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Monday, 21 May 2012
Page: 4870

Mr HAASE (Durack) (10:48): I rise today to bring the attention of the chamber to the postal situation in north-western Western Australia. To explain the circumstances, I will give you the background. For $20 an hour you can hire a truck driver in Perth; the same truck driver will cost you between $50 and $90 an hour in the Pilbara. The federal government is collecting a huge amount of revenue from the commercial mining activity that is taking place in north-western Australia, specifically the Pilbara, yet there is no proper consideration of the necessary additional wages to employ postal staff.

The Dampier post office has just closed. Dampier, often the largest tonnage port in all Australia, is bringing in revenue hand over fist for this nation, yet a government agency, Australia Post, cannot provide postal services in Dampier. People have to travel 20 kilometres to pick up their mail from Karratha. It is simply not good enough in this day and age, when the money that is rolling in from the Pilbara operations is absolutely enormous. The Newman post office—Newman being the heart of iron ore country in the Pilbara here in Australia, of course—has just stopped its mail service delivery. We have a standard cost of a stamp in Australia so as to provide a universal service right across Australia regardless of the location, yet the Newman post office cannot provide a postal delivery service to the residents of Newman. Lo and behold, with people working 12-hour shifts from 6 am till 6 pm, they cannot get to the post office, and if they do to collect their mail then they find that there are insufficient counter staff to staff the post office for the hours that are necessary to provide that standard postal service to my people in Newman.

It is time that this government realised that additional costs need to be paid to provide a service in areas where you are paying up to $2,000 a week for a house and you cannot get accommodation without huge amounts of money. Where you collect huge amounts of revenue in a particular location and you are providing a service, you have to be prepared to pay the additional money to recruit the staff to provide the service. It is simply not good enough that residents in the Pilbara are being deprived of standard services that ought to be provided by good governance, considering that additional money has to be paid. If the rates are between four and five times higher for services in the Pilbara, the government needs to know that and to pay the rates necessary to provide the standard service.