Malcolm Turnbull must rule out post office closures and mass sackings

Australia Post is an Australian icon. Australians love Australia Post, they rely on their local post offices and the local postie coming down their street.

Labor understands that Australia Post is facing a difficult future. Australians no longer send and receive letters to the extent they used to.

In the last five years the number of letters delivered annually has dropped by one billion. The internet has changed the way we communicate, people send more e-mails and fewer letters, people buy more online and receive more parcels.

Australia Post needs to adapt to this change but Malcolm Turnbull needs to rule out using this reform package as an excuse to:

  • Shut down post offices;
  • Sack thousands of Australia Post workers;
  • Cut service levels to rural and regional Australia; or
  • Massively increase the price of stamps.

Today’s announcement means stamps will cost more and letters will take longer to be delivered.

Federal Labor will consider the detail of the reform package but there are four key areas that Labor is worried about:

  1. Jobs – Australia Post employs more than 30,000 Australians. It is essential that Australian Post look after their people first. This must include retraining, redeployment and voluntary redundancies as a last resort. Labor will not support anything that results in forced redundancies at Australia Post.
  2. The impact on rural and regional Australia – Australia Post is the lifeblood of rural and regional communities across Australia. Mail is already delivered slower in rural and regional Australia than it is in the cities. Labor is concerned that this will make it even worse.
  3. Price rises – whilst we understand the need to reform in order to address the downturn in letter volumes, particular attention needs to be paid to the impact of price rises on people who are on low incomes, including those who don’t have concession cards. It is also vital to consider the impact that price rises will have on small businesses that rely heavily on Australia Post to communicate with their customers and pay their suppliers.
  4. Post offices – Labor will not support this reform package being used as an excuse to shut down post offices. Malcolm Turnbull knows how post office closures hurt local communities, because he held rally’s to stop them in his electorate. If he can stand up for post offices in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney he should stand up for post offices right across Australia.

Labor recognises the need for reform and will consider the proposals announced today in detail but calls on Malcolm Turnbull to rule out mass sackings and post office closures now.