Parkies falter at first hurdle in caravan park stoush

PERMANENT residents at a Hervey Bay tourist park fighting against the owner's decision to pass on electricity charges have failed at the first hurdle.

Residents at the Australiana Top Tourist Park at Hervey Bay, which has about 30 manufactured homes, collectively applied to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to challenge the park owner's ability to charge them the cost of providing utility infrastructure.

They say, by including network and infrastructure charges in their bills, the home owners are subsidising the tourist side of the park.

"The more tourists that fill the park, the higher the home owners' electricity rates become," they submitted to QCAT.

"Home owners are supporting in a huge way the power for the common grounds, outside lighting and amenities that only cater for the tourist section.

"There is nothing in the home owners' agreement to support this."

The residents sought copies of their utility bills, refunds for alleged overcharging and a claimed reimbursement, and an independent auditor to assess the situation.

They pointed to a section of the amended Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act intended to ensure park owners did not charge more for electricity to residents than the actual cost charged to the park owner.

QCAT member John Milburn said the section prohibited park owners profiting from such a situation but it should not be interpreted to preclude park owners from fairly and proportionately reclaiming actual supply costs from owners.

Mr Milburn said the residents had not particularised any sum of money and seemed to be asking the tribunal to check if the park owner was complying with the relevant section.

He said the action must fail because there was no section of the legislation where the tribunal could compel performance of an obligation.

"I am of the view that in this case, there is no 'concrete dispute' or 'money claim" that has been brought to the tribunal by the applicants," he said.

"The home owners have not crystallised issues sufficiently well to enable the tribunal to properly decide their claim.

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