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100% Locally Owned, Independent and Free

Your say: illegal camping, wildlife protection, homlessness crisis and more

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Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

I wonder how many people have noticed the crackdown on ‘campers’ in the past two years? Why this huge uptick in illegal camping during Australia’s most severe cost-of-living crisis on record? Surely, there’s no connection.

These bureaucrats you’ve quoted in these recent articles have made me embarrassed to consider myself the same species. I don’t know how you can state on record that it’s illegal to be homeless in Queensland, waving the $287 threat in the faces of those disobedient van-lifers, followed by a sales pitch about “our wonderful caravan parks”.

So clearly this is about revenue. Anyone who wasn’t chasing a buck from the poor would have solved this whole situation by now.

Did you know us houseless folk have a free camping app with an interactive map? Yeah, I’ve used it all across the east coast and Tasmania, thousands of icons across our land. Guess what happens when you zoom into the Sunshine Coast? A complete black zone. The only icon in sight is the overcrowded space beside Aussie World; our cities and desert land have more welcoming spaces than here.

I grew up here, in Kawana and Maroochydore, and I’ve watched this place change. I live in my bus with my partner to avoid the obscene figures that agents ask of our pockets.

I urge you to redirect that money ‘increasing patrols’ into infinitely cheaper options. For one, a dedicated patch of gravel where the lower classes needn’t worry about teenagers feeling encouraged to throw eggs from their P-plate Audis at our campervan homes.

Throwing more police at a “problem” is so ’80s dystopian film. Get creative guys.

Sam Cameron, Kawana Island

Noosa is so expensive to stay there, it is no wonder people park up for the night.

Don’t forget they help keep the shops open. Without them things would be bad, as our government charges us enough money.

So, if it’s for one night or two, who cares, they bring money into Noosa.

Bart Butta, Bairnsdale, Victoria

I read where Noosa Council has problems with illegal camping. There is a simple solution to the problem: provide an area where people can park.

We are Grey Nomads, 10 years travelling Australia, and have seen this in other parts of Australia. Byron Bay is one: campers, backpackers, campervans, motorhomes and caravans all illegally camping everywhere.

If councils were smart, they would provide camping areas where people can park and camp without causing a problem. Most Grey Nomads and other people travelling in modern RVs don’t use costly caravan parks they do not need.

Homeless people don’t have anywhere to live, sleep or park their vehicles. The housing crisis is responsible for a lot of this and things are getting worse with government telling us councils are responsible for campgrounds.

It’s time all councils sorted out proper parking and camping areas where people can park and camp legally.

David Rickertt, Rockhampton

We are campervan retirees who have travelled a lot of Australia in the last two years. We have been in many free camps and paid parks. We have never seen “groups of campers getting together, drinking and becoming rowdy”. On the contrary we have commented many times on how people keep to themselves and are much less social since the dreaded COVID.

We have a fully self-contained van and are responsible older travellers.

The cost of staying in a park is extortionate, paying up to $70 per night. This is not sustainable on the pension or self-funded retirement payments.

Maybe council providing some decent low-cost overnight camping with strict limitations – such as a 48-hour stay, no setting up of tents, must be self-contained and getting a permit so as to keep an eye on numbers – should be looked into.

In Bunbury they have two free camps in parking areas close to town, but not in town. They are managed via the permit system for up to 48 hours of stay and the ranger does come and check each day. It worked.

So instead of shutting down and punishing the decent, responsible, unselfish van traveller, make the system viable and satisfactory to all. Open up the showground to campers with a minimal fee of $10 to $15 per night for a powered site. Give a pensioner a free site and they can volunteer to look after the place.

We have seen many of these types of set-ups in Victoria and they work. The showground that is usually empty nine days out of 10 actually can make a little money.

Maclean Showground is in a magnificent spot on the Clarence River. It has a dump spot and toilet facilities. It charges $12 per night and it is always full.

Be more proactive and welcoming to your town. We spend on average $200-plus every town we visit. Times that by all the travellers and you have a decent amount into your business coffers.

We are travellers sick of the greed of caravan parks. Some we have stayed in for $50-plus per night have not had any money invested in over 50 years. Rundown facilities, clotheslines that are broken, no slabs, no maintenance. But because mean councils force the traveller into these parks you have to pay ridiculous fees for a very basic car park at best. It is a free-for-all in the parks, there are no controls on what you are made to pay.

There are many ways to fix this problem, without attacking law-abiding, tax-paying Australians.

