This is my BLOG page, here I can drop comments on any subject, things that I think are important, or totally unimportant...you may well disagree, this is good, it would be a sad old world if we all agreed..lol.
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Global Warming

My thoughts on Global Warming can be summed up quite simply; I agree that mankind needs to get its act together and stop polluting, I disagree that the earth is warming rapidly and that this warming is caused totally by mankind...I feel that climate changes are a natural occurrence and have been happening for a long time, and will continue to happen.
I recall my school days being taught that we were heading for another Ice Age!.
My problem, and I'm sure I am not alone here, is the masses of information, contradictory information that is available today...many eminent scientists are arguing publicly...if scientists are unable to agree how can a mere mortal like me?!!

An example;...the Great Barrier Reef, close to home for us, it lays just off the Queensland coast, a days drive from home.
For the past number of years we have been told that it is in danger of disappearing but UNESCO  recently decided that the reef is not in danger and that the Australian Government is doing everything necessary to ensure it will be a round for sometime yet.


Andrew Bolt, a leading media commentator is often described a  'skeptic', it appears that anyone who dares to question the scientists is called that, Bolt has, on numerous occasions, stated that the claims that the earth is warming is just wrong...it did go through a period where temperatures increased but, according to him, there has been no appreciable increase in the past 16 years!!..and the really odd part is that the 'Global warming' brigades have been shatteringly silent. Tim Flannery, one 'loud' climate change crusader hasn't even responded to comments he made in 2007 regarding the building of new dams "...even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems..." of course since 2007 nearly every major dam in the country has at some stage overflowed!!...I'm but a mere mortal.
Update...June 24 2015...UNESCO rules that the Gt Barrier Reef should not be on any endangered list.


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Plastic Bag Bans
Plans to ban plastic grocery shopping bags has been making news recently....at least that’s what we are hearing. Now, there's no doubt that plastic shopping bags are an environmental nightmare, especially when they end up in the bay....authorities tell us that some 40 % of Logger Head turtles in Moreton Bay would have digested some form of plastic during their lives...the majority of this plastic is plastic shopping bags...or 'single use' bags as they are called.
It is clear therefore that something should be done.
My problem is actually in the word 'ban'...an example;...South Australia has had a state wide 'ban' on grocery single use bags for some time now, we found out the hard way during a recent visit to that state, our visit to the supermarket to get the groceries caused some surprise when the 'check-out' chick commenced scanning our groceries and pushing them along the counter until they were almost falling on the floor...the looks on our faces must have said it all...she explained the we should have brought our own recyclable bags with us...instead however she had a ready supply of plastic bags available for us to use for just 10 cents each!!.
Not exactly a ban we think.
Incidentally, as we were to remain in SA for a few more weeks and we would be needing more groceries we went into a 'cheap shop' and brought a roll of 200 bags for $4.99.
So..this 'ban' will be quite lucrative for some it appears.


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Television advertising - and ethics

Many people detest TV advertising...well, not so much the ads but the frequency and number of them. I accept that advertising is primarily how a television network earns money, a necessarily evil one might say....have you noticed a slight change lately?...have you noticed that TV station promos appear more commonly and appear to be longer...ie, 'sneak previews' which sort of infer that you are privileged and you are seeing something special...too bad if you have no interest at all huh?....but most importantly did you know that you are going to see many more of these sorts of things?...from the beginning of June 2015 the advertising lobby was successful in having the rules changed...they wanted to be able to show more ads but this was disallowed, the stations can only show 15 minutes of ads each hour...however, program promotions ('sneak previews' included) are no longer considered to be advertisements and are no longer restricted....so get comfy, there's more to come!!
If that's not bad enough the TV ad execs have found a devious way to increase even this affront to our senses; what now if one of these promos were to include an actor sipping on a prominently displayed bottle of coke, or eating a Big Mac?...ad or promo??....I have seen a couple already!
Have you ever noticed the number of  'conditions' relating to TV (and other) ads today?...next time you are watching take notice how how common it is to see tiny, almost illegible writing across the bottom of the screen, it may be something along the lines of....'Sale price applies to RRP only and is not available at some stores... more information can be found on salesucker.com'...and of course you you need to be a speed reader to comprehend this.....even worse but also quite common is a tiny asterisk and at the bottom of the screen; 'T & C's on salesucker.com'
It seems that we are slowly being swallowed in advertising....its appearing everywhere. At our local mall the other day I saw, for the first time, an advertising decal had been applied to a handrail on the escalator....for the full length!!
And, still on the subject of television...why, oh why do stations continually over-run shows?...many of the current mob of reality shows are listed on the program guide to finish at say, 8:30 pm only to go on until 8:45 or 8:50!!..I think its to make you stay watching thus preventing you from going to another channel.
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Surveys and opinion polls.

