local communities; not in the wild blue yonder where many of us are happy to pull up under a tree, or by a billabong, with not another soul (or caravan park) in sight on the horizon and beyond!

This is an issue that will continue to fester until all parties can come to a reasonable position that looks at the issue with a very long term lens, and I’ll repeat that – with a long term lens!

Currently the vested interests are poles apart and concessions will need to be given by all parties before any progress will be made.

It is all too easy to view this issue through one’s own wallet, but that is short-sighted and will lead to outcomes that may not be best or even viable in the long term. Importantly, we need to be careful of what we wish for.

I have expanded my thoughts in a blog I wrote quite some time ago and for those with an interest it can be viewed in the blogs section. Noting, that I also want to travel this great country of ours as cheaply as possible, but I also want to ensure a vibrant tourism industry that caters for all, and not just one section of the travelling and holidaying public in future years.

I highlight and put out there for consideration what I see as an important long-term implication that can easily be overlooked in this debate.

Private sector investment in short-term accommodation for the travelling public is already in a severe decline, we are already seeing this through the closure of caravan parks and also is one of the reasons many are not investing in upgrades to current facilities. Let’s face it, if the local government is going to compete with you and subsidise the real cost of providing the service via “free camping” why would you invest more money in the facilities you provide? Noting this could be either a local caravan park, or motel for that matter…

A high Australia dollar is already seeing many tourism enterprises cutting future investment due to reduced inbound tourists’ to Australia and more Australian’s are taking advantage of this by travelling overseas.

There is no doubt the issue is a hot one in need of a fix and I readily acknowledge the caravan park model needs to change and adjust. However this will only occur in the private sector and only if it is profitable to do so, which means recognising the total cost of providing a service.

Government subsidies are not the answer, and it is arguable that “free camping” is just that, a subsidy. There is also the issue of ‘Price Neutrality’ that needs to be taken into account, which in a nutshell requires (by law) that the commercial activities of councils are charged at a competitive rate, rather than a reduced priced based on subsidies and rate-payers money.

But here is the crunch for me…

Government subsidies generally lead to a fall-off in private sector investment; is very inefficient from a cost point of view and means that we become more reliant on the government to provide the facilities and infrastructure we will need in the future. Not next week, or next year, but in 10-years’ time.

One only need look at the track record of all levels of government, Local, State and Federal, on infrastructure investment in Australia to see that the travelling public will be the loser in the long-run if we continue to stifle private sector investment.

In many instances State and Local Government authorities can’t even provide basic health care facilities for its residents due to a lack of funding on infrastructure investment. So how much do you think they might be willing to spend on tourism infrastructure over the long-term?

You only need to stay at one of the “free camps” listed in the popular Camps Australia book to form the view they are coming under increasing pressure from numbers, with the inevitable result of becoming unkempt and dirty – which highlights the old adage that give someone something for free and they won’t value it...

It isn’t sustainable.

Local government authorities are already taking action to restrict access in many instances. After all, if there is little or no return, but a cost to keeping it clean and tidy to a standard demanded by most, bearing in mind there are health implications that demand they do something, the easiest way to fix it is to close it…

And yes, in some communities, but not all, there may be a pay-off for local businesses or the council to providing some form of low cost camping – but for the most part the benefit is not transparent or quantifiable.

Of course, most who frequent this website are responsible campers – tragically that cannot always be said for the general population.

So we could end up with a situation in the future that “paying” alternatives are not available due to declining private sector investment and councils and local government authorities restricting access to free camping

Where will that leave us?

There is little doubt the caravan park model needs to change, but be careful of demanding government subsidies to achieve it; one only needs to look at the most recent Federal Budget to realise that funding and subsidies can be erased at one stroke of the pen!
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Follow Up By: Alan S (WA) - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 10:38

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 10:38
I think you could also further differentiate your definition of Free Camping in to those communities where there is exisiting Caravan Park or similar against those communities where there is no paid accomodation.

In the later case anything the local council does to attract visitors is usually a positive, as it usually doesn't directly imapct any existing business.

In communities where there is exisiting facilties, not only has there been significant capital investment, and in a lot of cases that investment has been with in the local community, i.e tradesman etc. They also pay significant contribution to the community through rates and often provide employment to local people.

Once a council provides a low cost or free service to compete there is a impact on the local community to some degree.
How this is offset by trade as you have mentioned is very hard to quantify.

Maybe a solution is to consider a loyalty point type system, where every dollar you spend in a town provides you with points, and these are redeemed by council to cover your cost in paid accommodation. This way the cost or benefit is spread across the entire community.
It also provides a real measure of exactly how much money is brought into the community.

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Follow Up By: Ozrover - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 11:14

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 11:14
Landy,

Well put, as one of the Caravan Park operators that are trying to provide a service to the travelling public as well as making a dollar, it is extremely frustrating to have empty sites & then to hear people complain about there being no free camps nearby.

We also get the occasional traveler that comes in after dark, uses all of the Parks facilities, disrupting paying customers, then disappears in the morning before the office opens "forgetting" to pay their fees.

