Victorian caravan manufacturing can’t avoid lockdown

ByTim ScottAugust 10, 2020
Victorian caravan manufacturing can’t avoid lockdown

The Caravan Industry Victoria (CIV) reports that the Victorian caravan manufacturing can’t avoid lockdown.

Following a hectic week of lobbying the Victorian Government for a possible exemption from the newly imposed lockdown, it’s not been good news. The CIV is the trade body representing the Victorian caravan industry.

In a statement to its members, the CIV Chief Executive Rob Lucas said that despite their best efforts, manufacturing would have to cease immediately, if it hadn’t already, as per the introduction of the lockdown directive.

Mr Lucas’ statement said, “Unfortunately, our application for exemption has been denied. We have now exhausted all of our arguments. As such, all of our manufacturing members will need to remain closed for the six weeks of Stage Four metropolitan Melbourne restrictions [which are] part of the Victorian ‘State of Disaster’ as declared by the Victorian Government last week.”

In terms of its service and repair members, the CIV thought there may be some light in the tunnel but that too was dashed. According to the Permitted Business List that was published by the Victorian Government on August 5, 2020, that altered the position from a list of only two days’ earlier in relation to who could operate. It appears that the alteration means service and repair facilities are also to close for the six-week shutdown period, putting further strain on the industry to at least keep those workshops open, customers’ needs fulfilled and money coming in.

“In this new list, there was a greater number of permitted industry sectors allowed to operate,” Mr Lucas added hopefully. “Unfortunately, there were industry sectors and categories of industries that were removed. As of 3pm today [Friday], we have been informed by VACC that vehicle service and repair members are to close for the six weeks lockdown period, except where they are providing services to essential and permitted industries,” Mr Lucas said.

As of Monday, August 10, 2020, events are still not finally settled, however, “This now calls into question whether our service and repair members in metropolitan Melbourne can stay open. I have made delegations to various Government departments all afternoon today to seek an urgent clarification for our metropolitan service and repair members.”

Mr Lucas concluded, “On the basis of the VACC ruling, I must inform our metropolitan service and repair members they should prepare to close from next week subject to a positive decision of the government and further advice from us. Please note all regional members are to continue to operate under Stage Three restrictions.”

The CIV is awaiting all these verbal government directives to be delivered in writing, possibly today.

“While we are working to keep everyone safe and COVID free we all need to be mindful of the long-term effects of the shutdown on members livelihoods, which are at stake. The Association is very conscious of this and is offering significant support for all members.” We will bounce back, as an industry, we are very resilient we just want to make sure customers of our members are patient through this difficult period,” Mr Lucas said.

It’s hard to quantify the impact of this major disruption, across the board in Victoria, but it’s going to be difficult on the ground to navigate business decisions, never mind managing customers’ expectations. The caravan sector was beginning to come back to life following the early effects of the COVID-19 situation seemingly relenting slightly.

While it’s incredibly frustrating for everyone in the middle of this ever-changing situation it’s best to remember the core issue here is to keep everyone as healthy as possible. Let’s all try to offer a level of understanding as people and businesses come to terms with what may be life-changing decisions.