Currently throughout the country, there is no clear definition of what self-containment means and this can become quite confusing for RVers as to whether their RV meets the requirements for a freedom camp.
Each local authority imposes its own definition and on top of that, there are the differing definitions within various RV organisations.
For example, at the time of drafting, Cooktown has defined self-containment to mean that an RV must have an ‘Inbuilt’ grey water tank fitted to the underside or inside of the RV to be able to use its freedom camping site.
As our Club sees it, self-containment must be seen as a Code of Conduct and NOT a Code of Equipment.
Disposal of grey water on site is up to the controlling authority to determine. Where the controlling authority will permit you to dispose grey water on site, it MUST be done in such a manner that it has no impact on the next person using the site one hour after you have left.
If it is a Code of Conduct, the ACCL believes even a camper-trailer should be allowed to use the site but at all times must abide by the requirements of the site’s controlling authority.
New Zealand are ahead of us in this regard as they have Freedom Camping Legislation as well as self-containment standards which carry the force of law.
The ACCL sees both sides of the argument on self-containment. However, the principal issues should be how it can be controlled to alleviate the mess left behind.
The ACCL has a Code of Conduct for self-containment under its ACCESS (Australian Caravan Club Environmentally Safe Scheme) scheme.
Membership of ACCESS does not give a member a right to camp anywhere. Those rights are restricted to the laws of various federal, state and local government. In fact, ACCESS has been approved by all state and territory governments.
Our members who join ACCESS receive an ACCESS Compliant sticker as an indicator that the RV operator has accepted to abide by a Code of Conduct and will engage in lawful and environmentally acceptable practices.
Under the ACCESS Code of Conduct, an RV is only required to have the level of containment prescribed for the specific area being occupied. If it is not mandatory for grey water to be contained, the RV does not require capacity for grey water containment in that particular area.
Members of the ACCL who wish to apply for participation in the ACCESS Code of Conduct, agree to abide by the following conditions –
- To leave any area they use as clean or cleaner than when they arrived.
- To abide by all posted requirements of the relevant authority regarding occupancy of the selected parking area or campsite, including any requirement to obtain permission and pay any fees.
- In parking their RV, to consider the requirements of other travellers in, or intending to use the area.
- To contain and ultimately correctly dispose of all rubbish and not to permit illegal or inconsiderate drainage of any substance, including black or grey water.
- To stay in any Rest Area, authorised campsite, or other camping area, for a maximum of the authorised period, or the period that their RV can be self- contained, if this is a requirement (whichever is the lesser). If required, their containment capability can be re-established by correct disposal of any or all forms of contained waste.
- Not to establish a “camp” outside their RV, except in an approved camp site.
- In all respects be considerate of local community facilities and preserve the continuing privilege of future travellers to use these facilities.
- To display the ACCESS sticker on either the door or a prominent position on the rear of their RV, and to hold a completed copy of the ACCESS Code of Conduct ready for inspection, should it be requested.
ACCL members wishing to apply to join ACCESS should log onto the website and follow the prompts under the On the Road / ACCESS tabs.