We have all seen them; surveys and polls, for example, 'A survey has found that 78 % of males over the age of 42 prefer to use 'X' brand of toothpaste.'
Or sometimes, on a more serious subject; 'If an election was run this weekend Tony Abbott could expect to be re-elected'

Have you ever stopped to consider for a moment just where the information comes from?....I mean how many people were asked?...where were they when asked?, what ages were they? etc.

The first one utilizes a tried and proven method of giving some degree of credibility, 78 % sounds more credible than 75 or 80 %, 42 years old is more believable than 40 or 50.
And consider this;...how the heck would they know?...when you, our your other half buy a tube of toothpaste would the check-out chick ask who its for and how old is he?
The truth be known of course is that this is just another way of advertising, sometimes it appears that the advertising industry thinks most of us are brain dead and will just blindly accept what we see or hear.

So that type is easy to ignore but the election poll could have greater ramifications....if enough people 'hear' how others might vote could we be influenced?...possibly so.
Again  what was the demographic of the poll respondents?...perhaps the pollsters stood outside a Coalition dinner and asked the attendees as they came out!.
My point is that rarely are we allowed to know how the survey or poll was conducted. Next time we see or hear of a survey or poll just think about how it might have been conducted....and how many people were actually included.

Survey Monkey is an American online poll company, they will run a poll on anything you care to name...how many respondents does Survey Monkey think you need to get 'an accurate estimation'?
This is copied from their website;
So how many is enough? Well there are roughly 150 million men in the United States, so to estimate a population of that size you’ll need 385 American men. Using that logic if you asked around 27 Australian men you would have 'an accurate estimation' for a survey or poll for the entire male population of this country!!
To read for yourself all about Survey Monkey click here.

Authors Note....see more on surveys and polls and Australian Politics below

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Gay 'Marriage'

The subject of legalizing gay marriage, or as it appears to be called today, same sex marriage, has been very much in the news lately..to the point that the major political party's have spent a excessive amount of time on it, perhaps at the expense of other more important issues.
For my money I don’t really care what gay and lesbian people do providing they do it in private, I do however think that the word marriage means a union between male and female, as nature intended.
If it is deemed 'natural' that members of the same sex can engage in sex because they have done so for eons do we then extend that thought process and adopt similar views with pedophilia or bestiality at sometime in the future?

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move down page to gain more depth
Made in China

'Made in China'....if you been around for a few years you will be familiar with the term 'Made in Japan' ....back in the 1960's and 1970's many products appeared on our market produced in Japan, they were, by the most part greatly inferior to products made in Australia, England and most other western countries, items marked 'Made in Japan' were considered to be of low quality (but priced to match) and generally avoided....that of course has changed dramatically...as Japan improved its manufacturing processes and adopted a quality control regime items from that country are often sought after.