Julie and Steve Stafford, Maclean, NSW

The parking regulation from 10pm-4am initiated by Noosa Council is unlawful.

The Human Rights Act 2019 protects people’s freedom of movement and states that any limitation must be reasonable and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.

Local residents objecting to people parking in these locations does not provide council sufficient justification to limit human rights of these people, especially if it has not provided an alternative safe parking area.

William Myers, Buderim

Developers are always telling us “we teeter on the brink of a crucial tipping point, this comprehensive plan could serve as a lifeline”, while land, the only habitat for koalas, kangaroos and so much more, is endlessly cleared for more housing, roads and services.

Seems that dollars always come first.

What’s the point of trying to “protect” our wildlife when it has nowhere else to live? Surely, we have to call a stop at some point; just how many more people do we want living here on the Sunshine Coast? Just look at what’s happening on the Gold Coast.

Paul Prociv, Mount Mellum

No way should such a large development be approved until suitable infrastructure is in place, in particular an adequate rail service between Nambour and Brisbane, and a duplication of the Bruce Highway.

I imagine the Sunshine Coast University Hospital would need to be enlarged as it appears it does not meet the needs of the current population.

John Robinson, Doonan

As a nation we need to pray that this week’s national cabinet meeting between the Prime Minister and state premiers provides the housing crisis response akin to responding to a national level disaster.

It needs to be big. It needs to be bold. It needs to be fast. It needs to be brave.

For context, the homelessness we are seeing and feeling today has arisen as a result of the failure of all levels of government, and their bureaucracy, for a generation. Intervention is overdue.

This crisis is already on a path that will take the next generation to solve. Read that again.

We need radical change, radical action, and we need it today. That is the mandate of the Prime Minister and state premiers. Our leaders need to table their courage.

So what does that look like?

Firstly, let’s stop thinking any single or collective government can actually deliver the volume of housing we need. Public and private money and minds are needed.

Over the next 20 years the government will struggle to supply the desperately needed social and affordable (government) housing for which they are directly responsible. All commitments to date guarantee the undersupply will expand.

This means we need to rapidly increase supply through development, including build to rent (BTR). BTR is not an isolated solution either, especially when the opportunity to produce supply through BTR is the current strategy being relied on by the government for the delivery of their social and affordable housing promises.

The real solution lies in ensuring properties are produced for supply for the general market. That means encouraging and supporting residential property investment. Reverse the trend of decades of over-taxing and policy that discourages new rental supply – an actual contributing cause to this crisis.

Supply is hard in any market, much less with the cost of construction, interest rates and APRA limitation on lenders (reducing sentiment and capacity for purchasers) and prescriptive and complex planning regulations.

The ‘market’ will respond if government will create supportive levers instead of the incessant inhibitors.

Residential property investors provide high levels of new supply to the market. Residential property investors are mostly everyday people. Everyday people who take risks to provide rental housing for over seven million Australians. But they have been leaving in droves over the last five years. Producing new properties in this country, in this state, and in this region is teetering on impossible because of the government cash grabs, policies and penalties for being an investor. These people are generally not the “rich” folk they are labelled as. They are not people capable of absorbing each of the government grabs for more from them. So they have simply stopped investing. Developers have simply given up trying to bring new supply because it is just too hard.

So what happened? Well, we don’t have enough new properties being built for the amount of people that need a home.

With the lack of supply, when the residential property investors sell up because the prohibiting factors to investment property ownership have become too great, the majority of the properties they have sold are being purchased by owner-occupiers, meaning fewer rentals and tighter and tighter competition.

The rental caps that continue to be bandied about are one of the most short-sighted solutions we could possibly consider. You can guarantee more investors selling out and fewer entering the market when you create more regulations atop their private risk taking, and a further exacerbation of homelessness.

Let’s support new, considered development, let’s support more residential investment. The evidence is clear for those that are willing to listen.

My home, the Sunshine Coast, Australia’s ninth largest urban centre and apparently Australia’s ‘smartest’ city, has seen those that are homeless or about to be homeless double in the last 12 months. Within the next 12 months, more than 1 per cent of the population will be homeless – a horrifying fact that means we are unlikely to see it resolved in our lifetime.

Consequences are real. They are here. It’s time to stop looking away. It’s time to stop pretending homelessness is caused by the individuals. It’s time to speak up. It’s time to be angry.

Mal Cayley, Homes for Everyone founder

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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