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Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Page: 8623

Australia Post: Agents Licencing

(Question No. 951)


Mr Morrison asked the Minister representing the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, in writing, on 22 March 2012:

(1) What process does Australia Post use for licensing Post Office Agents and monitoring compliance of these agents within the terms of their licenses, and are there any exceptions to these processes, if so what are they.

(2) Why might a license be withdrawn, and what number of licenses were withdrawn in the calendar years (a) 2009, and (b) 2010, in what locations were these agencies, and for what reason were their licenses withdrawn.

(3) What number of licenses in the calendar years (a) 2007, (b) 2008, (c) 2009, (d) 2010, and (e) 2011, were charged with offences relating to the operation of their franchise.


Mr Albanese: The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) By way of background, the Licensed Post Office (LPO) Agreement is an indefinite term agreement subject to either party having the right to terminate the license/licensor relationship.

Australia Post appoints the Licensee:

To act as an independent distributor for Products

As an agent of Australia Post for the purposes of providing services

Licensees agree to, among other obligations, comply with:

The Australia Postal Corporation Act 1989, a number of Post Office Rules and the LPO Manual

All applicable federal, State and municipal laws, statutes, regulations and by-laws, in the conduct and operation of the LPO

Australia Post and Licensees are also subject to the requirements of the Franchising Code of Conduct.

Initial Licensee Assessment

Prior to entering into a licensing arrangement with any party, Australia Post will assess the suitability of the prospective licensee against criteria that requires the applicant to be of good moral character, have sufficient business acumen and experience, and financial resources to operate the LPO through a formal assessment process.

This assessment process involves:

National Character Check

Psychometric Testing

Credit Reference Check

Business/Employment Reference Check

Company Check (if applicable)

Successful completion of a comprehensive 6-week training program.

Ongoing Licensee Suitability

In accordance with recently amended Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing legislation, existing licensees and key personnel will have a current Police Character Check as at 31 October 2012 (these are being done progressively from May to October 2012) and undergo mandatory 3-year checks thereafter.

In addition, the ongoing suitability of the individual or licensee entity to be "licensed" to provide products and services on behalf of Australia Post will continue to be monitored through compliance with the following:

Policies and Procedures

The operation of the LPO is governed by:

LPO Agreement - contractual basis of relationship

LPO Manual - detailed standards around outlet operation and licensee obligations

LPO Operational and Accounting Procedures - day to day operational procedures

Post Office Rules - the broad range of written instructions issued to licensees

Licensee Employees

It is a requirement that the licensee conduct an appropriate Police Character Check on employees that the licensee engages at the LPO.

Australia Post conducts Police Character Checks for any nominated manager at a LPO and approves all such appointments.

Training Accreditation

Licensees are required to ensure that staff in their outlet undertake a range of mandatory training at prescribed intervals. Depending on the specific training package, this may be undertaken on an annual basis, or every two years. A centralised database is maintained of training certification for LPOs.

Current mandatory training requirements (subject to change as determined by Australia Post) are:

Anti Money Laundering - Counter Terrorism Financing

Aviation Transport Security

Australian Consumer Law

Dangerous Goods

Privacy

Site Visitation

LPOs are subject to periodic site visitations associated with:

Operational review

Financial and Operational Compliance Unit

Security Compliance audit

Financial and Transactional Integrity

A range of monitoring and reporting tools are utilised to oversee the financial/transactional integrity of LPOs. This includes ongoing exception based transactional analysis and the monitoring of outlet cash levels. Site financial and operational compliance audits are also undertaken as a result of the exception based transactional analysis/cash level monitoring.

Legislative Compliance

Licensees are required to ensure their compliance with all relevant state and federal legislative requirements in addition to their other specific obligations under the terms of the LPO Agreement.

Included within these legislative requirements for the licensee are:

Australian Consumer Law

Anti Money Laundering - Counter Terrorism Financing

Occupational Health and Safety

(2) The following table details the number of, reason for and location of licensee withdrawals during the two years in question:

Year

Number

Reason

Location

2009

4

Mail Fraud

Guildford (WA)

Gordon (NSW)

Millers Point (NSW)

Applecross (WA)

1

Bankruptcy

Noojee (VIC)

1

Abandonment of licence

Yarck (VIC)

1

Misappropriation

Lake Munmorah (NSW)

1

Under Administration

Airlie Beach (Qld)

2010

7

Misappropriation

Bay Village (NSW)

Ganmain (NSW)

Terranora (NSW)

Wardell (NSW)

Winmalee (NSW)

Watheroo (WA)

Tawonga South (VIC)

1

Bankruptcy

Coonalpyn (SA)

1

Abandonment of licence

Lockwood South (VIC)

1

Bulk Mail Irregularities

Redfern (NSW)

(3) The following table details the number of licensees charged with offences relating to the operation of their franchise during the years in question:

Year

Number

2007

21

2008

20

2009

22

2010

23

2011

16