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Bikie crackdown hurts motorcycle industry jobs

WHILE the State Government crackdown on bikie gangs and their associates may not have reeled in masses of violent criminals, it has certainly impacted on the motorcycle industry.

And founder of the Australian Motorcycle Business Chamber Travis Windsor wants Campbell Newman to know.

Mr Windsor said businesses had been losing up to an estimated $5 million per week at the outset of the campaign.

He said the crackdown had driven lawful riding enthusiasts off the streets, fearing unnecessary persecution.

"Businesses that specialise in Harleys and Harley modifications, some have never recovered while others have managed to come back a little bit," he said.

"Those riders doing nothing wrong are concerned if they do ride they may be put off the road for having too loud mufflers and the like.

"There's 480,000-odd licensed riders in Queensland and nobody's sure whether you will be targeted or not."

Mr Windsor is desperate to hold discussions with the Premier, to forge a non-inflammatory resolution to the current situation.

We're not targeting riders on the road who use motorcycles for recreational purposes.

With a significant business background, including lecturing at LaTrobe University for five years as well as his current role in business development as part of the State Government's Small Business Solutions program, the life-long motorcycle enthusiast feels he is well-placed to conduct effective dialogue with Campbell Newman.

Central Region Assistant Police Commissioner Mike Condon reiterated that officers were not out to target recreational bikers, but were committed to the anti-bikie campaign.

"At the end of the day, we target CMGs," he said.

"We police the roads 24/7 and that does mean everyone who uses the roads.

"We're not targeting riders on the road who use motorcycles for recreational purposes."

Mr Windsor, who devotes most of his time to assisting businesses make connections, connecting schools with businesses, coaching businesses and championing causes such as motor neurone disease research, is determined to find a way to work with the State Government to help it achieve its goal of targeting bikie gangs, but not to the detriment of his and many others' passion - the recreational motorbike ride.

By the numbers

  • 40 addresses across the state identified as known bikie clubhouses
  • US-based Mongols have begun to settle in Australia
  • State increased rewards to $50,000 for certain anonymous information
Geoff Trewin, dealer-principal of Rockhampton Harley-Davidson, says the anti-bikie laws have impacted on the industry.
Geoff Trewin, dealer-principal of Rockhampton Harley-Davidson, says the anti-bikie laws have impacted on the industry.

How will it affect CQ? Here's what our motorcycle dealers have to say

AS the much-publicised crackdown on criminal motorcycle gangs continues, Rockhampton Harley-Davidson dealer-principal Geoff Trewin has revealed the State Government campaign has hurt the industry.

"All Harley dealers have noticed a very big drop, especially in the workshops," Mr Trewin said.

"It's caused job losses in our industry and it's another nail in what is a tough economy."

The regional dealer said there had been many meetings with the State Government to ensure the focus was not on recreational riders, the lifeblood of the motorcycle industry.

"There's been a lot of meetings with government and they keep assuring us they're not targeting recreational riders, but how do they distinguish?" he asked.

Mr Trewin said the region's police had taken a common sense approach for the most part, noting the real intensity of the crackdown seemed to be focused in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

But his concern was with how recreational riders perceived the approach of the authorities.

"It's more of a concern about the fact that they're out there harassing mums and dads on motorcycles," he said.

"If they want to target criminals, then do it."

However, dealer-principal of Harbour City Motorcycles Ben Vowles still believed true motorcycle enthusiasts would continue to enjoy their two-wheeled pride and joy.

"I don't think dedicated, die-hard bike riders are going to give away their bikes because of these laws the government's thrown in," he said.

"There's a lot of learner riders coming up through the ranks now buying their first bikes.

"People are buying their first bikes after not having one for years and we have a lot of mid-life crisis buyers."

Mr Vowles said while there might be criminal elements in some bikie clubs, he argued the same criminal element was present in every walk of life.

He said there was more to motorcycling than bikies.

"Motocross and off-road riding is a lot more popular now then it was when I was an apprentice," he said.

What's hot in Gladstone

  • Vowles says off-road riding, including motocross riding is becoming more popular in Gladstone
  • Adventure bikes and cruisers are also beginning to make a resurgence
  • Seeing a lot of learner riders beginning to purchase their first motorbikes
Ben Vowles says most passionate motorcyclists are still enjoying using their bikes, despite current VLAD laws.
Ben Vowles says most passionate motorcyclists are still enjoying using their bikes, despite current VLAD laws. Mike Richards GLA100214BIKE

Topics:  bikie gang, bikie legislation, central queensland, motorcycles, queensland government



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