October 28, 2020

I'm pleased to have the opportunity to bring the House up to date on the impact the government's changes to Australia Post are having on the delivery of letters in Shortland. There is certainly a lot happening at Australia Post at the moment but let's be clear: the main story is that the Liberals and Nationals have agenda to reduce services and slash jobs at Australia Post, and, shockingly, they are using the COVID-19 pandemic as a cover to do this.

Australia Post recorded a half a billion dollar increase in revenue last financial year, yet they have commenced a reduction in the delivery of letters to every second day in the region I represent. This hits my constituents particularly hard in Shortland. Shortland is the sixth-oldest electorate in the country and 20 per cent of its people are over the age of 60, and they clearly rely on postal services more than those under 60, on average. My constituents were told in early August that they would only be receiving mail every second business day. This can be as little as two days a week.

Early anecdotal feedback from my constituents is that this is having a definite impact on delivery of their mail. One constituent provided an example to me. It is a letter that was sent to her. It's dated 26 May, and the envelope shows that it was scanned by Australia Post on 29 May, but she received it on Tuesday 13 October. That's 140 days to arrive—over four months. What a disgrace! I have a copy of an envelope sent to me from the Leader of the Opposition which contained a sympathy card for a constituent. It was posted from his electorate office in Marrickville, in Sydney, on 10 July. I received it in my electorate office on 17 September—over two months after it was sent. This is just not good enough. I do thank Australia Post for investigating the cause of this delay, but this is clearly unacceptable. The point I am making is that delivery of the mail is an important service to my constituents, and delivery every second business day is just not good enough—and delivery every few hundred days is definitely not good enough.

I also want to clearly state in my contribution that it is not a criticism of the employees of Australia Post. I know they are hardworking professionals, and I especially acknowledge the extra burden they are bearing in this pandemic. I don't begrudge the 34,000 frontline workers from receiving a $600 thank you payment and I don't begrudge the contract drivers for receiving gift vouchers. But more than $60 million was handed to 2,500 thousand workers who hold the title of either general manager, head of department, or senior manager. That's $24,000 on average each. That is the same as the annual age pension. My criticism is of the government and the stacked Liberal board, whose CEO wanted a pay rise in the middle of the pandemic. It's a disgrace. Australia Post must be fixed.