Page 4588 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 31 October 2018

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As the vehicles have changed so too have travellers’ needs, their destinations, their desires and the places that they would like to see and experience. No longer are travellers at the mercy of the traditional caravan park or campsite, with more self-sufficient caravans and motorhomes on the roads now than there ever have been and the price of these dramatically decreasing over the years, making them more accessible as a holiday option.

Our Chief Minister has made it clear that he has little regard for people over the age of 45. The tourism strategy that he has been responsible for seems to match this profile too. Currently, there is no marketing campaign aimed at the over-45 domestic market, particularly those in the caravan or motorhome fraternity. Because of this and, more importantly, a lack of currently suitable infrastructure in Canberra, the capital is often bypassed by the grey nomad tourist market, who might otherwise be interested to choose Canberra as a stopover destination. More often than not, if they are passing through this region, they tend to camp down across the border. This is a missed opportunity for the ACT. This situation should be rectified.

Currently in the ACT there are no free designated camping sites for self-contained motorhomes or caravans. There is certainly a need or an opportunity for somewhere close to the city and the parliamentary triangle to be designated as such an area. All the infrastructure that is needed is a carpark that is disused overnight. There is also a lack of dump points for greywater and blackwater in the ACT, and a general lack of waste disposal options for self-contained caravans and motorhomes. This presents an issue for travellers coming into or through the ACT. Currently the only dumping point that exists for blackwater or greywater is at Exhibition Park, at EPIC, and the government charges people to use that facility. From my knowledge and the knowledge of the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia, the ACT is the only jurisdiction to charge for access to a dumping point for wastewater, which is otherwise provided in all other jurisdictions as a free facility.

This can be easily fixed. A no-frills, low-cost-to-government option exists. There is a simple answer to that part of the tourism problem. The caravan camping and motorhome association provides to local governments the pits required for blackwater dumping. It is a responsibility of local government to install and maintain them, but they will supply the infrastructure free of charge. To service the ACT appropriately, ultimately you would need three locations. The commonsense places to put them would be on the Federal Highway, the Barton Highway and the Monaro Highway: the three major access points into or across the ACT, servicing this area of the tourism segment effectively.

In response to a growing need across the country, the caravan and motorhome association have designed an RV-friendly designation program aimed at assisting RV travellers. I am sure many of us, as we have had the opportunity to travel around the country, would have headed into rural towns, in particular, that have these signs on display at the city limit. An RV-friendly town is a town that has met a set of guidelines that ensures that they provide a certain number of amenities and a certain level of services for RV travellers. When an RV traveller enters a town that displays the RV-friendly sign, they know that they are welcome and they know that adequate

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