Bundy Australia Post operators thrown $10,000 lifeline
AUSTRALIA Post is giving some of its Bundaberg region operators a lifeline worth up to $10,000 each.
The move received a mixed response from industry lobby groups LPOGroup and the Post Office Agents Association Limited.
Nine licensees and community postal agencies in the Hinkler electorate will benefit from the $51.4m nation-wide Australia Post payment boost that will start on July 1.
Licensees will get an extra $10,000 over 12 months to cope with technology-driven downturns in business.
The smaller community postal agents that offer only a few Post services will get a minimum annual payment of $7500.
Australia Post managing director Ahmed Fahour said sustainability of these payments relied on proposed reforms receiving government approval.
Reforms included increasing the current basic postage rate of 70c to $1 and a new dual-speed letter delivery service.
Mr Fahour said rural and remote post office operators were being hit hard by a fall in traditional services.
"We've been working closely with our licensees to identify how to best support them in the face of digitisation, a significant challenge facing our traditional letters business," Mr Fahour said.
"The new small post office support plan will immediately strengthen the future sustainability of 478 licensed post offices and 495 community postal agencies across rural and remote Australia."
Mr Fahour said stamp price increases would help sustain the business.
"This increase would flow directly to the LPO network, contributing $75 million of the $125 million in annualised payments."
LPOGroup head Angela Cramp said Australia Post was doing the right thing by her fellow licensees.
However she said the reforms needed to be pushed through to ensure the payments continued into the future.
"Australia Post have indicated that all ... payment increases announced are contingent on mail reform," Ms Cramp said.
"Therefore, it will be paramount for licensees that the basic postage rate goes to $1 and two-speed mail delivery is implemented."
POAAL director Bob Chizzoniti said a long-term strategy for postal services in the bush was lacking.
"The minimum payment allowance gives licensees some security in areas that can be subject to factors such as drought and fluctuating population," Mr Chizzoniti said.
"We still don't know what Australia Post's plans are for provision of postal services in rural Australia. How will people in rural and remote Australia access mail, parcels, banking and other Australia Post services?"
Australia Post did not provide the names of licensees set to receive the payment boost.
478 Australian rural and regional licensees will get an extra $10,000 a year from July 1
This will boost their guaranteed annual income to $30,000
495 Australian community postal agencies will get a minimum annual payment of $7500
Parcel handling payments for operators will jump from 60 cents to $1.60
If regulatory reform goes ahead, the basic stamp price will rise from 70c to $1
A dual-speed letter service (with fast and slow delivery) is also in the pipeline