With the increase of fully self contained vans, motorhomes etc. there are less people visiting Caravan Parks, quite a lot of Parks are increasing their number of Cabins in the parks to the point where I have seen Parks where there where as few as six sites for Caravans.

I don't personally want to see any free camps shut down, but there must be a balance between the proximity of free camping near to a town that has established Caravan Parks.

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:10

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:10
They are different markets. While we go to caravan parks sometimes, preferably in small rural towns, we are caravanners so we can get away from it all. At home out nearest neighbour is out of earshot. We don't go on holidays to be packed in with twenty neighbours within easy hearing distance.

While it would have been cheaper for us to go to motels than to buy our caravan and tow vehicle, we did not want to stay in towns all the time when touring. Motels would give us far more privacy, and better amenities, than a caravan park, and cheaper in the long run.

But we purchased a caravan; not to spend our time in caravan parks, but to get out and enjoy the bush, the outback, the wildlife, the environment, the views, and the bright stars at night.

Also remember, apart from coastal holiday destinations where there were caravan parks, Australians went camping for generations. With the advent of people wanting the luxuries of home, serviced caravan parks with powered sites sprung up. They are the "new kid on the block". Suddenly they want us all.

But markets change; caravans are built to be independent and people invest big money in these for their own reasons. Getting away from the sardine can environment is one of the commonest reasons.

Nobody protected drive in theatres when home media came in, and there are so many more examples of changes in the commercial world. CPs have to stop grumbling, meet the modern market somehow, or walk away.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:30

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:30
Motherhen , just because you spend $$$$$ on a van and tow vehicle please explain how that "entitles" any one to park and camp for FREE ,

self contained ?? yeah of course you are , some one else is paying for your sewage disposal unit , your rubbish bin at the 'free' camp or the dump , your water that you fill up from a 'convenient' tap ….. and no point in saying you pay rates where you live covers it ,, it does not..
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Follow Up By: Ozrover - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:47

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:47
MH,

So what is the problem? No one is denying your right to get out in the bush & go camping.

"new kid on the block". Really? this particular park has been operating since the early 70s.

What my particular problem is, is that rather than pay $20, $30 or $40 a night in one of the towns Caravan Parks, people would prefer to set up camp in a block of vacant land (10 the other night) where there are no facilities, no security. Then they leave, leaving a mess behind.

These are the ones causing problems, not the people who want to go bush camping, or decide to camp in a layby on the highway!

Caravan parks are meeting the "modern market" they are reducing the number of van sites & putting in Cabins. When there are No caravan Parks left, only Cabin parks, where will the Caravaners stay when they need to stop in a town to stock up on water, do their washing & so on?

I think you lot should "stop grumbling" & not expect everything for nothing!
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:18

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:18
Thousands of caravanners are going touring with the ability to stop overnight cleaner than generations before who went camping. This wave will not stop. The use of a public toilet or a dump point is much the same for day travellers and caravanners. The use of water and rubbish disposal is similar. Will YOU pay to use the toilets, the bins, or the park water fountain, the street or council car park every time you visit another town Alloy?

The 1970's is recent times in the history of Australia - thank you for pinning the date Ozrover.

Those that leave mess are deplorable, as are the many day visitors who leave rubbish around the bins and worse behind the bushes in roadside rest areas. There seems no easy answer to this litter problem as there is always a minority who do not care.

So some CPs are meeting the modern market and continuing to take a living - I wish them success. Caravan parks are not a charity, and not in business to 'rip off' customers as they are so often accused on forums by those who have no idea about the costs they are up for. I fire up on those accusations too. If there are no caravan places left, there was insufficient market to be met and that is progress.

The greater threat to the continuing availability of caravan parks is those in prime coastal areas who are sitting on a land value greater than what they can make from running a caravan park. Sell the land to a residential developer and retire sounds good. This loss of caravan parks has nothing to do with supply and demand but is a commercial decision.

Mh
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:49

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:49
Mother Hen


As you know, we are not poles apart in our thinking.

Importantly, you currently have a choice of both worlds, to get out into the bush, far away from everyone (and caravan parks) or to stay in a caravan park.

The issue that I keep highlighting is in time, you may not have the choice of a caravan park, or “free camping” close to a town or city, because neither may exist.

A key point that is lost in the debate of the provision of “free camping” by local government in close proximity to caravan parks is that in many cases they operate outside the bounds of the regulations that caravan parks are required to comply with, whilst at the same time levying rates on the caravan park.

There is something very wrong with that notion; impose regulations that cost money to comply with, collect rates from caravan park owners, and then go into competition against those very ratepayers at a reduced rate.

Whilst I would consider myself a “free market” advocate and that over time caravan parks will need to either change and adjust the product they offer and this is already happening with more cabin accommodation, or market forces will potentially squeeze them out of business.

Taking an objective viewpoint it is actually the self-contained RV travellers, a group which is growing at a rate well beyond the ability of current accommodation providers or local governments are able to deal with, that is at the greatest risk.

