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Notice given 2 December 2008

1047  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—

(1) With reference to the Minister’s media release, ‘North-west marine profile to underpin planning process’, dated 10 November 2008, and the statement that the ‘Marine Bioregional Planning will help ensure that national economic assets such as the oil and gas and commercial fishing industries can prosper and that the impact of any conservation measures on them are minimised’: can an explanation for the meaning of ‘minimised’ in the statement be provided.

(2) Are state waters included in the marine protected areas; if not: (a) why not; and (b) can an explanation be provided of how the network of marine protected areas can ‘truly represent the biodiversity of this region’ without the inclusion of state waters.

1048  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—

Corporate responsibility strategy

(1) What are the aims of Australia Post’s corporate responsibility strategy.

(2) Who are the members of the Sustainability Working Group.

(3) Why has Australia Post not invited a representative of the Post Office Agents Association Limited (POAAL) to be part of the working group.

(4) Will Australia Post invite a representative of POAAL to be part of the working group.

(5) Is Australia Post breaching any consultative agreements it has with stakeholder groups such as POAAL or the Communications Electrical Plumbing Union by not involving them in the working group.

Postie bikes for contractors

(6) Is there a procedure for mail contractors to buy Honda postie bikes; if so, does Australia Post advise mail contractors of the procedure.


 (7) Are contractors able to buy postie bikes from Honda at the Australia Post rate; if not, why not.

(8) Given that Australia Post now ‘retires’ its own postie bikes after they have travelled a certain number of kilometres and they are then sold through major automotive auction houses, but in the past Australia Post used to sell them direct to contractors (this practice ceased a few years ago):

(a) how does Australia Post determine when to dispose of a postie bike, is it based on hours of use, kilometres travelled, age, or some other factor;

(b) (i) how does Australia Post dispose of postie bikes, and (ii) are any offered for direct sale to mail contractors;

(c) does Australia Post: (i) sell postie bikes with the pannier bags intact or are they stripped from the bikes, (ii) make the pannier bags available to contractors to purchase, (iii) have a supplier for these pannier bags, and (iv) have the pannier bags custom made; and

(d) does Australia Post offer postie bikes for sale to contractors before putting them up for auction through an auction house.

Fuel prices

(9) With reference to the 2008-09 Budget estimates hearing of the Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee (Committee Hansard , 26 May 2008, p. ECA 18), in which Mr Newman stated that Australia Post has no plans to introduce automated fuel price reviews:

(a) given that Australia Post recently reduced the threshold for fuel price reviews from 7 per cent to 5 per cent: (i) how did Australia Post come to this decision, and (ii) does Australia Post have any plans to make this change permanent;

(b) has Australia Post considered varying the period from 3 months to a shorter period; and

(c) given that in the answer to question 5 (taken on notice) concerning how many contracts had been resigned because of rising fuel prices, Australia Post stated that it had no data on reasons why contracts are resigned, would it not be in Australia Post’s interest to find out why contractors are resigning their contracts; if so, does Australia Post have any plans to conduct ‘exit surveys’ for contractors who resign their contract.

Franchised PostShops

(10) (a) How many dedicated Australia Post personnel look after franchised PostShops; and (b) where are these personnel located.

(11) Does Australia Post offer incentives or special deals to people to take on a franchised PostShop.

(12) Do all operating franchised PostShops have an owner/operator or are there still some Australia Post-appointed people operating them.

(13) How many corporate post offices does Australia Post intend to convert to franchised PostShops in the 2008-09 financial year.

(14) Does Australia Post have any plans to convert any Licensed Post Offices (LPOs) to franchised PostShops in 2009.


Licensee Advisory Committee

(15) With reference to the answer to question 3, taken on notice during the 2008-09 Budget estimates hearing of the Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee, Australia Post provided a copy of the Licensee Advisory Council’s (LAC’s) ‘nil return’ as lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission which showed that there was no income or expenditure for the LAC, and Australia Post’s statement at a previous estimates hearing that Australia Post meets all of the LAC’s costs:

(a) (i) how are LAC costs allocated by Australia Post, and (ii) are the costs met by a specific group;

(b) if the funds are taken from the retail group, does this mean that funds that would have ordinarily been earmarked for payments to licensees are redirected to fund the LAC; and

(c) can a breakdown by state and national LACs be provided on how much Australia Post spent on LAC expenses during the 2007-08 financial year, detailing: (i) travel, (ii) accommodation, (iii) Australia Post staff time, and (iv) other administrative costs.

Delivery standards for post office box mail

(16) How does Australia Post determine the delivery standard for post office (PO) box mail at LPOs where the standard is after 9 am.

(17) Can licensees request that their PO box mail be sequenced in order to reduce sorting time.

(18) When Australia Post’s delivery arm makes changes to the arrangements for the delivery of mail to LPOs, does it liaise with its retail arm so that licensees are compensated for any mail work performed before 8 am or after 9 am, where extra staff would need to be employed just to sort the mail.

(19) Does Australia Post have a formula for allocating staff time to sort mail to meet the standards for private boxes, knowing how much time is needed to sort this mail.

Parcel collection

(20) (a) How many centralised parcel collection facilities did Australia Post establish in: (i) 2007, and (ii) 2008; and (b) are they successful.

Customer contact lists

(21) Given that licensees and smaller corporate post offices have suffered a downturn in their business as their best business customers are ‘poached’ by corporate account managers or larger corporate post offices:

(a) does Australia Post do due diligence before taking this step of ‘poaching’ customers from its own outlets;

(b) is it a fact that some, if not all, account managers receive a bonus payment for transferring this business; and

(c) what does Australia Post do to make up the shortfall in the licensee’s business payment when their best customers are ‘poached’ with offers which Australia Post does not permit licensees to offer.


Supply of retail products to licensees

(22) Given that Australia Post makes available to licensees a range of non-postal retail products such as greeting cards, gift lines, stationery and small office supplies:

(a) does Australia Post supply retail products to licensees at the same wholesale price which licensees could obtain by going direct to the wholesaler/distributor or does Australia Post take a cut for itself on the way through; and

(b) when a licensee at a stand-alone outlet writes to Australia Post requesting authority to sell products other than those on the Australia Post list, does Australia Post take each request on a case by case basis or is a proforma refusal sent to all requests.

Australia Post headquarters

(23) Did Australia Post consider purchasing its own building for its national headquarters.

(24) (a) How much did the most recent fit-out of the Managing Director’s office and the 19th floor cost; and (b) did Australia Post pay for the fit-out or was it paid for by the landlord.

(25) Has Australia Post looked at the feasibility of having its headquarters in Canberra near the centre of Government, as do many other Government departments and agencies.


(26) For the 2007-08 financial year, how much was spent on: (a) travel for the Managing Director; (b) accommodation and other travel-associated costs for the Managing Director; and (c) travel and accommodation for the board.

(27) What level of Australia Post managers, travel via: (a) business class; and (b) economy class.

(28) Does Australia Post make its own travel bookings or are travel bookings made through an agency.

(29) If the bookings are made through an agency, what are the benefits.

(30) Does Australia Post use the cheapest airline when booking air travel for its managers, board, etc; if not, why not.

(31) How frequently does Australia Post use teleconferencing or video conferencing rather than travel.