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Labor postal policy is lost in transit.

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Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Media Release

15 September 2004

Labor postal policy is lost in transit

“Labor’s postal policy demonstrates they are a party without vision, promising things the Government has already guaranteed and struggling to find ways to improve an industry that, under the Howard Government, has produced effective and world class postal services to all Australians,” the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, said today.

“In keeping with their style Labor is promising three more reviews rather than real policy options.

“We are pleased to see that Labor has committed to a Postal Industry Ombudsman - a previous election commitment of the Howard Government, and clearly Mr Tanner isn’t aware that the Government’s Bill for the PIO was introduced into the parliament on 11 August 2004.

“The Government’s Bill would establish the PIO under the administrative umbrella of the Commonwealth Ombudsman which is appropriate for the oversight of a wholly government owned entity. Labor’s approach which, although lacking in detail, appears to be higher on red tape and cost but lower on flexibility.

“Labor’s proposal for more red tape in relation to the closure of post boxes and post offices is also an example of Labor over engineering and over regulating Australia Post consultation arrangements that are working well.

“As for Labor’s scaremongering that Australia Post will be privatised, this is just another example of Labor denying its privatising past. The Government has no plans to privatise Australia Post and has committed to keeping it in public ownership.

“Mr Tanner would do well to remember Labor’s past record on privatisation. Labor was not afraid to break its promises, it would promise not to privatise and then go ahead and sell. It was Labor that privatised the Commonwealth Bank, Qantas and CSL.

“Despite Labor’s policy flaws I am heartened that Labor supports the Coalition when it comes to the community service obligations which include the reserved letter service and the guaranteed minimum requirements for post office boxes and postal outlets set by the Howard Government in 1998.

“Labor’s postal policy is a combination of catch up, reviews and over engineering of the postal market, again calling into question Mark Latham’s ability to design sound policies and make serious decisions for all Australians.

“The Coalition will be announcing its postal policy shortly which will bolster actions already taken by this Government to deliver world class services to all Australians, particularly those living in rural and regional areas.”

Media Contact: Jane McMillan 0438 690 305