And here is why…

The ability to camp in outback areas, well away from civilisation, will always exist in some form or another, but it is the self-contained RV Group that may very well run out of options on where to stay in the small to medium sized towns, or towns along our coastal fringe.

There is plenty of opposition from many who are against their rates subsiding the travel of a select few. And whilst there are many self-contained RV travellers out there, it is still a minority group in the bigger scheme of both the travelling public, and the public at large.

I keep hammering away at it; and I’ll say it again, don’t rely on subsidies from local councils or other government agencies for the provision of low cost or free camping infrastructure, changing community attitudes and other infrastructure spending priorities may see the self-contained RV group left high and dry.

Be careful of what you wish for as the big risk is you will get it – and that will be to the detriment of the self-contained RV traveller as much as anyone else, perhaps more so!
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:34

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:34
The reason SOME people free camp most of the time and a lot of people free camp some of the time is precisely because (some) parks are not meeting their needs - prices, animal restrictions etc. There are certainly strong arguments for businesses to want a level playing field should a council be thinking about establishing a cheap/free facility "in cpmpetition" but that falls away rapidly where the facility already exists or is not comparable.

I find the infrastructure/subsidisation argument quite hollow in general. Bigger councils and governments everywhere sponsor FAR more expensive things for particular interest groups, and the bigger those groups the bigger the welcome mat seems to be. The justification is generally that they are encouraging and enabling business, which is quite often correct. Clearly "remote" road travellers are not considered important enough for the same subsidisation at the moment. The attitude is they'll come anyway.

The problem with allowing business to essentially dictate can be seen in tourism. An area or activity is popular so government provides facilities, then private enterprise sees an opportunity, fees rise, and in doing so shut out some users. The worst examples are when exclusivity is given - often for the right reason (managing access, reducing the 'love to death' opportunity, controlling waste etc) but without provision for at least some control over prices.

There's a balance to be struck there somewhere.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:32

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:32
Hi The Landy

Why would anyone who needs power, toilet and shower choose a free camp over an unserviced campground or 24-72 hour parking area?

Why would someone who has purchased their own solar power plant, toilet and shower want to pay for all these services in a caravan park?

They are two different market with some crossovers each way.

Some communities successfully "advertise" by providing camping - and far more effective for them than any other media for advertising. This is a business choice of a town.

While my personal choice may be to get out into the bush far from towns, I stand up for freedom to choose for all. I also stand up for small rural towns, particularly those who know hard times from climate change or economic shifts, and look for a good outcome for those towns, their businesses and their communities.

With the value of land in larger towns I do not expect to find free camps in these towns, nor expect them to value the tourist dollars which are a drop in the ocean compared to the spending of their large populations.

Mh
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:34

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:34
Motherhen

I'm hearing your points...

However, as more caravan parks close, are you that confident that local government authorities or other government agencies will fill the void through the provision of infrastructure in the long term, or continue to make “free camping” not only accessible, but make more available?

I'm not, and choice for all will be gone, and choice is something you favour.

I’m sure you are not advocating that outcome, but it could be a by-product of the impasse as it currently stands as the RV industry simply calls for the caravan park industry to either swim or sink, and the caravan park industry looks to regulation for protection.

If the self-contained RV industry continues to grow at the current rate we’ll fast run out of “free camping” areas, I have no doubt on that point and if more caravan parks sink then swim, who stands to lose the most? Those who want choice…

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but what I recognise is this will spiral out of control eventually to a point where the outcomes are less likely to be what most would hope for and we’ll be reliant on elected officials to find a solution – heaven forbid, and God save us!
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 18:41

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 18:41
Sorry Ozrover, I neglected to comment on
"We also get the occasional traveler that comes in after dark, uses all of the Parks facilities, disrupting paying customers, then disappears in the morning before the office opens "forgetting" to pay their fees."


This sort of calculated theft is akin to those who shoplift, and from working in a grocery store I was surprised to learnt how prevalent this was. In our store it was usually only small items, but they all added up and our profits took a hit.

Likewise to those who do not contribute the honesty box at the campground.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 21:56

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 21:56
Hi The Landy

This sentence in my post a few up the line got scrambled and came out wrong - sorry.

"Why would anyone who needs power, toilet and shower choose a free camp over an unserviced campground or 24-72 hour parking area?"

should have read

"Why would anyone who needs power, toilet and shower choose a free unserviced campground or 24-72 hour parking area over a powered and serviced caravan park site?"

Caravan parks are closing for two reasons

1. The ones I have heard of closed because their land was too valuable to want to continue - a business decision. These will be in areas where people take family holidays at the coast, and will rarely affect the tourer. Some are turning to accommodation units which is the same end result as selling to a developer, but they remain in business though a slightly different business.

2. If caravan parks are closing because they aren't viable, and many with low trade in small towns or those with seasonal trade only, must be running on a shoestring, we will see changes. That is the power of our free enterprise society that we all run our businesses in. Likewise when there is sufficient demand to make it worthwhile, someone will seize the opportunity. The free campers have little effect.

