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Departmental circular 1 2019

Two people sitting in front of their caravan

Following this decision, local governments should ensure they accurately apply the statutory definition of ‘park home’ when considering new applications for park home park licences and before approving the placement of a park home in an existing or new caravan park.

The Tribunal's decision

On 19 October 2018, in Henville v City of Armadale [2018] WASAT 108, the Tribunal affirmed a decision by the City of Armadale to refuse an application for a park home park licence.

Critical to the Tribunal's reasoning was the interpretation of the word 'vehicle' as defined in the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Act 1995 (the Act). The Act stipulates that a park home must be a vehicle which is defined in section 5 as a 'conveyance (other than train, vessel or aircraft) capable of being propelled or drawn on wheels'.

The Tribunal found that a park home must therefore be a means of transport and not merely moveable or capable of movement. The Tribunal confirmed that a park home did not need a vehicle licence under the Road Traffic (Administration) Act 2008 due to its size, however the reason for this must be due to its size and not for any other reason.

The Tribunal rejected the applicants' assertion that it was sufficient that a park home 'could be moved within 24 hours of detachment from the services and detachment if the components comprising the park home' and concluded that because the proposed habitations were not capable of being drawn on their own wheels they could not be park homes as properly defined.

Intent of the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Act 1995

The objectives of this Act are to provide for the regulation of caravanning and camping, to control and license caravan parks and camping grounds, to provide for standards in respect of caravan parks and to improve and promote caravanning and camping. 

The aim is to provide affordable but safe holiday options for families and tourists.

It is acknowledged that some people live long term or permanently in caravan parks and it is not intended to change this.  It does not, however, change the fundamental purpose of the park.

A development that is in effect a closed community providing long term housing options is a residential development and should be assessed as such.

Impact on local governments

Local governments should not seek to extend the operation of the Act, in a way not intended by Parliament, to other residential developments.

If a habitation is not a park home then it is likely to require a building permit under the Building Act 2011 and local governments should follow the relevant planning approval processes.

Licence renewals for existing park home parks are not impacted by the Tribunal decision.

Local governments are advised to read the Tribunal decision and seek their own legal advice as necessary.

Queries should be directed to the legislation team on 61 6552 1530 or email legislation@dlgsc.wa.gov.au.

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Page reviewed 30 July 2019