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Free-loaders and enviro-vandals threaten camping tourism freedoms in Australia says CMCA 

September 23, 2009
Free-loaders and enviro-vandals threaten camping tourism freedoms in Australia says CMCA

Phillip Berry Manager Projects and Member Benefits of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Ltd says some Recreational Vehicle tourists are rubbishing Australia and threaten an Australian freedom.

Some Rest Areas have already been lost through waste dumped on the ground and abusive RV tourists.

Councils are talking about more fines and further restricting rest areas. This GoSee Info Article written by Phillip Berry rings alarms for Australians who love this country and are ready to defend their camping freedoms.

Here are Phillip's thoughts on how to do the right thing and help stop Australia being abused and misued:

The reason for my contacting GoSee is that we are experiencing a lot of problems with RV tourists in many areas, especially North Queensland at present, where some travellers are not doing the right thing whilst staying in rest areas and around towns.

We have people (including those in 4WDs) just setting up camp in residential streets, overstaying the time limit in some rest areas (up to three months!) and dropping grey water and garbage waste onto bitumen carparks. These are just some of the problems.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club of Australia spends many hours and considerable resources negotiating with Local and State governments to get better facilities for all RV tourists, and it is making our job considerably harder when councils tell us of the things that are happening in their area.

At the QLGA (Queensland Local Government Association) conference in Brisbane recently, some councils were talking about restricting rest areas to those vehicles accredited as being part of the Clubs (CMCA) Leave No Trace program.

This scheme is open to all members of any RV club in Australia , providing their accommodation unit meets the necessary requirements of being a self-contained unit.

These people also need to sign a declaration (Code of Conduct) stating that they will do the right thing at all times. These councils are talking about having all people stay either in a caravan park, or an LNT restricted rest area, and all other vehicles told to leave the area or risk being fined.

<!--mo1####mo2-->King Parrot Creek Rest Area near Yea  suffers from eco-vandals<!--mo3-->
King Parrot Creek Rest Area near Yea suffers from eco-vandals

These issues are serious, and as this touring industry continues to grow, so will the problems.

Being a Recreational Vehicle (RV) tourist brings with it certain responsibilities.

Sadly, there are those travellers who do not do the right thing, and they subsequently give this industry and all RV tourists a bad name. They also make it very difficult for those who work so hard negotiating with local Councils for new and better rest areas and new dump point installations.

We thought it timely to address some of the issues that confront us, and to hopefully get the message across to those who do not do the right thing when on the road.


In many towns across our country, water is still a very scarce commodity.

Please remember that it is the local residents that pay for this water, and in many towns they are still on strict water restrictions.

Always ask before filling your water tanks, and perhaps pay a couple of dollars into a local charity box. Do not wash your vehicle. (Except at a commercial carwash) Not only is this wasteful, but it is the easiest way to get the local community and the local Council offside.

<!--mo1####mo2-->CMCA Chairman  Diana Worner with her  motor  home<!--mo3-->
CMCA Chairman Diana Worner with her motor home

Parking and camping

One of the things that cause most problems with Councils is people parking in non-designated areas with no consideration for local residents.

Please do not park in a manner that blocks a local residents view. Do not park in any area that is not signposted accordingly, and please always only stay for the maximum length of time allowed.

If you are asked by a Council Ranger to move on, please do not abuse them. If fees apply to an area, please pay them.

Councils have to maintain these areas, and to avoid paying fees is only abusing a privilege. When we are negotiating with a Council for a new Rest Area, we never ask that it be free. In fact, we encourage Councils to apply a nominal charge to cover maintenance costs.

Please do not hang washing out around your vehicle whilst stopped in a rest area, especially in a city environment. This creates an unsightly image, and only damages our reputation in the eyes of Councils and the general public.