Mh


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Follow Up By: The Landy - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 15:02

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 15:02
Hi Motherhen

We are on the same page…in some respects!

Although to your first point, for many the rateable value of the land is such that they are actually forced to change the land use, rather than choose, because in its present form as a caravan park it can’t generate a sufficient return – but yes, a business decision none-the-less.

On point two, this is the area that most concerns me.

There are many caravan parks that simply are not viable and we will see changes, which actually means more closures unless they can morph into something else, which is generally not possible in a small community.

At a macro-level in Australia we are seeing this currently as the economy moves further away from manufacturing, for example, because it is not viable. I accept the argument…

The edges are blurred when we speak about “free campers” having little effect. It is the move away from the need to have the traditional offering of full-facility caravan parks due to the increasingly popular self-contained RVs that, in part, has helped create the impasse we have today.

We should not be surprised a caravan park owner doing anything they can to protect the value of their investment. And they have a right to a voice, to articulate their argument without being denigrated and derided (by many) for highlighting that in many cases they have a valid argument.

But putting that aside.

My question and concern remains –who is going to fill the void left by the loss of caravan parks and at what cost?

And is there a way that we can preserve this current resource, private caravan parks, for the future, when it is most likely needed. Or do we simply let them fail now and worry about the problem of increasing demand for free or low cost camping options later…

I have serious doubts that the slack will be met by local authorities or other government agencies for a variety of reasons including the potential for changing community attitudes, or simply because the economics of providing the service versus the benefit don’t weight up – a business decision.

So where does that leave the RV community? Exposed to a long term problem that will become more acute over time…

Reading many of the viewpoints on the topic I am led to a conclusion that the biggest problem currently is that the RV community don’t actually recognise they have a problem in the making!
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FollowupID: 817332

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 17:59

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 17:59
Hullo The Landy

MH and I had a conversation some months back on this topic of competitive neutrality applied to CPs. My beef was that Mudgee Council is now charging the same amount for their showground caravan parking area as the full facility CP in town, even though it had just the bare minimum of facilities. I have no problems with Councils charging, so long as they are priced according to the level of amenities provided. Mudgee showgrounds used to be $20 - a fair price; they are now charging $32, the same as the commercial CP. So that is the last time I will be camping near Mudgee!

I make a note of council CPs at reasonable prices in towns with no commercial CPs and on those occasions when we choose to stay in a CP (rather than bush camp), those are where I head to if convenient.

BTW, when we were on a motor home holiday in Europe (back a few years now :-), it was allowable to stay overnight in Germany in a public place such as a supemarket carpark or a roadside park for one night. I remember we parallel parked on a busy road within 400m of the Munich Science museum in the centre of the city. I must admit that it felt a bit weird in the morning having a shower with trucks, buses and car whizzing past within a metre :-)

Cheers
Andrew
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 18:29

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 18:29
Hi Andrew

I can't speak to the specifics of Mudgee and will leave it for the council to do that.

But on competively neutral pricing I think one of the areas that councils were pricing differently was the insurance coverage for public liability. Seemingly many were pricing this based on the overall policy the council holds giving a substantial advantage over say the caravan park, who is priced specifically to its park.

Councils, as I understand it are now required to factor in an insurance cost on a standalone basis the same as a caravan park does.

Liability insurance is a major cost input and could possibly explain the increase...

I guess we could all scour the world and find many examples of things that are better, and worse than those we as travellers experience in Australia...

For me, I'll leave Germany to others to enjoy, Australia is the greatest country in the world to travel in...

Hopefully, with some sensible thinking and debate on this topic, it will remain accessible for all.

Good luck out there!
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Reply By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 11:03

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 11:03
Just as a thought, I wonder how many people would like to see campers constantly setting up in their suburban street. People seem to feel that small towns are fair game and those from the burbs should be free to camp wherever they like, away from the city.
Yes, out bush, in designated areas (ie, not on peoples land, or in a Roadhouse driveway) but in and around towns, I don't see why there should be free camping provided, it's not that towns fault that you spent $100000 + to be able to do it.
Saying that, I free camp at times too, when out bush.
I also point people in the direction of many free camps along the GCR. So, as you can see, I'm certainly not against it, what I am against, is the view people have of being entitled to it, rather than seeing it as a privilige.

