Franchisees have condemned any moves to privatise Australia Post.
Privatisation was put back on the agenda by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman, Rod Sims, who indicated he expects the federal government’s review of competition laws to recommend the government relinquish long-held assets.
“Government ownership versus private ownership massively affects the incentives people have to drive productivity change,” Sims said.
But in the debate that ensued, Sims has clarified he did not refer to any specific government assets, like Australia Post.
Licensed Post Office Group spokeswoman Angela Cramp told SmartCompany licencees across the country are “already revolting” as they are not being paid a fair share of Australia Post’s profits.
“How can Australia Post be privatised if 80% of the retail network is owned by private operators?” Cramp says.
“Can somebody explain to me how we will sell something we do not own. It is as bizarre as the business model we work under, would they buy back the LPOs they have already sold?”
The Post Office Agents Association Limited also opposes any privatisation of Australia Post.
“A privatised postal operator would focus on the main population centres at the expense of customers in rural Australia,” said POAAL chief executive Ian Kerr.
“POAAL has watched closely as European postal operators have been privatised, and it is clear that there would be no benefits to Australians if Australia Post were to be privatised.”
Martin O’Nea, national assistant secretary of the Communication Workers Union, says the sale of Australia Post keeps on “popping up on the agenda every three or four months”.
This is despite Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s commitment not to sell Australia Post.
“Any sale would be an instant hit to the taxpayer who would have to pick up the bill for rural and regional Australia or else services to regional and rural Australia would be decimated,” O’Nea says.
For businesses, O’Nea says any privatisation would likely result in “a rise in basic postage costs” which would hit hard “as many businesses still use traditional mail to contact their customers”.