Federal MP slams Australia Post changes

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Newcastle is set to be hit by the largest reduction to postal services in history as letters are temporarily reduced from five days a week to once every two business days.

Express Post items, parcels and PO Box mail will continue to be delivered every business day, regardless of location, under the short-term arrangement.

A review is then due to take place on 30 June 2021.

An Australian Post spokesperson says the changes have been brought in to help it manage unprecedented parcel volumes being sent across the country, which, on some days, have almost doubled as Australians adapt to living differently under COVID-19 restrictions.

“At the same time, demand for other core products, including letters, have been volatile and many have halved,” the spokesperson says.

“The alternate delivery model will allow for much faster delivery of people’s parcels, while continuing to deliver a declining number of letters.

“A recent survey indicated more than 70% of people are in favour of this temporary new model, in order to ensure faster delivery of their parcels.  

“Importantly, delivery frequency in regional, rural and remote Australia will not change in recognition that Australia Post is often the only operator in these areas.

“Post offices will continue to remain open, in-line with health and safety guidelines to protect our people and customers.”

Despite this, Newcastle Federal MP Sharon Claydon slammed the changes and accused the government and Australia Post of “using the cover of the global pandemic and dodgy figures to slash services”.

“In March, the government and Australia Post said the situation was dire, with letter volume dropping drastically during COVID,” she says.

“Since then, we’ve learnt that not only is this not true, but that on the day the request for the cuts was made, letter volumes were actually 4% above trend.

“How on earth can Australians trust the Morrison Government with our postal services when they can’t even be trusted to tell the truth about their own figures?”

Ms Claydon says Federal Labor has tried to overturn the service cuts.

“Labor has been gravely concerned that these cuts to services would slash jobs and slow down business activity at a time when our economy is already on its knees,” Ms Claydon says.

She adds that she is particularly concerned about how these changes will impact on older and vulnerable Novocastrians.

“We know that older people and those on lower incomes disproportionately rely on postal services,” Ms Claydon says.

“These changes rip services away from the people who need them most.”

Ms Claydon is also highly sceptical about the government’s claim that the changes will be temporary.

“The Morrison Government is shielding its internal Australia Post review from Freedom of Information requests and refusing to release it to the Federal Parliament,” Ms Claydon says.

“The Federal Government has demonstrated just how determined it is to dodge scrutiny about what it’s really doing.”

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