Fast forward now to beyond 2000....can the old 'Made in Japan' mantra be applied to products coming to us from China??
To some degree I think so, but with some differences.
Back when Japan started it's 'Industrial revolution' it did this by copying many western countries products, it became very skilled in doing that to the point now that many items are as good as, in some cases better, than the original.
The China story however is quite different; primarily due to lower wages for production personnel, many large well known western companies have closed up shop and moved their manufacturing plants to mainland China.
In almost all instances this has resulted in local job losses.
It is often stated that material currently being produced in China is done so under the watchful eye of the parent company, for example if refrigerator manufacturer X set up shop in Beijing it would commence manufacturing under the complete control of X's production team from the original country....this is not the case in most situations....western companies have very little control over the way their company can operate in China.

Now, it is my experience that a large proportion of items being produced in China, regardless of what brand name might be on the packaging, is of inferior quality to that of the same product as it was originally made in its original manufacturing plants.
And the really annoying thing, as I see it,  is that despite these items being made in a country where operating costs are greatly reduced the item still sells under similar prices to that what applied when that same item was made in Australia, England or wherever.
Of course there are exceptions to that rule and I sit in hope that someone can actually point one out.

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Sports events entry costs.

For a family to attend a sporting event in our capital cities they will need to pay a considerable amount to get in the gates.

Now, when I was growing up my favourite team players were dedicated sportsmen and women, they would have regular jobs during the week; taxi drivers, carpenters, police officers, one of mine was a dentist...they loved their sport and they trained regularly, but they played sport only during the weekend, they received very little, if any pay for playing...they loved playing.
The entry fee to the sports fields reflected this.

How different today....salary capping, millions are changing hands. You can bet on who gets the first goal, by how much a team wins....but most concerning; you can bet on which team will loose!!
Can you see just how easy it would be for a player to deliberately miss the posts when converting a try? Or a cricketer to 'miss' a catch?...we have all heard of the corruption surrounding sport today....and not just the players...from the top down, re FIFA!!
How was this ever allowed to happen? Once betting applied to horses and greyhounds, now there is little that you cannot bet on...and we hear that gambling is  a blight  on society!
Our governments appear to have dropped the ball on gambling or am I sounding like a 'nanny state' supporter?....comments actively sought...
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Copyright ©2016 Paul F Greig
The Website of Paul and Pam Greig - Queensland Australia
Australian politics

I know its easy to say this after the event but I wasn’t particularly surprised when Donald Trump won the 2016 United States presidency.
I found it quite interesting that few, if any, of the so called 'insiders', the experts in our community and the media polls  predicted a Donald Trump win...Barry Cassidy on ABC TV emphatically rejected Trump and  predicted a Hillary Landslide. 'Newsweek' that authoritative US magazine actually ran, and distributed, an edition with a cover image of the 'First female US President' before the election was even completed!.







Is it not hard to see a similar situation happen here in Australia; a dramatic swing away from the traditional parties to something like 'The Shooters and Fishers' or 'One Nation'?

For some time now I have watched the news and cringed, I see examples of just how much out of touch with 'grass roots' Australians the major parties have come...examples;
  • The government tells us that we are receiving too much in the way of benefits, too much is being paid out for social security, no argument there, we simply cannot continue this way, why then did our federal treasurer, who tells us to tighten our belts accept tax payers to mind his children, or claim an 'away from concession' while staying in his wives house in Canberra.

  • In 2016 Australia had a national census, it was carried out digitally and it was a debacle, poorly planned it simply failed....the non-elected public servant in charge of running the census enjoys a salary of over  $700'000 per year!!

  • In Brisbane massive issues continue to be experienced with the metro railways with many services canned, why?...there are not enough train drivers! Another non-elected public servant charged with running the train system also gets almost $700'000 each year!
  • Authors update note; The Australian, November 23 2016 reports that PM Turnbull has defended his decision to pay his secretary Drew Clarke an annual salary of $691'200 'because he is an outstanding Chief of Staff' he said.  Mr Clarke's astronomical salary is almost $200'000 more than that of the Prime Minister.

  • Our ship building yards in Whyalla SA and our railway rolling stock building yards in Maryborough QLD sit idle, our new navy vessels and our new trains are made overseas.

