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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 2229

(Question No. 1366)

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Communications, upon notice, on 1 May 1984:

(1) When did the Leightonfield mail sorting centre in Sydney open and what disputes resulting in loss of work have occurred since.

(2) Is this loss of work above average for mail centres.

(3) Is it a fact that mail deliveries within the Sydney area using this centre regularly take up to 7 days and overseas mail 3 weeks.

(4) Is it also a fact that the morning shift works satisfactorily but the other 2 shifts are dispute prone.

(5) What action is Australia Post taking to make the centre work more efficiently.

Mr Duffy —The answer to the honourable member's question, based on advice provided by the Australian Postal Commission, is as follows:

(1) The Leightonfield Mail Centre commenced operations on 30 October 1983. There were some minor disruptions in December 1983 through industrial action over a safety issue at the Centre. Major disruptions to service resulted from a number of disputes during April and May 1984. These disputes arose over issues such as safety, work conditions and demarcation claims. Further disputes over staffing issues occurred in September 1984.

(2) Yes.

(3) At the time the honourable member asked this question, there was a high incidence of delivery delayed mail at the Leightonfield Mail Centre as a result of industrial disputation within the Centre. In fact, mail processed at the Centre during April and May was delayed up to 12 days. Consequently, some mail may well have taken longer than seven days to be delivered. Overseas mail may also have been similarly delayed.

(4) Matters of dispute are discussed by all shifts which generally observe any resulting bans or limitations.

(5) Australia Post has devoted considerable management and staff resources to resolution of the difficulties at Leightonfield Mail Centre. It has:

advanced its recruiting program;

sought more effective liaison with staff;

established local workplace consultative forums; and

developed a formal dispute settling procedure.