Cheers
Al
AnswerID: 533774

Follow Up By: Ozrover - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 11:17

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 11:17
Spot on Al.
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Follow Up By: Member - KBAD - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:04

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 13:04
Al i agree somewhat with what you are saying at the first post i stated it is about choice not which is best (vanilla or chocolate) but the right to be able to choose.
I come form a rural background i remember driving along the main Station access road and seeing campers pulled up some doing the right thing with small or no fires others with flames leaping six feet into the air during peak fire season and cringing thinking my god tomorrow we will be in the thick of it with flames licking up the backside.
I use caravan parks when i need them, i don't begrudge the fee i pay because it is for filling a need i have.
But i also reserve the "right" to travel in this country, at the risk of sounding boorish i have paid taxes and regos and tried to put value back into the community as i have been required and felt the need to do. Do i consider it a privilege or a right to be able to travel, i would say it is both to me.
But when i see what the world in suburbia has become (especially coming from my background) with it's tight little boxes that you cram yourself into then i can definitely see why when people get out and about they would like the opportunity to camp remote or away from a designated and regulated area. A fee for camp cleaning and maintenance no real problem at a shire run or designated spot, but if i had to pay caravan park fees every night away i would not be going away for long, i would have to sell the van and vehicle and do something else, and that is the reality of it.
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Follow Up By: Tony H15 - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:03

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:03
I also reserve the right to travel this country without being herded into overpriced caravan parks. Obviously we can't just pull up in suburbia and set up camp, but I see no reason why we can't camp in designated areas without being forced into paying for the right - this country is already over taxed and over regulated. I Don't see a need to pay a fee for councils to provide litter bins, etc, councils get plenty of $ from all the taxes and rates they already slug us for. Next the councils will be wanting us to pay a fee for using public toilets, kids playgrounds, or just sitting on a park bench.
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Follow Up By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:29

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 14:29
So by the same token Tony, why is it I can't reserve the right to camp in suburbia wherever I want?
I honestly don't see the difference.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:01

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:01
Tony H15 ,have you paid to put in ,supply the dump point , paid to supply the tap / water , paid to supply / maintain /paint / clean the park bench / table in the park , have you paid the wages of the park / council gardener , tell me why I as a rate payer should pay for the toilet paper FREE CAMPERS use …… designated areas ? somebody still has to pay for the cleanup and maintenance…...
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:43

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:43
Tjukayirla, Tony did say 'Obviously we can't just pull up in suburbia and set up camp . . .'
I take that to mean in a reasonable sized town, where such a presence would feel 'awkward' for all parties as far as I am concerned.

If there's a spot on the outskirts with nothing more than a parking area, then I don't see a problems with free camping if permissible, but if such places were plastered with 'no camping' signage, I'd be outta there and heading further bush.

Alloy, under those circumstances, the facs you listed are all you find at a cara pak, less a hot shower . . . and as such, I'd have no probs saying that a fee of somewhere a little less than a commercial cara pk could be imposed without too many complaints.

If people want to free camp further remote, then such camping should be ok . . . they are 2 different markets, and people wil lstop in cara parks when they need a decent shower, do some washing, etc.

Me, I'm a bushwalker before I took up 4WDn as well.
In my mind I picture free camps to be bush remote 'leave only footprints, take only photos' types of places.
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Follow Up By: Member - KBAD - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:59

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 15:59
Alloy i don't disagree with your feeling that you are subsidising the life style of someone else. IMO the reality is we all subsidise to some extent each others choices, i don't have children but we pay taxes that go to subsidies for those that do. I am sure not all my rego charges go to my local roads or the fuel excise for that matter. My partner and i make conscious choices when travelling to try and share the "wealth" all i ask in return is the ability to make choices for where i can camp within reason.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:01

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:01
Just recently there was a report on "FREE CAMPING" smack in the heart of Brisbane , by the river at West End , lovely free loading Tourists from o/seas and Australia camping in a suburban st, nearnest public toilets a cpl of klm away so lets just go behind the bush in the park , No it was not just young backpackers in 'Wicked' vans but also big $$$$ 'self contained ' vans & mobile homes , excuses ??
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:04

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:04
The same applies everywhere Alloy, the difference is that your council has no budget flexibility and tiny numbers to defray costs. Governments are supposed to take such things into account (and do to a very limited extent) but as we know numbers are everything in politics.
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Follow Up By: Member - KBAD - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:17

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:17
People break the law every day so does that mean all people are lawbreakers. Punish the ones that flout the law and create problems but don't make the mistake of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Consideration is needed for the market segments that decide to travel in this country, we are not all created equal that does not mean that there should be a plethora of sites that cater to all kinds but instead thought given to the wants and needs of the different segments of the market. A lot of backpackers are on a shoestring budget so they try and save when and where they can does this mean they do not come back or provide positive stories by word of mouth.
Equally there are those that travel in expensive rigs and will not even put money in honesty boxes (i know a couple like that). That does not mean we all do or should be punished, or have the sites taken form us.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:44

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 16:44
Yes there will always be some that buck and abuse the system , I am not per se against 'free camping' , what I and many others object to is that people crow poor and demand ' free camping ' at the cost of my tax $$ and rates , you want to free camp do so , just don't expect bins , water , toilets etc etc to be provided at no cost 3 km out of town so you can sit there for days and weeks on end …… there is a big difference in the use and the abuse of the system and while the so called minority which seems to continually grow abuse the system ,,,,,
Honesty boxes , don't get me started ,
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Follow Up By: Arthur B1 - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:01

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 17:01
Alloy c - I think it is important in emotive subjects like this to have our facts straight. You said " No it was not just young backpackers in 'Wicked' vans but also big $$$$ 'self contained ' vans & mobile homes , excuses ??"