  • Our motor vehicle industry dies a slow death, our government fleet, the vehicles owned by Australian taxpayers, is made overseas.
  • The nations most popular motor vehicle (Jan 2017), the Toyota HiLux is made in Thailand.

Now it will be argued that many companies have moved their operations to some overseas locations due to lower production costs, ie, lower wages, and I accept that any company should be looking at reducing costs, however, the time will come when those workers in those countries will also expect to have a higher standard of living...what then??

During the US election campaign supporters of the Trump side were labeled as rednecks and not well educated and would know nothing about running the country.....watch this space.


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Show ground camping and Caravan Park Camping

Many rural community show ground trusts are allowing short term camping....this makes a lot of sense as in most cases show grounds will sit unused except when the annual show or perhaps a rodeo or camp draft occurs, ongoing fees, such as maintenance can be considerable. Showgrounds almost always have facilities for short term stays, they have electric power boxes and water taps installed for the use of carnival folk, rodeo participants etc, it makes sense then that these facilities should be used during the times of the year the show ground would sit vacant.
This style of differs from what you would expect to find in commercial caravan parks, there will probably be no concrete annex pads, no play grounds for kids and usually no camp kitchen...show ground camping is considered 'basic'.
Not everyone is happy for show grounds to be used for camping however, understandably caravan park operators can see it as a threat, some park operators have gone to extraordinary lengths to stop the practice, often they have done this anonymously....  read the link below to read of a struggle Kendall had back in 2012.

http://www.camdencourier.com.au/story/163535/community-outrage-over-showground-camping-developer-contribution-fees/

Many caravan parks around the Australian coast increase site fees dramatically during holiday periods, they will justify this by ststing that it is during these times of population increase that they make their money...using this logic why is it that Coles, Woolworth's or Macdonalds maintain the same costs, year around?...click on the image below to see just how much one park, at Umina Beach, north of Sydney, NSW will charge during the Christmas (2016) period.
Note that during June this same caravan park charges $33 per night for a powered site. It costs $20 per night in the Kendall show grounds, all year. Admittedly the facilities offered at Kendall are not nearly on the same scale as Umina Beach but water, power, clean amenities are offered.
 
Umina Beach CP.JPG
 
Ashford Caravan Park.....once a nice place.

During our 'Sydney 4 Xmas' (Return) Trip we stopped in the little town of Ashford, about 60 km north of Inverell, New South Wales. We have often stopped there before, it has a nice little caravan park with very good rates, just $13 per night.
Unfortunately some quite unsavory people had turned this park into a mess!...we decided to do something about it so I emailed the  owners of the caravan park, the Inverell Shire Council.
Email sent January 12 2017.... Read below.
And the reply received.....January 16th 2017
To whom it may concern;

Ashford Caravan Park concerns.

Dear Sir or Madam.

I am writing to you to express a concern.
My wife and I are members of the 'Grey Nomad' fraternity. We regularly visit the Inverell Shire as we travel through to other parts of the country. We are very appreciative of the fact that the Inverell Shire offers a number of low cost locations available for us to camp with our recreational vehicle, Pindari and Copeton dams, the small towns of Tingha, Yetman  and Ashford to mention but a few.

We, along with other like-minded travellers, tend to spend quite some time in the Inverell shire area, fishing, prospecting and sightseeing are just some of our activities.
Our concern relates to the town of Ashford, in particular the Ashford caravan park.
We are regular visitors to Ashford and often stay in the caravan park, we have been doing this for a number of years and for us the location is good, the caravan sites are level and generous in size with easy access to power and water, the amenities block is good and the gas bbq is greatly appreciated.
Ashford is also within an easy drive to the magnificent Kwiambal National Park and Macintyre Falls and Pindari Dam, I would imagine this part of the state would see many visitors each year.
It is with some sadness therefore that we see the Ashford caravan park fall into such a state…visitors are greeted with a very unsavoury array of neglected caravans and other recreational vehicles, we see unregistered motor vehicles, discarded, unwanted old appliances, multiple sites being occupied by obviously the same residents, unleashed animals and long unkempt grass.
We note that the grounds are likely maintained to the best of the groundsman's ability but suspect the presence of discarded items, annexe ropes and other obstacles are preventing a satisfactory result…based on the  length of grass growing around some caravans it appears some residents  have been there for a very long time.
During our recent 2 day stay we observed a number of caravan travellers drive into the park only to drive out again without staying; we suspect that the view that currently greets visitors at the Ashford Caravan Park would result in this being a common occurrence.
It was also during this stay when high temperatures occurred that we observed a park resident place a water sprinkler on the roof of his caravan for a long period of time  in some sort of attempt to cool it down…we doubt that council would appreciate that happening.

