Tasmanian van dealer wins industry's top award
Tasmanian caravan dealer Dennis Austin has been awarded the caravan industry’s highest honour at a gala dinner.
Mr Austin, of Austin's Caravans & Leisure Centre in Somerset on Tasmania’s north-west coast, was presented with the Eric Hayman Award for Excellence at the Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s 2016 national conference.
Mr Austin is a long-term board member of the association and is the current treasurer. He has spent 15 years representing the interests of caravanners and manufacturers in Tasmania and at a national level.
First awarded in 1990, the Eric Hayman Award for Excellence recognises people, companies or events that have made an outstanding contribution to the caravanning and camping industry on a national scale. The award is named in honour of Eric Hayman, who started manufacturing towbars in 1951 and then founded towing company Hayman Reese.
Association chief executive Stuart Lamont said Mr Austin had made a significant mark on the industry through his political work and connections, which provided the association with unprecedented access to federal cabinet ministers, senators and members of Parliament.
"The way the industry approaches lobbying has changed considerably through the efforts of Dennis Austin," Mr Lamont said.
In accepting his award, Mr Austin paid tribute to his wife Marilyn.
"I couldn't have done what I did without the support of my wife," he said. "I wouldn't have dreamed in my wildest dreams that I would be up here. To me the most rewarding thing of all is the special friendships we have with so many folks."