River City 4WD Club - Brisbane

Full Version: An interesting paper about camping
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Hi

I am yet to fully read this paper but it's an interesting survey on the camping trends in Australia or QLD.
It's clear the Government is looking at cashing in on the industry but how this is to happen or continue to happen is still in the air..
Would like your comments on it

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Interesting read
looked at first like a glossy BS paper
but it laid out the facts and breakdowns displaying the growing trends and was suggesting that local government get on the front foot and take benefit of it you know financially

I liked the end section that showed what certain councils were doing and even Cooktown trialled an RV overnight stop ($5) that is to be extended for another two years

Not sure what will happen, but it looks like a lot of talking and then it will be up to individual councils to act

Personally I like the regional permit system it would give me flexibility and incentive to visit areas more often

we will end up with a mixed bag of options for sure, but it would be good to know what is out there so you can plan your trips better

All in all a good paper well set out with the technical details easily understood so that councils could understand how it would work for them and reap the community benefits

hope it cuts the red tape, as the admin can kill a good idea

What really counts is what options we can have while traveling and when they will be delivered
bring em on

stockhorse

An interesting read. Some of the issues raised have been a little swept under the carpet by suggesting a classification of a lower standard that would not require ammenities or rubbish collection to save cost to local councils.
It does address the changing trends and demographics of "camping" but this section is a little off putting

Camp
Under the Recreation Areas Management Act 2006, to camp includes:
d) to stay overnight, other than as part of an activity that—
i. does not involve the use of any camping equipment,
and
ii. is generally not considered to be camping.

How does being involved in an activity "generally not considered to be camping" become classified as a camp? Quite simple really, you take the kids for a swim at the local river and put the awning on your 4x4 up. This is then classified as a camp and would incur a fee if one was applicable for camping in the area.
I think this needs to be clarified or section d) removed from the paper.

I also note that as an encouragement for councils to consider alternative camping options there is a continual reference to commercial camping equivalent charges and the possibility of outsourcing the management of alternative non commercial sites to owners/operaters of commercial sites. Wouldn't this defeat the purpose of the non commercial camping alternatives ? I also dislike the continued reference to "overflow" facilities.
I also notice the suggestion of more and clearer signage as to where camping is allowed rather than if there is no sign allowing it then it is not allowed. There are many areas where camping actually falls under state or federal juristiction but local councils try to enforce local laws that are not applicable and this could help clear up that conflict.

As an overall I think it sets some good guides to local councils but I think the majority of councils (mostly remote area) will ignore it and simply expect the commercial camping facility owners to continue as they have been with little regard to the changing demands.
Yep have to agree on the negative points regarding overflow and the reference to keeping commercial camping grounds happy or competitive!

What I don't understand is the continual reference to commercial camp sites suffering from free campers yet most are almost always overbooked or only have a very limited number of camp sites available, half the caravan parks are now cabin villages with very little room for either caravans or tents so what is the problem?
It's a lot like the movie industry complaining about illegal downloads yet they are now making more money than ever before - Greedy is the only thing that comes to mind!

I agree that the restrictions on caravan parks regarding facilities is unfair when you compare it to show grounds and other cheaper camping options..
I am a huge believer in only paying when facilities are provided but only minimal payment, whats wrong with coin operated showers as an example but toilets need to be supplied in all parks, something that has sadly been neglected over the years in many larger towns, yet most small towns out back not only have very well maintained toilets but also have free hot showers and drinking water taps so you can fill your water tanks up.. is this really costing the community so much if so how the hell do one horse towns cover the cost?

I noticed the paper did cover how much money travelers injected into towns while they visited but I think they failed to cover the added value that word of mouth adds to the town, provide good facilities and welcome visitors with open arms and they will tell others - soon you will be getting so many visitors you may just have to increase the size of the camping areas!

In all situations you will get those that flaunt the system and in this case out do there stay but there should always be ways to cover this by charging them a fee for extended times - provided this is reasonable I don't see an issue.
We did see a case of this in a free camp site north of Charters Towers, this caravan had been there so long they had gardens planted around the van, in this situation I think they may have been a caretaker looking after the toilet/shower block - an idea that should be considered for many sites - cheap way to maintain order and the condition of the site - could put the job up for tender like they do for lighthouse keeping..

Councils and towns need to get away from thinking us free campers are a cost to the community and start embracing the value added benefits we provide.
The people that utilise caravan parks will always do so because they want the facilities, even people like us will take advantage of caravan parks when we need to do our washing and take a rest from digging holes for toilets but rarely do we need mains power so there is a savings straight away for the parks.

As said local councils will do there own take on this paper and will adopt what suits them but they all need to realise that like never before this is the age of information and the traveling public are both very vocal and informed, most now have the internet and get on forums to both be informed and inform others of there experiences - give someone a hard time - make them unwelcome and they WILL tell the world of there bad experiences.. very quickly other travelers will stop visiting your area and the traveling dollars will stop flowing into your town, this has already happened in many mining towns out west, these towns are now suffering because the mining industry has pulled out or are now providing accommodation on site.
Yet another example is Tasmania - they banned all free camping - now the entire state is suffering with a huge downturn in visitors - so much that they are now asking for financial assistance for the Boat trip in an attempt to get people coming back - But until they open up all the free camping sites and people get to tell there friends the state will continual to suffer.