The various articles on this Brisbane problem are herehttp://www.freechoicecamps.com.au/brisbane.html

I don't see any mention of big $$$$ "self contained" vans & mobile homes.
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Follow Up By: Tony H15 - Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 18:38

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 at 18:38
Tjukayiria, you can’t see the difference between camping in suburbia and camping in a designated area. I think I’ll leave that one alone – how do you explain common sense?

Yes Alloy C, I do pay to put in and supply dump points, I do pay to supply taps/water, I do pay to supply/maintain/paint/clean park benches/tables in the park, I do pay the wages of park/council gardeners, we all do – it’s called rates and taxes. The mythical money tree out the back is just that, a myth. If you object to paying for these things perhaps a letter to your local councillor is in order, setting out exactly what you are prepared to pay for. While your at it, perhaps a letter to the PM outlining exactly which of the budgetary measures you are prepared to pay for as well. What I don’t understand is how you can say ‘I am not per se against 'free camping' , obviously you are – very much so. I haven’t heard anyone demand ‘free camping’, or bins, water, toilets, etc, etc. Most people who free camp, free camp because they take these things with them wherever they go – including their rubbish. The rubbish you see lying around everywhere is mostly from people driving between towns stopping for a squat or a slash or a feed, in other words yokels - watch and see! For the benefit of those who can’t find their glasses, let me reiterate: Obviously we can't just pull up in suburbia and set up camp, but I see no reason why we can't camp in designated areas. Let me shorten that a little: ‘can't just pull up in suburbia’ and ‘designated areas’ Clear enough?
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Follow Up By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 07:32

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 07:32
But Tony my point is, you think small towns everywhere should provide you with a "designated area" so why not suburbia? Why can't i go lob in your suburban st and demand the council give me a designated area? Where's the difference?
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 08:26

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 08:26
Got it in one , just because my shire council area stretches a 4.5 hour drive in any direction with nothing in-between except what city folk THINK is vacant land people think they can FREE camp ,
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Follow Up By: Arthur B1 - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 09:05

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 09:05
So often we are called free loaders because we choose to freedom camp and and somebody complains but somebody has to pay. There is a very good thread going on on the Caravaners Forum on this subject and the post by Phil that started the thread makes excellent sense. I recommend read it.
http://caravanersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=49499
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 15:33

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 15:33
any day of the week i can find you people free camping in suburbia no problems
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Jun 08, 2014 at 15:05

Sunday, Jun 08, 2014 at 15:05
The 'I don't pay my taxes argument for X' is total nonsense generally speaking but Alloy's point is quite fair, although his angst is misdirected imo. The financial support of road travellers by state and federal governments (lay bys, short stay facilities, water, low maintenance toilets, communications "ports" etc) is absolutely abysmal in this country.
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Reply By: Tony H15 - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 12:34

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 12:34
Now you've changed your question Tjukayirla: originally you said 'anywhere I want', now your saying 'designated areas', that's a huge difference. That being the case I can see no reason why not, but I don't think you as a camper would enjoy it, busy suburban streets are worlds away from the outskirts of small towns,; but, to each his own. Write to some of suburbia's councils and 'demand' a free camp, I'm sure they'd be happy to hear from you.
All that aside, no one here is demanding anything, these small towns provide free camps as a way to boost the towns income, campers are happy to enjoy the hospitality and add to local business coffers.

Alloy C, now you have city slickers camping willy nilly everywhere ruining the yokels day, free campers generally camp in rest areas and designated areas expressly set up for that purpose - not in your driveway. I think you two need to get your heads together and settle on a course of argument.

AnswerID: 533836

Follow Up By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Saturday, Jun 07, 2014 at 16:01

Saturday, Jun 07, 2014 at 16:01
Tony, I was being facetious.. I don't care for camping in Suburbia.

What I was trying to get across is the fact some people feel they entitled to free camp, it's thier country, small towns should give them an area to camp for nothing. People feel entitled once they leave home.
I have no drama with towns that provide these areas off their own back.
I have a problem with people that whinge and moan about towns that DON'T do it.

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Reply By: Member - KeithB - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 15:17

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 15:17
I think that there are many parts of the caravan park industry where they are doing it pretty hard. Two years ago we invested some of our retirement hard-earned into Aspen, a company that operates caravan parks all over Australia. This year Aspen announced a 45% write-down in the value of their caravan park portfolio.

The mining construction going in in many remote areas was a great shot in the arm for the parks that had cabins to rent and many had 100% occupancy at big rents all year. But with mining construction coming to a close, many of these parks are now in serious strife and have lost almost half of their value.

