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Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Page: 8116

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (16:24): I take this opportunity to speak on an issue that has arisen in my electorate that has recently caused serious concern. Several local post offices are no longer providing the service of holding carded articles—that is, registered letters and packages—for collection by local residents, and these items are now being redirected to larger, central post offices. This has happened at Bangor and Illawong post offices, with carded articles being redirected to Menai. It has also happened at Hammondville post office, with the carded articles being redirected to the central post office in the Liverpool CBD.

These changes have caused many major inconveniences to local residents. Residents from the suburbs such as Sandy Point and Pleasure Point, who used to be able to drive a few minutes up to Hammondville post office to collect their parcels are now forced to travel all the way into the Liverpool CBD, where they are also forced to pay for parking following the Liverpool council installing parking meters throughout the CBD. In one case, a constituent with a disability had to enlist the aid of her daughter, who lives in North Sydney, and they had to spend the best part of the day to pick her up, drive to Liverpool, find parking and line up in a queue for over one hour to collect just one package, a task which in the past would have taken less than 10 minutes.

Another story I had related to me in the past week was of an elderly man, 86 years of age, who no longer drives. He used to be able to walk from his home to the post office at Illawong. However, now that Illawong no longer handles those carded parcels he is forced to take a taxi or a bus to Menai Marketplace, a trip of over an hour on the bus.

The reason for this change is that Australia Post simply are not offering an economic payment to their licensees to handle these carded parcels. With the growing number of parcels being handled through the Australia Post system with the increasing sales of goods over the internet, licensees are no longer able to provide this service at a loss. I would call on Australia Post to take an urgent review of the percentage of the postage costs that they share with their licensee, to make sure that the licensees are paid a fair percentage for their fair share of the costs of handling these parcels. For this is the only way that we can ensure that our local post offices can continue to provide this important service to our local communities.