We acknowledge the fact that the small town of Ashford today has few remaining businesses that will benefit from passing travellers but as mentioned we do tend to spend some time in the area and will invariably spend an appreciable sum of money in larger locations such as the town of Inverell.

In finishing I would like to make a suggestion for consideration; it is my opinion that the problem, as I see it in Ashford is that there appears to be no maximum time limit for residents staying in the caravan park, the low site fees would, and apparently does, attract long term stayers and this is unfortunately to the detriment of this once attractive caravan park…it is a my suggestion therefore that council considers placing a time limit on residency in the park…in our travels we regularly visit similar caravan parks and camping spots where a maximum of 14 days is allowed, policing of this requirement should result in regular site vacating and so allowing the grounds to be maintained correctly  and also preventing the accumulation of rubbish.

Yours sincerely
Paul F Greig
pfgreig@yahoo.com


Good Morning Paul,
                                       I am in receipt of your concerns regarding the subject matter. I conducted an inspection yesterday, and can concur with your observations. As of today, the contractors responsible for the upkeep of Ashford Caravan Park have been relieved of their duties, and Council will resume maintenance of the area. I assure you that you will notice a remarked difference on your next stay.

The licence for the Park allows for short term stays, and permanent sites. Unfortunately, a couple of permanents near the entrance to the park have created some squalid conditions. That also was addressed yesterday, and an ultimatum was given. The management will now be scrutinised by Council staff at Ashford which will return the area to its former condition.

Thank you for being proactive and as stated, hopefully you will

Phil Sutton
Phil Sutton
Environmental Compliance Coordinator  l  Civil & Environmental Services
                      
                        Inverell  PO Box 138  Inverell  NSW  2360
                           Shire Council   Tel 02 6728 8202 | Fax 02 6728 8277 l Phil.Sutton@inverell.nsw.gov.au


Celebrate NSW Bike Week at Inverell's BIG BIKE RIDE, Sun 18 Sept - 10am, Campbell Park
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Calliope River Camp -  Central Qld - 2017
The Website of Paul and Pam -
Queensland, Australia.
January 22nd 2018


Dear Mr Greig
Yes, we agree about the problem created by some imported vehicles having awnings, slide-outs and the like on the opposite side to what is the norm in Australia.
Most of these are brought in to this country by private importers and through what we consider to be a flaw in the law, it has been quite easy to do so despite the fact that most do not comply with Australian Design rules (ADRs). Legislation is nearing completion to close these loopholes however the ADRs do not include things like the positioning of awnings and slide-outs, only items involved in road usage.
As you indicate, many then put a door on the left hand side for ease of registration but then self-assessment of other matters lets them slip through the system. Miraculously there are many registered that do not even have the door added.
Caravan Park owners if they know of the potential space problems on sites would or should normally allocate a site to suit however in the majority of cases they won't be aware until they go out into their park and see the offending situation as the owners of these particular types of units have taken it upon themselves to site the unit as they please, not as the park is designed.
There are parks which have been able to either alter some sites or incorporate it when building new parks but of course that can be, in practice, only a fraction of the 3000+ parks in Australia.
As regards the EZYTRAIL camper situation, the problem is far more widespread in camper trailers and growing. But all the law actually covers is their size in towing configuration.
Consumer demand is the cause as camper trailer buyers want to add-on more, they don't think about others and when disclosing it to a park operator when booking, get quite upset when told they will have to book and pay for two sites regardless of the fact that that is what some of them take up.
The problem has been growing, the industry is aware of it, many parks are reacting to the situation but the jury is still out on what is the short-term answer.
At a time when parks are not full it's not a problem but at peak times it certainly is.
A bit more thinking and a lot more courtesy by minority would go a long way towards helping but its work-in-progress from the industry's position.
Regards
Ron Chapman
CEO
Caravanning Queensland

 
Imported RV's....problems ahead?

