Parks Advocacy Update

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Government Relations General Manager Luke Chippindale & Minister for Tourism and Trade Senator Don Farrell.

August and September have been a busy time in Canberra with many big topics affecting our industry being discussed with the interim budget planning, insurance industry discussions, future fuels and Jobs and Skills summits. Caravan Industry Association of Australia actively engaged on all topics for the industry.

October will see an interim budget released (26th October). We are hopeful, based on the government’s pre-election commitments there will be a $10 million fund for the caravan industry. Although not yet confirmed, following previous similar funding commitment grants, it may be based on shovel-ready projects with an anticipated spend greater than $25,000. Like other programs, the submitters would be expected to contribute 50:50.

We encourage you to get your thinking caps on and plan what projects you might have in the pipeline that would significantly add to the quality of the customer experience when visiting your park, if we are successfully awarded the funding come budget night we would expect applications to be submitted by late November/early December 2022.

We will be watching the budget night releases with great anticipation!

One of the major challenges facing our industry, and many like it, is access to affordable and appropriate insurance coverage. This month we have met with Minister for Tourism and Trade, Senator Don Farrell to directly raise the issue. Senator Farrell clearly understood the position the industry faces and understood it as being unacceptable.

A major positive from the meeting was the undertaking to work together, along with the treasurer, to solve the issue. We know it won’t be a simple solution, nor a quick one. We do have a strong undertaking and understanding to move the issue forward and have further discussions planned with Senator Farrell for early October.

Along with government, we continue to work with the insurance council to understand how the gap in our market can be filled, ensuring our most vital of resources are not exposed to untenable risks.

Another significant issue from the last few weeks has been fuel efficiency standards and the shift to electric vehicles (EV). The passing of Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, Climate Change Bill on 8 September 2022, has signalled the future direction of government towards a low carbon emission environment. A large part of the discussion is that of fuel standards and car emissions.

As we await the consultation paper on Fuel Efficiency Standards to be released (mid-late September), a consultation paper on what the low-carbon emission environment could and should look like as well as the key requirements to make it a reality, we have actively taken part in important industry conversations. As an industry we have attended vehicle emissions forums, met with automotive industry representatives and manufacturers as well as EV charging infrastructure representatives. Much of this has been to gain a greater understanding of future energy/fuel uses, vehicle availability and required infrastructure.

We understand the potential for opportunity with a move to a low-emissions environment. However, over the transition period (between 2030 – 2040) we want to ensure transitions are made with minimal impact to tourism and parks.

Tourism workforce summit hosted by Minister for Small Business, Homelessness and Housing Julie Collins

Lastly, much of the buzz from last month was on the jobs and skills summit. Caravan Industry Association of Australia was invited to take part in two of the major events in the lead-up to the two-day summit, the Tourism Workforce Roundtable and the Tourism Jobs Summit. The roundtable and the summit acted as mechanisms to inform the broader Jobs and Skills Summit held in early September.

Both opportunities gave Caravan Industry Association of Australia the chance to discuss some of the workforce challenges facing the industry as well as solutions to assist in the shortfall.

Of these, we advocated strongly for working holiday maker visas to be increased along with greater incentives to remove barriers to travel, pensioners to have the ability to work increased hours without impact to their pension and the need to supercharge a domestic tourism campaign focused on regional and rural areas/drive holidays.