I would personally be more than happy to pay to top up my water tanks, dispose of my rubbish, empty the loo and maybe do a load of washing if I am passing through a town. I don't like staying in caravan parks, but I do expect to have to pay for the services that the local community provides me.
AnswerID: 533855

Follow Up By: Member - KBAD - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 20:22

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 20:22
Yes Keith the slow down is well and truly on what now for the van parks that were charging an arm and a leg to stay there? Reminds me of the pubs in the Territory when the tourist season was in full sling they didn't want a local to show their head, the minute the wet started they were calling you up and begging you to come in.
Agree with paying to top up tanks and get things sorted it is how we use Caravan parks to gather resources and information and don't mind paying for it.
It is a shame that the economics of it works out that to try and maximise return "they" that is the park owners have to try and fit you in like sardines.
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 19:27

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 19:27
I am fortunate that money is not the issue. I'll pay for what I want.

But I avoid caravan parks because they are the pits - they need to lift their game and get with the times - can I suggest they need to:
- relocate into bush areas on the edge of towns where you can have SPACE - the concept of living on top of your neighbours is 30 years out of date.
- give people their privacy and a bush settling/experience
- a shower/toilet block within 500 metres is OK.
- allow dog owners on a leash (that should be the dog not the owner)
- allow a campfire

We support the local communities - we appreciate real souvenirs - not the tourist rubbish that comes out of China.
We like the bakeries, we like the pub meals when they are cooked properly and not full of fat. We're happy to pay $30 for a bottle of wine with our meal. We'll happily pay for a local tour.

I'm happy to pay money for a bush camp with few/no facilities. Just because its a nice place to be. Like we do in the Flinders Ranges where the tourist dollar is helping to keep the farmers on the land.

But just don't give me a caravan park!
AnswerID: 533870

Reply By: Tony H15 - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 20:20

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 20:20
I don't mind paying a few $ for a bush camp, what I dislike is paying through the nose for a site in a caravan park where the grass has turned to dust, the toilets and showers are dirty and 'sort of cleaned' once a day (usually during peak times), there are numerous tiles missing from the walls, there are no toilet rolls, the manager allows his dog to roam around at will, the lawn mower man sprays debris all over everyone's camper. And would you believe there is one in Murray Bridge with no tap water, you have to hike up to a water tank, bucket in hand, to get your water. WA's Calm camps and most council areas provide excellent examples of bush camps other states would do well to copy.Places like Alexandra Bridge, Canebrake Pool, Hoffman Mill, Sue's bridge, Heron Point to name a few. You can even act as a host if you don't want to pay for the site.
AnswerID: 533873

Reply By: Mick T3 - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 21:37

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 21:37
It isn't so much paying that bothers me. It is the registration process and surveillance that results.

I frequently live outside in a big city and over the past thirty years have seen most natural area fenced off for no apparent purpose except to keep people out.

And it isn't done for ecological reasons as the car parks are also closed to prevent hikers from form parking then entering on foot what used to be hug reserves and unoccupied government land.

An evil force is moving through our society.
AnswerID: 533883

Follow Up By: disco driver - Saturday, Jun 07, 2014 at 00:45

Saturday, Jun 07, 2014 at 00:45
"An evil force is moving through our society"

You got it in one, it's called "Greens Australia".

Disco.
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 17:33

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014 at 17:33
Ignorance, simplistic slogans, and finger waving - usually in the wrong direction - are far bigger problems in our society. I'd love a dollar for every mug who's blamed something on "The Greens" or "greenies" when a tiny bit of investigation could have provided them with the reality.
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FollowupID: 817700

Reply By: mack c - Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 22:58

Friday, Jun 06, 2014 at 22:58
Hi.

There are a lot of different types travelling. From hikers,to cyclists, motorbikes, car and van to 5th wheelers and Motorhomes.
We all have one thing in common.
The need to get our head down for a few hrs every 24.

Some happy to kip on grass beside bike. car etc (I've been round on a motorbike and tarp with a sleeping bag. (in the early '70's)

As we get older we like the comforts and priveliges that go with affluence. Some like the comfort of van parks every night and have vans to suit.
Some. (Us for example) have (had) full sufficient van down to water desal. genny and panels.
We still stayed a van park, Most weeks. For one night. to clean\wash\stock up and visit bank etc in comfort.
With your solar, decent freezer and water supply, you can be nicely self suffic. for 10 days or so with very little hassle..

I know a lot who are,have been travelling round this beautiful place for decades. Working or just enjoying.
Takes all sorts. and the caravan park people. PLUS others. Have to realise we are all different.
There's enough on the road to keep them financial (Parks) and the rest of us quite happy doing our own thing. Not that it's so easy to do nowadays.
Unless you stay WELL away from towns. But I also know a lot wouldn't be seen dead in a van park, and it has nothing to do with dollars.

I actually sold my 6.5 mtr van recently. Been round the Eastern States and up the centre. 7 1\2 times. Plus a lot of other miles. and that was my 5th van in this country.
We haven't used it apart from a few fishing trips to Seaforth and Cania over the last 5 yrs or so.
Actually running out of places we WANT to see anymore, retired back in '94.
We go O\Seas for 3 months or so each yr nowadays.
This Aug\Sept and early Oct. Peru\Mexico\US\Canada. Sth Africa and a stopover in Phuket for a coupla weeks on last leg.