<!--mo1####mo2-->Rise and shine for overnight caravan Ironbark Rest Area Hume Hwy<!--mo3-->
Rise and shine for overnight caravan Ironbark Rest Area Hume Hwy


If you are staying in a caravan park on a non-powered site, please do not hook up to power after dark. (Yes it happens and it happens often!). And if you do need to connect to power after hours for a legitimate reason, then dont argue when asked to pay for it.

In fact, you should ensure that you do pay for it before having to be asked. Remember, caravan park owners are business people trying to make a living, so please dont try and cheat them.

Another problem that we experience is people stopping overnight adjacent to a Council structure such as a camp kitchen, and then connecting their caravan or recreational vehcile to the power overnight. This is just abusing a privilege that the Council has provided.

<!--mo1####mo2-->ContACT and comfortable Coleman airbed Yass Caravan Park<!--mo3-->
ContACT and comfortable Coleman airbed Yass Caravan Park

Disposal of waste water

This one probably causes CMCA more grief with Councils than any other issue.

Unless you are given permission to do so by the controlling authority, NEVER discharge your grey waste onto the ground, especially if you are parked on bitumen.

Wherever possible all grey and black water waste should be discharged into a dump point. We acknowledge that this is not always possible, so in extreme cases it will need to be buried in the bush.

Choose a site at least 100m away from any campsite and any watercourse. Bury waste at least 15cm (6 inches) deep, mixing the waste with soil to help decomposition. In snow, dig down into the soil, otherwise the waste will be exposed when the snow melts.

DO NOT discharge the waste directly onto the ground surface. This is nothing less than environmental vandalism, and can create serious health issues.

Please do not flush grey and black water holding tanks or their hoses with a hose attached to a potable water outlet. This can cause contamination, not just for your water, but for others using the outlet after you.

<!--mo1####mo2-->Handy basic amenities Ironbark Rest Area Hume Hwy<!--mo3-->
Handy basic amenities Ironbark Rest Area Hume Hwy

Caravan Parks

Some caravan parks give members of Recreational Vehicle clubs a discount off their normal park fees.

Please always notify the staff on your arrival that you are a club member.

If you intend to stay for a longer period, please notify them at the time when you first book in.

These discounts do not apply for long term stays, but have limitations placed on them. There is no point abusing the staff at the end of your stay because you have been charged more than you thought you should be.

RV Friendly Towns

When visiting an RV Friendly Town, please remember that they have had to meet very strict criteria to be part of the scheme.

However, not every RV Friendly Town may have exactly what you are looking for. For example, the rest area that has been provided for short-term stays may not be within walking distance of the main street. It may have been established on the only land available.

It is therefore inappropriate to go to the Council Chambers and abuse the Council staff because the rest area is not where you think it should be. (Yes it does happen!)

All of these issues are based on complaints that have been received from retailers, caravan park owners, Councils and diligent RV tourists.

It is sad that such a small number of people abusing the privileges allowed to us make it so hard for us to gain better facilities for all RV tourists.

<!--mo1####mo2-->ContACT tucks in for the  night Yass caravan Park<!--mo3-->
ContACT tucks in for the night Yass caravan Park

It is not hard to do the right thing. We acknowledge that some people may be finding it economically difficult at the present time, but to abuse staff, to abuse Council officers, and to try and avoid paying your way is not helping this industry.

We have lost rest areas due to waste being dumped on the ground. We have lost the support of some organisations due to the abusive nature of a few.

As this mobile tourist industry continues to grow, and it is the fastest growing segment of tourism in this country, we will find that we will lose rest areas and access to some wonderful campgrounds, all because a small minority of people abused the privilege provided to them.

To enjoy this wonderful lifestyle, and to ensure that we all continue to do so, PLEASE DO THE RIGHT THING.

Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Ltd.

Editor's Note: Here are some related Information Articles from the extensive GoSee library of features.

The GoSee Forums also contain practical information. A full search of all information on the GoSee website can be done via the Multi-Search box at the top of this page. Key in motorhome. Click Info Articles or Forums in the drop down box and click search.

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