Australia Post hints at user-pay system for daily mail

Australians may have to pay $30 a year for daily mail delivery or face a less frequent service.

Australia Post told The Australian Financial Review yesterday it may charge an annual fee of $30 to those who want mail delivered five days a week, while others could opt for a cheaper three-day a week scheme.

The proposed fee comes in addition to a recent hike in the cost of stamps, from 60c to 70c on March 31. 

Speaking to the AFR, Australia Post said the implementation of a user-pay system was inevitable to offset the organisation’s multimillion-dollar losses.

The organisation posted a loss of $218 million last year, with letter volumes falling 25% from 2008.

However, Australia Post today backed off their proposal, releasing a statement that said while they were exploring a range of options to ease the challenges they faced, the options did not include a receiver-pays model.

“Given the rapid decline of letter volumes and growing financial losses in the letters service as a result of customer preferences for digital communications and transactions, Australia Post is working on a range of options to stem the losses in our letters service and invest in the growth opportunities of Parcels and Express,” said Australia Post.

“Our current preference does not include a receiver pays model for our ordinary letters services.”

Meanwhile, post office franchisees have been left in the dark about the proposed changes.

The Post Office Agents Association spokesperson Ian Kerr told SmartCompany Australia Post did not consult with franchisees on the matter.

“There has been no forewarning, they have not picked up the phone,” said Kerr.

Kerr said franchisees wanted more detail from Australia Post on how the scheme would operate and said he has concerns about its practical implementation.

He said major concerns arose in regards to parcel delivery, which necessitated a daily service.

“If Australia Post didn’t deliver parcels every day there would be a big storage problem,” he said.

“And if you deliver Mrs Jones’ parcels and say sorry I can’t deliver your letters today that is a slightly ludicrous situation.”

“We see a great power in the mail as a method of communication, let’s not undermine that.”

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