It's actually very little more exxy than touring in van when you weigh it up.
We have a 10 yr $6 1\2 grand contract with US company that gives us hotels all over the world. at an average cost of $275 pw. Airfares are probably on a par with fuel Running costs over that time.
NO running\Purchase\insuring\Maint costs of larger veh plus van.
It's actually a win win.
I've done vanning for over 50 yrs. and O\Seas mainly for last 5 or 7.
There is... Actually a lot more O\Seas than we have here. just a matter of weeding out what YOU want out of it in your financial limits.

Park your van one yr and try it. You'll be surprised. Specials and combinations can make it really cheap If you willing to buy at that time for a yr or so ahead.

AnswerID: 533896

Follow Up By: disco driver - Saturday, Jun 07, 2014 at 00:41

Saturday, Jun 07, 2014 at 00:41
Well Done to have worked out what suits you, but not everybody is in the same situation. I do not criticise your choices, they work for you but wouldn't excite me at all.

Personally I would not consider an o/s trip, my health issues prevent it for one thing and I have no desire anyway.
There's lots of Australia I have yet to see before I kick the bucket.

There are plenty of senior pensioners who manage with an old well kept caravan and a 10yr old or older vehicle (not necessarily a 4wd) Me for instance, who are not in the same position as you find yourself.

We (being the "Manager of Home Affairs" and "Uncle Grumpy") have to travel on the cheap, living from pension to pension and by choice use caravan parks predominantly.
Many of these c/van parks we use are council owned but are leased out to private individuals who generally run a neat, clean happy park, their livelihood relies on repeat visits.
If I had a van with all the bells and whistles I probably do a bit of free camping way out in the bush or in towns where there is no commercial van park and use a vanpark only occasionally when we need to stock up with food/water etc .

I fail to see why councils should provide "free/subsidised" facilities for the selfcontained traveller at the detriment of genuine individual caravan park owners, this does not include the corporate caravan parks, they rip enough people off to be able to survive regardless.

Disco.
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FollowupID: 817371

Follow Up By: mack c - Saturday, Jun 07, 2014 at 10:40

Saturday, Jun 07, 2014 at 10:40
Fair enuff Grumpy.
I have a few mates living on pension too. In both caravans and Yachts.
Like I said. "At your own financial level."

Caravan parks ARE nowadays ridiculous pricing per night for somewhere to park your wheels Have a sit and shower.
That's what a lot want. Just the basics.

And again. Others just want the wheel space and a sink drain. (Not always necessary if you have a tank for such).
That's where the councils should come in. With a disclaimer at entrance gate.(Responsibilty fo own actions, as it should be)

Those that want the lot. have to be prepared to pay the lot. regardless.
It's quite easy to set up for overnight camping. Just a Battery, portapotty, water tank, and possibly solar panel or two.
We did yrs ago with just a battery and a shovel\bag of lime.
and jerry cans with some water.

Just one or two nights a week away from parks, gives you a few very useful $$'s extra for the missus. (She happy. you happy)

I wanted to buy a cheap camper trlr so As To carry tinny on top. NOOOOOOOOOOO. Says madam.

So Patrol gone. D Max acquired. and I'll just buy Probably a small rear or side door 12 to 15 ft single axle van for the fishing trips to dams.

The last decade or so we normally did alternately. O\S. Caravan.O\S, etc. that worked well too. But I've had enuff of draggin' a bloody great caravan around 3 or 4 months a yr.
possibly unlike you. for 40+ yrs in this country and others prior.

You do get fazed with it after a while, I did anyway.
and I keep it down to a more sensible $25\30 grand a yr now.
with grandkids living in home while we away.
Tried housesittery three times. Didn't work out well with two of them. Gave that away.

Unfortunately some want it all. some want part of. and others want just the basics occasionally.

Not feasible in the real world, If you want it in Metro or coastal areas.
you have to accept that and pay the price. OR. Like we did originally. Use parks OUTSIDE of Metro or coastal areas. and use the extra fuel to drive in there to see(whatever) what you want to see. B4 heading off for next spot.

The ideal world would be Full (Expensive, accept it) facility\position parks.
Smaller less inclusive outer metro.
Country town parks with varying facilities.

Towns Sports fields, Market etc areas with parking. some toilet and sme electric at basic price with disclaimers to cover cost of electric. water. cleaning of such after.

Then the self sufficient ones who stay where and when. To Suit.

One day maybe. But until then. Buy a coupla 20 ltr water cans and an extra battery. plus a Portapot if you ain't got already. $150\200.
and you set up for nights away from civilisation, occasionally.
Look at it as a present to missus.

Take her out for a meal. Show. new shoes etc etc.
It's worth a zillion brownie points. and if you married. you KNOW exactly how much better life gets then. Happy wife........... .
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