The caravan industry’s national body has slammed suggestions by Channel 10’s news and current affairs program The Project, that the industry lacks regulation. The television show aired a four-minute segment on Friday night, September 1, citing two instances where caravan buyers had purchased allegedly defunct product and haven’t been able to have the problems fixed or their money refunded. The segment also showed various clips of caravans crashing, suggesting these crashes may have been caused by poor design and lack of industry regulation.
According to the Caravan Industry Association Australia’s CEO Stuart Lamont, the Australian caravanning industry is subject to over 100 Australian Design Rules, Australian Standards and regulations and is regarded around the world as having the toughest construction standards in the industry to comply with. The Australian industry is overseen by a number of different state and Federal Government departments and authorities with regulatory enforcement based around risk profiles, reported incidences and risk to consumer safety. In addition to compliance, consumers have added rights and protection surrounding unfair contract terms and around warranty and consumer guarantees through the Australian Consumer Law.
“To suggest the industry has little or no regulation or is self-regulated is rubbish,” said Mr Lamont. “The Industry is under constant review by authorities, and while we can argue that some of the regulation is unnecessary and adds additional burden to industry and cost to consumers for no benefit to the travelling public, the law is the law and there is an expectation that businesses abide within the framework provided by the Government.”
“The system is by no means perfect, however with over 615,000 vehicles registered in Australia it would be impossible to suggest that some problems don’t occur, and in these situations we urge industry businesses to make sure they understand and comply with their legal obligations.”
To complement the regulatory framework and to assist industry businesses understand their compliance and legal obligations, the Industry administers a number of educational forums (both for consumers and industry), has imposed much tougher scrutiny around product being displayed at industry run shows, and has introduced a voluntary accreditation program (RVMAP) which among other things inspects industry product at manufacturing premises, retail dealerships and consumer shows. In 2017 over 1,000 inspections will take place with a full review looking at up to 250 individual items of Federal compliance.
“Caravanning and camping evokes many positive memories and the opportunity to not only explore this great country but to reconnect with family and loved ones. It is no wonder that overwhelmingly we hear many great stories of people using and enjoying their RV product.”
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