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MacPhee condemns 200 per cent increase in postal charges

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SUITE 2 3 MALE STREET BRIGHTON. VIC. 3186 TEL. (03) 592 9777

IAN MACPHEE FEDERAL MEMBER FOR GOLDSTEIN s h a d o w m in is t e r f o r X B B E IG M 26K X I H K Communications

17 September 1985


The Shadow Minister for Communications, Mr Ian Macphee, today condemned the Government for allowing Australia Post to introduce increases of up to 200 per cent in certain postal charges without warning or consultation.

"Small businesses in particular will be hard-hit by the abolition of the long-standing Registered Post system, and its replacement by a ' time-consuming and costly two-tier system of insured and security mail," he said.

"The new system is due to be introduced next Monday. But small businesses and mail order firms are having great difficulty finding out from Post Offices exactly what is proposed. The information that has been forthcoming from Australia Post gives the impression that the new services will be both cheaper and quicker. In fact they will be vastly more expensive and time-consuming. ,

"Under Registered Post, a standard article can currently be sent with security and $500 cover for $3.98. This is a service which is used by small businesses throughout Australia, and particularly by mail order firms, jewellers and other retailers.

"For the same cover under the new system, the sender will have to pay for the security service ($6 plus postage) and insurance ($5 for $500 insurance) - making $11.33 in all, or an increase of 184 per cent.

"Furthermore,the need for two forms means that the time taken to process articles at the Post Office will increase significantly. For example, members of the .Australian Stamp Dealers Association, who will be particularly hard hit, tell me that now it takes about

8h minutes to process 100 Registered Post articles at the counter, while under the new system it will take at least lh hours.

"There are other anomalies. For example, if customers opt for the insurance service alone (and I quote from an Australia Post document) 'insured items (of up to $2000 value) Will transit the . ordinary mail stream with no special security arrangements.1

"It is a poor reflection on Australia Post that these arrangements are being introduced by stealth, without consultation with the representatives of the thousands of small businesses which currently use the Registered Post system. There has been no explanation given, beyond the vague assertion that 'demand for traditional services such as Registered Post is continuing to decline'. How these services will be made more popular by making them more time-consuming and three times as expensive is beyond me. "

"I call on the Minister for Communications, Mr Duffy, to see that these changes are postponed, pending the examination of a system involving the retention of Registered Post and the provision of an additional insurance component."

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