Despite there being over 100 caravan and recreational vehicle manufacturers in Australia there is quite an industry in their importation also.
In my experience the imported RV's appear to be quite ok...I have heard of some instances where the design of some caravans, particularly from Europe, have encountered issues on our rugged Outback roads, mainly related to their low ground clearance, however I am also aware of some Australian made units, supposedly 'off road' , suffering  too.

Many larger motor homes are imported from the USA, particularly larger fifth wheeler designs, these vehicles having come from a country where vehicles drive on the right hand side of the road, require some modification prior to registration...a main entry door will need to be installed into the  left (near) side and the main electricity and plumbing systems may need modification.
A additional issue with these RV's is that invariably they will have a roll-out awning and or a slide-out section on the right hand (off) side and it is here where I see an issue.
A typical Australian caravan park site comprises three sections or spaces, a space for the caravan, motor home or camper, a space for an awning or annexe and a space to park the tow vehicle, should there be one.
The common positioning of these spaces is for the RV on the left, the awning/annexe in the middle and the tow vehicle to the right. If now an imported RV is positioned on a site and the awning or slide-out section is utilised  it will likely encroach on the space reserved for the neighboring tow vehicle, should there be one. I have been witness to such a situation at a caravan park in NSW...the park manager was called in to settle the argument and the imported fifth wheeler owner was requested he fold up his right hand side awning.
The park manager confided in me that there have been several similar instances and he was at a loss as to what to do...he explained that, unless he is told  he is unaware of any particular RV's design layout until it is set up on a site.

Just recently I was watching a four wheel drive show on TV and a segment was run on a new Chinese imported camper, an image of which appears below...note that this unit has expansions on both sides a potential to further compound the issue as mentioned above.

In January 2018 I put these concerns to Caravanning Queensland, the association of caravan parks in that state...below the image is the reply.

Following Mr Chapmans response I decided to contact Ezytrail Campers and seek their opinion, initially I located a Mr Sagrys Aelbregt, shown as being Ezytrail Marketing Manager on a Linkitin page.
Mr Aelbregt however was quite indignant of my 'intrusion' stating that he no longer worked for Ezytrail....I then sent the following  directly to Ezytrail via their website.

Dear Sir,
It was with some interest that I saw a review on a Airlie GT EZYHAB caravan prototype during a four wheel drive television show during the weekend…this attractive unit was very well presented, however my interest is related to the design of this RV, namely the fact that it has partitions that extend from both sides of the unit.
As a seasoned caravaner and a regular caravan park visitor I am of the opinion that owners of the Ezytrail Airlie GT EZYHAB can expect some significant issues should they decide to stay in a caravan park…I'm sure you would be aware that the 'typical' Australian caravan park is designed so residents are allocated a site consisting of three distinct spaces; a space for the caravan or motorhome, a space for the awning/annexe and a space for the tow vehicle, commonly the tow vehicle is parked between the awning/annexe and the next door neighbours RV…clearly a Ezytrail Airlie GT EZYHAB will not allow this configuration…the extension on the right hand side will encroach on the neighbouring site preventing the parking the neighbours tow vehicle, should there be one.
I am therefore curious as to what information in relation to this issue is passed on to your customers…are they informed of this anomaly and are they subsequently advised that it is possible that they might be required to pay for not one but two caravan sites, as I am advised by the Caravan Parks Association?

No reply was received.

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