The Australian Caravan Club (ACC) has been vocal on the issue of the flow on effects of the court ruling against the use of Kershaw Gardens as an overnight stop.
The Caravan Parks Association of Queensland has won its legal battle to ban free overnight camping at Rockhampton's Kershaw Gardens. The Environment and Planning Court today decided that camping is illegal and ruled that overnight stays must cease on February 15 next year and all signs removed.
“Interstate tourists avoiding the southern winter, traditionally travel throughout regional and rural Queensland which could be the regions most affected directly by restrictive camping issues. Many southern grey nomads may wipe Queensland off their winter destinations and will stop at the border or head to SA and up the Centre. Qld communities will lose the economic benefits their tourism brings as they head north each winter” said ACC Chairman Craig Humphrey.
“The ACC absolutely respects the decision of the Court but our call is to ensure that RV travellers have a freedom of choice in options available to stay in Queensland destinations” said Mr Humphrey.
It is estimated that, at any one time, 120 000 of the 600 000 registered RVs in Australia are on the road. RV Travellers spend up to $100 per day (ACC survey) covering fuel, groceries and other necessities. This injects approximately $ 12 million daily into local communities.
“The Australian Caravan Club in February this year wrote to 7 Queensland Ministers expressing our concern regarding the possible ramifications of the Kershaw Gardens decision. I also met with the Queensland Assistant Tourism Minister in March to outline the ACC concerns regarding the implications of the court case and possible ways through the issue.” said Mr Humphrey
“As I explained to the Assistant Minister the ACC concerns included the following-
- Reputational Risk – the issue relates to the perception by RV travellers that Queensland is RV unfriendly through their formal and social networks,
- Regional/Rural Queensland routes will be affected as the perception may grow especially with grey nomads. This is particularly a concern for ACC members,
- possible major effect of a decision will be on such providers as show grounds, pub camping, You camp etc. – all a part of the RV traveller freedom of choice decisions,
- In some areas of Queensland where local show grounds offer the only option for RV travellers the financing of possible the need to upgrade infrastructure will be difficult.
- The inability of many caravan parks to cater for bigger rigs and 5th wheelers leaving nowhere for these RV travellers to go, and not all parks allow pets and
- Issues with fatigue management if there's nowhere for RV travellers to pull up and accessing Caravan Parks at certain times of the year can be difficult” said Mr Humphrey.
“At the meeting with the Assistant Minister I suggested that the Queensland Government should consider the Primitive Camp Ground regime implemented with in New South Wales” said Mr Humphrey
Primitive Camping Grounds are lower key than conventional camping grounds and are not required to have, for example, sealed roads, hot water or laundries. These are often in scenic locations such as in bushland, near rivers or on the coast. The New South Wales Government has such legislation operating effectively throughout their state.
“The Australian Caravan Club calls on the Queensland Government to convene a round table of stakeholders including the relevant RV consumer organisations to work collaboratively to ensure appropriate strategies are developed for regional and rural areas continue to attract RV travellers who may now bypass these areas as a result of the Kershaw Gardens decision” said Mr Humphrey.