Roger Fagan Cub

MPs ignoring camper threat

Industry calls for tougher rules to stop potentially dangerous camper trailers being sold are being ignored by the Federal and State Governments.

Australian manufacturers allege the suspect campers don’t comply with weight regulations for safe towing, while some also have non-compliant gas fittings.

Adding to industry’s frustration, the mostly Chinese-sourced campers are being sold with ‘Australian Made’ stickers attached.

The Australian Manufactured Camper Trailers Guild believes buyers are being misled and their safety is at risk.

The camper trailers at the heart of the dispute are mostly assembled in Australia from components made in China.

Guild founder Roger Fagan believes there are at least 3000 camper trailers sold by one Sydney-based importer and assembler that are non-compliant because they exceed the 750kg limit for un-braked vehicles the moment any luggage is added.

He has evidence of another importer that has fitted gas stoves to campers in breach of local regulations.

In both cases, attempts to highlight the problems to Federal and State MPs appear to have so far  failed to deliver, as has attempts to lobby the body responsible for supervising the ‘Australian Made’ logo.

“It’s a lot like the problem faced by our farmers and food manufacturers.  Supermarkets pass off food as being Australian-made because they claim the re-packaging her and marketing make up more than fifty per cent of the cost of production, so therefore it qualifies,” Mr Fagan said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told the Camper Trailer Guild said it was up to its members to take expensive legal action in order to prove consumers were being misled.

Sydney-based camper builder Karl Geddes of Blue Tongue Campers says existing industry compliance rules are out of date and often being ignored by the import-assembler companies.

“The laws need tightening up, it would be a pain for all of us, but the industry would be better off.”

Mr Geddes said he was aware of one company using Chinese-made couplings that did not comply with Australian Standards.    When questioned by compliance officers at a recent Caravan show, he said employees hastily applied stickers to some trailers to look as though they had the mandatory plates.

Picture:  Camper Trailer Guild founder and cub Camper CEO Roger Fagan inside his Sydney manufacturing plant which employs 55 people.

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