I guess only time will tell regarding all of this but unless we all get involved in making our wishes public and placing pressure on the Governments nothing will happen so please all of you get active on forums and news paper sites - be vocal about free camping and don't let the matter rest until things change.

stockhorse

Quote:What I don't understand is the continual reference to commercial camp sites suffering from free campers yet most are almost always overbooked or only have a very limited number of camp sites available, half the caravan parks are now cabin villages with very little room for either caravans or tents so what is the problem?

I agree Peter, but the figures they show for occupation don't match what our thoughts are.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS),
caravan park site occupancy remained stable between
2005 and 2010 (June quarter).* Their Survey of Tourist
Accommodation shows there has been just a 2.3%
increase in occupancy rates across all caravan park sites
for this period, with an occupancy rate of 57.8% being
recorded for the June quarter of 2010.
Table 2 below shows that the highest occupancy rate
recorded for the year ending June 2010 was just 48%
(Gold Coast), suggesting that, on average, caravan parks
rarely reach ‘full’ occupancy. While many parks will
experience seasonal peaks, most have ample powered
and unpowered sites year-round.
Table 2 Caravan park occupancy rates (Queensland)
Region† Percentage of total site
nights occupied (year
ending June 2010)
Gold Coast 48%
Brisbane 19%
Sunshine Coast 39%
Fraser Coast 35%
Bundaberg 22%
Central Queensland 26%
Whitsundays 31%
Northern 26%
Tropical North Queensland 37%
Queensland 41%
*2010 is the most recent data available across the state due to
changes in the design and funding of the ABS survey.
† Insufficient data for Darling Downs, Mackay and Outback.
Source: Survey of Tourist Accommodation, Small Area Data,
Queensland (2005–2010), ABS
(copy&pasted from page 16 of the paper)

predicted occupancy
Table 3 Forecast peak demand using 2020 TFC forecasts and 2020 stretch targets
Region†
2020 TFC forecasts
2020 stretch targets
Gold Coast
74%
106%
Brisbane
66%
95%
Sunshine Coast
76%
105%
Fraser Coast
59%
94%
Bundaberg
83%
120%
Central Queensland
73%
101%
Whitsundays
69%
101%
Northern
78%
113%
Tropical North Queensland
95%
130%
Queensland
74%
102%

(copy & pasted from page 17 of the paper)


From the above figures the commercial sites are claiming(predicting) less than 75% full occupancy for all areas but a large increase in stretch times.
I believe that those figures are for all types of caravan (commercial site) accomodation and not figures for camping. By promoting those figures the commercial sites are trying to justify the argument of a struggling industry and the restriction of alternatives such as free camping sites.

I would like to see figures purely for camping sites and see if the feelings and thoughts of many campers are correct.
Yes I did notice those figures and had to question it's accuracy and what they were actually counting.
I am on several forums and the stories I am seeing plus from our own accounts especially out west there may still be some cabins available but nothing in the way of camping sites due to mining in the area.

Regardless of the figures recorded there are many people that simply cannot afford the cost of both fuel and expensive caravan parks so if all of the free camping sites are removed they will either simply not travel or will limit the trips to short stays in the remaining free sites - at the worst will spend a night or two in caravan parks but will not venture to the extents they would had the free camping remained.
Either way if free camping is removed the caravan parks will not benefit as most people simply will no longer visit that area - lose lose for all concerned.

I for one will be one of those that will choose to either not travel or I will only stop in towns that provide free or cheap camping - yes we will and do stay in caravan parks but only as a chance to do some washing and have a nice hot shower - but in a trip lasting say 4 weeks this would only equate to a hand full of nights - the rest will be free camping.
Totally agree with Pete wholeheartedly but want to add

What are they gonna offer us to come and visit?
that is what I want to know now!

A talk fest is good can get the thinking juices flowing if towns can see the benefit and this will take time
and we then vote with our tyres by driving that way and spending money in and around their town, that is the bottom line with local councils

The next question is how do we as a group influence their decisions?
we need to get the talk happening at all levels and just keep talking to those who can make a difference, you know become the noise that won't go away :x
  • 4wdqld can make submissions on our behalf at a state level and put forward plans and 4wd requirements so that we get heard in numbers Big Grin
    we can (our club) by directly contacting desired towns we would like, and asking how we can free camp in their locale at a local government level to create an interest or need in their mind :mrgreen:
    and by talking to store owner, fuel stops, pubs, pie shops etc. and get the store-owners thinking about lost revenue that might be gained by improving their camping facilities at the individual level[/list:u] :roll: :mrgreen:

    The tipping point will be when everyone wants it as it will benefit the whole region by bringing in the tourist trade

    and then we all benefit aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh............ Big Grin

    Fair dinkum that sounds good, and if I sprout anymore like this I will have to join Roothy on the open up Australia campaign

    you know if we let them know what we want they will build it Wink