Community & Business

5 June, 2024

Malanda caravan park now in new manager’s hands

MALANDA Falls Caravan Park will have new managers for the next year and possibly three years after that following a decision by Tablelands Regional Council to endorse a management agreement for the facility which has been the subject of a number of unsuccessful attempts to lease it out.

Malanda caravan park now in new manager’s hands - feature photo

“It’s great to see this agreement in place so we can secure the future of this important Malanda business,” Deputy Mayor Cr Dave Bilney said.

Cr Kevin Cardew was a lone voice against the recommendation by officers to award the 12-month management agreement contract to Naomi and Elijah Dunstan for $141,487.50 plus 10% of gross revenue commission, and allow for an option of a further three years.

Cr Cardew’s opposition is based on his view that the council should move away from running caravan parks, citing annual losses and the funds required to maintain and upgrade facility at the parks.

The report revealed that revenue generated by the Malanda Falls Caravan Park over the past six financial years averaged $363,500, with the park incurring an average annual loss of $114,074.

While he agreed with the 12-month contract, he would not support the option of a further three years. 

“I won’t be supporting this – I don’t mind the management agreement being for 12 months but another three years after that?” he said.

“Cr Bilney was concerned about what expansion into the rail trail was going to cost us – that’s a drop in the ocean compared to what the Malanda Caravan Park has cost this council over the years and it’s not going to get any cheaper going forward.

“We’ve had a … review done and it asks why we’re involved in caravan parks and we own a couple of them so, in my mind, we should be really looking hard at what we’re going to do with these caravan parks – not only Malanda but the Tinaburra one as well.

“Going for a four-year option is ludicrous.

“We’re getting failing assets everywhere – we have to start looking hard at our ageing assets and how we’re going to manage them’ 

“(We need to) take notice of the money that we have paid for these consultants for the reports we get – and start listening to their advice.”

But Cr Bilney said a longer term would provide security of tenure for the managers.

“They need to know where they’re heading – if it’s a 12-month thing every time, there is so much uncertainty,” he said.

“I think the former caretakers were placed in that situation the last three or four years so they know what that uncertainty feels like.

“The other thing I’d like to think that council will consider is putting a bit of investment in that park down the track.”

CEO Gary Rinehart reminded Cr Cardew that the council had previously unanimously voted to keep the land as a caravan park.

“Never say never – the only reason I voted for that was that we were coming into the last of the term and we needed to have some provision in place to keep the thing going …. but never is never for me,” Cr Cardew replied.

Cr Bilney said the new arrangement would include quarterly reports to council on marketing activities, asset maintenance and the condition of assets which would help council be informed as to what upgrades were needed at the park.

The managers could also now review the annual fee and provide recommendations to council.

In a council report, it was noted that an analysis show that entering into the contract arrangement with the new managers would result “in savings of $100,875 in the annual budget with the same occupancy rates”.

Cr Bilney took the time during the meeting to publicly thank Rob and Janine Reilly for their long association with council and the caravan park.

“They have done a wonderful job over nine years,” he said.


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