The RVMAA - Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association
of Australia - now represents virtually all major Australian RV
manufacturers, says its president, Gerry Ryan. Membership
continues to grow and it is estimated that Members now produce
over 95% of the RVs sold in Australia.
Gerry said that the role of the RVMAA was more important than ever and it aims to ensure that it continues to represent the manufacturing sector in the key areas of production standards, industry traineeships and apprenticeships, and tourism relation- ships, at both Federal and State levels.
The industry’s recent history has shown that we continued to expand during 2007 and the first three quarters of 2008, despite the hefty increases in the cost of fuel, according to Gerry. Most pleasingly, and perhaps surprisingly, it looks like the 2007 total production figure of around 19,000 units will probably be equalled in 2008. Despite the gloomy economic conditions heading into 2009, there is still optimism that the RV-manufacturing industry will still perform well.
“Production of caravans, camper-trailers, motorhomes and camper-vans has steadily increased over the past decade. The quality and appointments of locally-made RV’s continues to improve, with owners realizing they can travel with all of the luxuries of home. Programs such as the “60 Minutes” segment on “spending the kids’ inheritance” have been instrumental in increasing the attraction of travelling around Australia in a self-contained RV”, Gerry said.
“Australian-designed and made RV’s are world-class, and provide excellent value-for-money over the range from basic camper-trailers to the most elaborate motor-homes”, Gerry said. “Buyers of locally-made RVs from RVMAA Members can have confidence that they are buying a safe and quality product, and that their new purchase complies with all applicable safety standards, in addition to the RVMAA’s Code of Practice”, Gerry added.
A prime aim of the RVMAA is to ensure that all RVs produced by all Members fully comply with all safety regulations, which are the Australian Design Rules and the Australian Standards. Regular audits are conducted to ensure that manufacturers retain conformity of production and consistent high quality.
Action is taken against any RV (whether locally-made or imported) - via the regulatory authorities - if any serious safety non-compliances are detected, in order to prevent a tragic accident that would seriously harm the reputation of the professional Australian RV manufacturers.
The RVMAA has produced a new Code of Practice for the manufacturing, marketing, and servicing areas of the Australian RV Industry. The Code aims to further enhance the reputation of the local industry by “raising the bar” further to ensure high-quality products and professional after-sales service.
The first caravan built by apprentices at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) was donated to the Melbourne Royal Children's Hospital for their Good Friday Appeal. Auctioned during the day on the internet, the caravan raised $30,000 for the hospital, along with providing excellent exposure for the training of apprentices.
The second caravan has been displayed at capital city RV & Camping shows, and has received most favourable comments. This caravan has now been donated to the Westmead NSW Children's Hospital. Other States will receive a new caravan in turn.
Called the NMIT Highlander, the caravans are built by apprentices, under professional guidance, for Certificates in Recreational Vehicle Manufacturing. The project came about by generous donations by RVMAA Members of all components needed to build top-class caravans.
RVMAA president Gerry Ryan said of the program: “Apprentices are the manufacturing industry’s future, and building caravans as part of their training gives them the multi-skilling abilities, so vital in developing and expanding the industry. ”With the increasing number of apprentices taking part in this certificate course, it is expected that two caravans will be built each year. The caravans will be donated to worthy charities that are involved with young people, to be used as the main prize in a raffle or auction.
The RVMAA, in conjunction with Kangan Batman TAFE, has developed a Service Training course for recreational vehicles. The national project includes remote-learning facilities via the internet, to enable participants from all regions of Australia to study the various subjects, and to complete the accreditation assignments in an inter-active manner.
The future of Australian-made recreational vehicles - caravans, camper-trailers, motorhomes and camper-vans - is very bright, as more and more people discover the fascinating life-style of travelling around Australia in their own RV.
The RVMAA has adopted a new design for the “Seal of Approval” Badge, which Members fit to each of their new vehicles to demonstrate their membership of the RVMAA, and their commitment to the Codes of Practices and the Code of Ethics.