WA council free camping trial a ‘success’ … but the most popular site will still close

Published: May 8, 2024

The year-long trial of several 48-hour free camping sites in WA’s Harvey Shire has come to an end … with the council declaring it a success.

It has now voted to allow the sites at Brunswick Junction, Harvey and Yarloop to continue … but the most popular of the parking bays, at Australind, has been de-listed following ‘community feedback’.

Shire of Harvey President Michelle Campbell said the 12-month pilot found 72% of visitors spent $100 or more in the Harvey Region.

“We welcomed more than 400 visitors during the RV Friendly Trial and most people spent money on groceries and fuel,” the Shire President said. “Our findings show that free short-stay bays will be a significant boost to the visitor economy and help capture tourists we might not have previously convinced to stop and stay in the Harvey Region.

The Shire’s Destination Harvey Region team will now ensure each site has adequate visitor wayfinding and is strongly marketed to Australia’s growing RV community.

Perth Now reports that the soon-to-be-defunct Australind site drew 379 bookings from April 2023 to February 2024, but RVs will no longer be able to stop there from July 1, 2024, onwards.

The newspaper reports that the motion came as an amendment from deputy shire president, John Bromham, who said it was not practical to have an overnight camping spot in such a highly residential area.

“Australind is a self-sufficient community that doesn’t need the small amounts of income that these bays may bring to its businesses whilst the residents pay the cost to manage and police the sites,” he said.

Cr Craig Carbone agreed saying Australind was a prime waterfront area.

“If we are going to talk about bringing people into the shire with tourism, talk about theme parks, wineries, walk trails or a zoo,” he said. “Putting caravans on an area of prime waterfront like Christina Street is madness …. we have shires right next door to us in Dardanup and Bunbury with RV parking, they can use their facilities.”

However, Perth Now reports that Cr Joe Capogreco was not in favour of removing Australind from the trial area.

“The whole idea was to bring tourists to our shire, and Australind is included in that shire,” he said. “I think we need to have a location in Australind as part of our shire … we should want people to visit Australind as much as they visit Yarloop, Brunswick and Harvey.”

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Short sighted arrogance…

Myself and I presume a lot of others are travelling on a budget.If we don’t have to spend $30-50 per night to lease about50 sq mtrs of ground,then we can afford to buy food,fuel etc in the smaller towns,thus keeping them viable

Spot On Jim.

Well said Jim

Glad to see a WA shire welcome RV overnight stop areas
as we help with a little bit of money that we put to the local economy in recognition for this privilege

Support the towns that support travelers. Don’t go to Australind, There are enough options to avoid that destination.

Australind mentions that they do not need our support.

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