Sunday 10 January 2010

Grey Nomads taking their kid's inheritence, and avoiding Cairns

This doco featured on 7's Sunday Night recently.

It’s about the grey nomads. Seems the baby boomers are spending their children’s inheritance.

And some towns are seeking these travellers out. Not Cairns though. We've closed numerous caravan and camping parks over the last 10 years, the majority now go via the Atherton Tablelands (not the failed attempt to re-brand it as Cairns Highlands).

A CairnsBlog contributor reminded me to watch around 8:42 and see the effect that clever marketing can bring. Free camping spaces = economic and community benefits, which leads me to the question of what Cairns can be doing in this regard.

"Where are the places that welcome the nomads in Cairns?" John says. "Where are the places that welcome them for the economic benefit they bring to the whole community rather than trying to rip them off for the benefit of one?"

He's right. It's pretty hard to find methinks. Go for a drive on the Tablelands. There you will find our cashed up baby-boomers-driving through (or around) Cairns on their way to the Mareeba Rodeo grounds, or the Rocky Creek War Cemetery or just before the bridge at Mt Molloy. Anywhere but Cairns, spending money before the next leg of their journey.

It's fantastic for these communities, but not so for Cairns. We need, as a community, to change perceptions in the nomads that Cairns is unfriendly and unwelcome to this group of people.

"No sarcastic comments about how supporting grey nomads is certainly not the economic salvation of Cairns," John says. "I know that. But it is one small brick in the strategic wall to recovery that the region so sorely needs."

Meanwhile, in kind of related news, the Queensland government has ordered 77 of Wicked's campervans off the road because of "safety concerns." Wicked voluntarily "decommissioned" 77 of its 86 vans after they were asked to undertake safety tests. "A further five vans submitted for testing were taken off the road by transport officials, leaving just four still in action," the ABC reported.

The irony in the Queensland Government attacking Wicked for its dodgy vehicles is that it has the slackest road registration and management of roadworthy vehicles in Australia. Any private vehicle can he "unroadworthy" with no checks for months and often, years.

In outback and remote Queensland and Northern Territory, a very relaxed attitude still exists to this day, where you can have a vehicle inspection for the initial roadworthy done by a transport inspector who simply walks around the car and kicks the tyres. This is a hang-over from Sir Joh's days when many vehicles in the outback would not be used on sealed roads, and to some degree, made sence.

In New Zealand, vehicles older than two years have a six month mandatory "warrant of fitness" check, and those under two years old, have an annual inspection.

Premier Bligh took a complaint out in 2008 against Wicked, saying their painted slogans on the vehicles were sexist and racist, This followed one spotted in Cairns with "Save A Whale- Harpoon A Jap" painted on it. "I like a joke but not when it borders on obscenity," Bligh said.

Wicked's manager Dave Kinkead disagreed. "I don't think people will, or should take this van seriously, it is a parody like all our vans, they're effectively taking the mickey out of every subject we do," Kinkead said.

"We believe in the protection of whales, however there are some extremists on the environmental side that do believe that a whales life is more important than a human's."


R Hall said...

My major beef is the number of Victorian regsistered car hire vehciles shipped to QLD.

Car hire companies deliberately buy and register the vehicles in Victoria for sheap registration and then the majority are driven on QLD roads.

QLD gets no revenue from the vehicles regsitration and we end up paying higher costs to offset their road use.

A stop needs to be put to this

Have a look at wicked vehicles and see how many are registered in Victoria

Ripped off on our rego costs

Paul said...

The Queensland Government already hides extra taxes inside our registration bill (ask them what the "traffic improvement fee" is and see what kind of response you get). Can you imagine the fee they'd place on a mandatory roadworthy? Government today only exists to rob the people on behalf of special interests.

Miss Chief. said...

With reference to the Nomad Trek...The Plantation Village & Caravan Park goes out of it's way to make these travellers welcome and the town is more than happy to have their business. It's becoming well know as THE place to stay without the higher prices of Cairns.

Miss Chief. said...

Oops...I should have said that the Caravan Park is in Babinda.
That's what I get for posting when I'm tired.

Northern Beaches Warrior said...

Soon campers and caravaners will be long distant memories for the Gold Finch Caravan Park at Palm Cove. The tender is out now for the "commercialisation" of this public land and park. This process will bring a very large number of cabins (over 30% of spaces), originally ear marked for backpackers, a swimming pool, apartments for rent etc. Once the private manager gets the nod, who is going to make sure that that 30% does not creep to 50%, 70% etc.

No wonder campers and caravaners are turning off before they get to Cairns. There is just not the parks for them to stay in, and the parks that are left, are being turned into expensive all- facilities provided venues. Not really the experience most campers and caravaners want.

On another related topic, some locals I know who went to Palm Cove for dinner on New Year's eve made the comment, "Never again."

Apparently when they left the restaurant on Williams Esplanade, there was drunken brawling, obscene language and behaviour going on out in the street by a very large group of young people. Seems like Palm Cove is now no different to the streets of Cairns at night time!

Alison Alloway said...

Soon, the leading edge of the baby-boomer generation will retire, with tens of thousands retiring each year for 17 years after. We boomers comprise a whopping 25% plus of the population and we are more "cashed up" than our forebears. Think of the sheer numbers of "grey nomads" this group will send off round Australia, and what Cairns will continue to miss out on.

Unknown said...

"R Hall said...
My major beef is the number of Victorian regsistered car hire vehciles shipped to QLD.
Have a look at wicked vehicles and see how many are registered in Victoria"

Oh those wicked Victorians, ripping us off ! Wicked has 944 vehicles in Australia, of which 611 are registered in Victoria. Maybe you should check your facts first Mr. Hall. Maybe there are a few QLD registered vehicles driving around in Victoria as well ?