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Camping and recreational vehicle (RV) sites in Tasmania may be privately owned, or publicly (government) owned, that is, owned by councils or the State (such as in national parks).
Government-owned businesses can have an advantage over private businesses. For example, a camping site that is owned by a council may not have to pay the same taxes, waste removal costs or rent as a privately operated site.
Competitive Neutrality Principles (CNPs) are designed to prevent unfair advantage and ensure that government-owned businesses and private operators compete on fair and equal terms, where it is in the public interest to do so. However, there are some exceptions to the application of CNPs.
Some councils were concerned that the application of CNPs to public-owned camping sites was confusing, was not always being correctly applied and was affecting tourism in some areas.
Tasmanian caravan park owners and operators were concerned that public-owned camping sites were damaging their businesses and sought Government action to make sure CNPs are applied fairly and enforced.
In December 2017, the Premier's Local Government Council (PLGC) agreed to establish a Steering Committee to conduct a Review, with representatives from the Departments of Premier and Cabinet, Treasury and Finance and State Growth. A Stakeholder Reference Group, comprising representatives from local councils, relevant State Government agencies, the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) and industry, provided advice to the Government on the practical implementation of competitive neutrality principles to council-owned recreational vehicle parking and camping facilities.
The outcome of the review was a new policy statement issued by the Department of Treasury and Finance in January 2019, the National Competition Policy: Applying Competitive Neutrality Principles to public camping in Tasmania. The statement is intended to provide clarity and certainty for stakeholders.
The policy statement:
For more information, contact the Department of Treasury and Finance