Currently throughout the country, there is no clear definition of what self-containment means and this can become quite confusing for RVers as to whether their RV meets the requirements for a freedom camp.
Each local authority imposes its own definition and on top of that, there are the differing definitions of RV organisations.
For example, Cooktown has defined self-containment to mean that an RV must have a fitted grey water tank to be able to use its freedom camping site.
As our Club sees it, self-containment must be seen as a Code of Conduct and NOT a Code of Equipment.
Disposal of grey water on site is up to the controlling authority to determine. Where you can dispose grey water on site, it MUST be done in such a manner that it has no impact on the next person using the site one hour after you have left.
If it is a Code of Conduct, the ACC believes even a camper-trailer can use the site and abide by the requirements of the site’s controlling authority.
New Zealand are ahead of us in this regard as they have Freedom Camping Legislation as well as self-containment standards which carry the force of law.
The ACC sees both sides of the argument on self-containment. However, the principal issues must be how can it be controlled to alleviate the mess left behind.
The ACC has a Code of Conduct for self-containment under its A.C.C.E.S.S. (Australian Caravan Club Environmentally Safe Scheme) scheme.
Membership of A.C.C.E.S.S. does not give a member a right to camp anywhere. Those rights are restricted to the laws of various federal, state and local government. In fact, A.C.C.E.S.S. has been approved by all state and territory governments.
Our members who join A.C.C.E.S.S. receive an A.C.C.E.S.S. COMPLIANT sticker as an indicator that the RV operator has accepted to abide by a Code of Conduct and will engage in lawful and environmentally acceptable practices.
Under the A.C.C.E.S.S. Code of Conduct, an RV is only required to have the level of containment prescribed for the specific area being occupied. If it is not mandatory for grey water to be contained, the RV does not require grey water containment in that particular area.
Members of the ACC who wish to apply for participation in the A.C.C.E.S.S. Code of Conduct, agree to abide by the following conditions -
- To leave any area that they use as clean, or cleaner than when they arrived.
- To obey all posted requirements of the relevant authority in respect of occupancy of the selected parking area or campsite, including any requirement to obtain permission and pay any fees.
- In parking their vehicle and caravan or trailer, to consider the requirements of other travellers in, or intending to use the area.
- To contain and ultimately correctly dispose of all rubbish and not to permit illegal or inconsiderate drainage of any substance, including black or grey water.
- To stay in any Rest Area, authorised campsite, or other camping area, for a maximum of the authorised period, or the period that their RV can be self-contained, if this is a requirement (whichever is the lesser). If required their containment capability can be re-established by correct disposal of any or all forms of contained waste.
- Not to establish a “camp” outside their RV, unless beyond the view of other travellers or local residents, except in an approved camp site.
- Where possible, to shop locally and support the local community.
- In all respects to be considerate of local community facilities and in so doing, to preserve the continuing privilege of future travellers to use these facilities.
- They agree to display the A.C.C.E.S.S. sticker on their RV in a position advised by the board, and to hold a completed copy of the A.C.C.E.S.S. Code of Conduct ready for inspection, should it be requested.
ACC members wishing to apply to join A.C.C.E.S.S. should log onto the website and follow the prompts under the On the Road / ACCESS tabs.