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Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Page: 1968

Senator IAN MACDONALD (7:12 PM) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the document.

ThisStatement of corporate intent 2010-11 to 2012-13 is by Australia Post, one of the biggest government organisations. It is quite an interesting document. I want to point out the obligations on page 2 of this statement, where Australia Post says:

We are required to meet community service obligations by ensuring the letter service operates to performance standards that meet the needs of the community.

Later on in the document, under item 15, Australia Post talk about their values of one team—customer and community; and respect, integrity and responsibility. They talk about ‘doing our part to enhance the communities within which we live, understanding and responding to our impact on the environment’. Later on they talk about showing respect and treating everyone with courtesy and fairness. They talk about acting with integrity and standing up for what is right. All of that is very good. On pages 4 and 5 they talk about caring for the environment. In particular, at item 22, they say:

We will conduct our business in a manner that is safe and healthy for all people.

Australia Post, generally speaking, do a good job. I raised in estimates—and I have raised this in correspondence with the minister and the head of Australia Post—a situation which exists in Rockhampton, where the old Post Office on the northern side of Rockhampton has, by effluxion of time and through changing technologies and changing uses of Australia Post services, become the major central mail centre for Rockhampton and Central Queensland. That has meant that trucks come into that place at all hours of the day and night. There are forklifts operating, backing and filling, with all the beeping that goes on when trucks reverse. This all happens at two, three, four, five and six o’clock in the morning.

This old post office has been expanded and now goes into a residential part of Rockhampton and people who have lived there for most of their lives now find that they cannot get to sleep at night because of the activities of Australia Post. I do not blame the employees of Australia Post and I do not blame Australia Post itself because the mail has to get through, but the problem is that a group of people—only a dozen or so—in that centre now find that their quality of life has gone to zero because of the activities of Australia Post in this area during the early hours of the morning. It is causing health problems for elderly people and it is a situation which cannot continue.

With thanks to Michelle Landry, the Liberal National Party candidate for Capricornia at the last state election, I had a meeting with these people. Subsequent to that I arranged a meeting with Australia Post officials and the local people and, as a courtesy, I invited the local federal member. We explained the situation and showed videos of the difficulties the people were experiencing. I also raised this at estimates and in correspondence with both the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy, and the head of Australia Post. They have all said they are concerned about it. I do not blame the people of Australia Post. They are in this situation; they are there. The only real solution—you cannot stop the mail going through—is for the mail centre to be removed from the residential area of Rockhampton and placed into an industrial estate or something like that. That will require government money. I have pleaded with Senator Conroy—and I know his focus is otherwise these days, trying to get through that white elephant he calls the NBN—to put money aside in this next budget to transfer the central mail centre in Rockhampton to a non-residential area of town. Whilst I have not yet received a response, I again urge Senator Conroy to do that, because it is the only long-term solution to a problem which is affecting the lives and health of people living in that part of Rockhampton.

Question agreed to.