ROCKHAMPTON EXPO; Kent Smith from Billabong Caravans has traveled from Burleigh Heads to be at this year's expo.
ROCKHAMPTON EXPO; Kent Smith from Billabong Caravans has traveled from Burleigh Heads to be at this year's expo. Maddelin McCosker

Calls for consistent caravan and towing laws Australia-wide

CARAVANNERS traverse Australia in a multi-billion dollar industry, but with varying laws between the states they are calling for uniformity and education.

What's legal in Queensland may not be in New South Wales - and the industry says that needs to change.

Confusion is rife with caravanners and grey nomads looking for education about towing and clarification on laws.

This week, Queensland Transport Minister, Mark Bailey denied his department was making changes to codes, which would make it illegal to modify vehicles to increase towing capacity.

He said the changes were Federal Government laws, but would not be implemented in Queensland.

"The Palaszczuk Government has made no changes to trailer towing rules in Queensland," he said.

"These trailer towing rule changes are set by the Federal Government."

The Morning Bulletin understands only regulations for modifications prior to sale as a new car belong with the Federal Government, and after the first sale, responsibility is with the State Government.

Event manager at this weekend's caravan and camping show in Rockhampton, Aly Ryan, said the entire caravan and towing industry needed regulation at a Federal level.

"Australian design rules are operated out of Canberra and they will tell you the rules are antiquated and need to be updated," Ms Ryan said.

She says changes to the laws were tabled by the Queensland Transport Minister.

"They want to stop any modifications...like electric breaking systems and extra suspension which will increase towing capacity," she said.

"That will make it impossible for some people to get out there."

"It needs Federal Government regulation, you can't have different rules in every state.

"This is all about travelling and seeing the country."

Ms Ryan and others in the industry believe changes to towing laws are a "knee-jerk reaction" to a number of accidents over the past five years.

She says it's education that's needed and the Department of Transport is shying away from their responsibility.

In this, Queensland Road Safety Week, the Department of Transport was invited to attend the weekend event, but declined.

"We want the Department of Transport to step up to the plate and educate the people," Ms Ryan said.

"We invite them to these events all the time and when they do come, people absolutely swarm them for information.

"People are not educated about how to load their van, what they can tow, how they need to balance it.

"What better way to educate the public than to come to caravan and camping shows."

Federal Minster, Paul Fletcher, did not respond to our questions by close of business.



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