Queenslanders sent packing from shows

The NSW Government has launched a crackdown on interstate caravan makers selling products at shows without a NSW dealer licence.

The crackdown had a major impact at the Lismore show where about 30 Queensland exhibitors pulled out or were turned away by inspectors from the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

Their actions robbed the Northern Rivers Rescue Helicopter service of vital funds as the Lismore 4WD, Caravan, Camping and Marine Show is the charity’s biggest fundraiser.

Show organisers say takings were at least $10,000 down and they would have to go back to the local community and raise the money some other way to keep the rescue helicopter in the air.

One of the Queensland caravan dealers forced to pull out at the last minute, John Smallwood of Sportscruiser, described the actions of the NSW Government inspectors as ludicrous.

“We should be encouraging sales throughout the country, not putting up walls, Mr Smallwood said.

“I understand why they need to have legislation for second hand vehicles, but for new vehicles it seems completely unnecessary. It denies the buying public of freedom of choice, and what’s the point?”

Mr Smallwood said the actions of the Fair Trading Department appeared to be in breach of the Constitution, which specifically prohibits trade restrictions between states.

“You can’t register as a dealer in NSW if you don’t have a premises. If you’re based in Queensland, why would you want to have a NSW premise? There’s no way under and circumstances for me to have a dealership in NSW.”

Roam contacted the NSW Minister responsible for Fair Trading, Vic Dominello, however he declined to comment.

A department spokesman said similar raids had been carried out at other NSW shows and the agency was protecting the integrity of the industry by ensuring dealers had NSW licences.