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Alston desperate to hide government policy to deregulate Australia Post.



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Stephen Smith - Alston Desperate To Hide Government Policy To Deregulate Australia Post http://www.alp.org.au//media/1101/ssmsap031101.html Monday, 05 November 2001

ALP News Statements

Alston Desperate To Hide Government Policy To Deregulate Australia Post Stephen Smith - Shadow Minister for Communications

Media Statement - 3 November 2001

Communications Minister Richard Alston is getting increasingly desperate in his bid to hide the fact that a Howard-Anderson Government will further deregulate Australia Post.

The Government's Postal Services Legislation Bill 2000 is still Government policy.

Yet, Senator Alston still refuses to explain why the Government has not included in the Budget the $180 million in lost dividend payments that Australia Post has advised a Senate Estimates Committee this will cost the Commonwealth.

As Access Economics have confirmed, Labor has not claimed any savings associated with our policy of not deregulating Australia Post.

Despite Labor clearly correcting the record, Senator Alston is continuing to claim that Labor will provide Access Australia kiosks at all Australia Post outlets. Senator Alston does this by referring to Labor's policy to ensure that Australia Post outlets, not their customers, can access the Internet.

This is despite the fact that this commitment is not contained in the section relating to Labor's Access Australia. In fact, it relates to an existing program of Australia Post's that will "web-enable" Australia Post outlets. Labor's commitment is to ensure that this existing policy will be implemented in full.

Senator Alston is also claiming today that it is invalid for Labor to claim that Labor's policy will be paid for through the transaction fees charged to the Government departments and big businesses that will principally use this technology to provide services to their customers.

Yet, in his media release yesterday, Senator Alston admitted that this is precisely the means currently used by Australia Post to charge for its Giropost and other services.

For Senator Alston to accuse Labor of hiding its costings, when he has not submitted the Government's

postal policies - including his policy to fully deregulate Australia Post - shows he is just being hypocritical.

As is clear to everyone, the Econotech costings upon which Senator Alston now relies are completely wrong because they:

assume that Labor will rollout Access Australia kiosks at all Australia Post outlets, when that is not Labor's policy; ●

bear little relationship to the actual cost to Australia Post of implementing Labor's policies; ● ignore the fact that Australia Post derives revenue from providing these services through the charges it levies on the Government departments and agencies and mainly big business providers of services who use the technology; and

●

assume that the impact on the Commonwealth Budget is the full cash cost to Australia Post of providing these services, when the true measure of the impact of any such policy on the Commonwealth Budget, is its impact on Australia Post's dividend.

●

There is only one real issue in this campaign, who will deregulate Australia Post and who will not?

John Howard and Richard Alston will further deregulate Australia Post if he is elected, costing Australia Post $600 million over three years and putting services in rural and regional areas at risk.

If Australians want to stop the further deregulation of Australia Post and strengthen Australia Post's services in rural and regional communities, then they should vote for Kim Beazley and Labor on November 10.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.