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Up to 462 post outlets may close as the betrayal of regional Australia continues.

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The Hon Simon Crean MP

Shadow Industry and Regional Development Minister

Manager of Opposition Business


17 July 1998




Senator Alston’s announcement yester day of the Government’s response to the National Competition Council’s review of the Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989 is further bad news for regional Australians, who have come to expect nothing more from the Howard Government, Shadow Regional Development Minister Simon Crean said today.


“Senator Alston assures regional Australians that ‘no post office or mail centre in regional Australia will close as a result of [the Government’s] package’.


“His Service Charter announced with much fanfare requires Australia Post to maintain a minimum retail presence of 4000 postal outlets of which at least 2500 must be in rural or remote areas.


“But according to Australia Post’s most recent annual report (attached), at 30 June 1997 there were 4,462 existing retail post outlets across Australia, with 2,560 in rural and remote areas.


"In other words, the Government’s Charter clears the way for the closure of up to 462 postal outlets Australia-wide, including up to 60 in rural and remote areas.


“And Senator Alston’s announcement yesterday will only heighten the pressure on Australia Post to close its less profitable outlets, because its ability to cross-subsidise services will be reduced.


“Senator Alston should come clean and tell Australia Post consumers which post outlets are on his hit list,” Mr Crean said.


“And the National Party should explain to regional Australians why they are again standing by while their constituency is betrayed by the Howard Government.


“Labor is the only party that offers hope and vision for regional Australians.


"Yesterday's announcement by Shadow Treasurer Gareth Evans of Labor’s regional banking policy demonstrates that Labor is working for regional Australia.


"As part of that policy, Labor will work with Australia Post to explore ways of increasing the number and level of banking services provided through Australia Post’s giroPost network.


"We are listening to regional Australians and we are taking action to deliver results for them.


"This is in stark contrast to the Howard Government, which offers no hope. no vision and only betrayal and abandonment,” Mr Crean said.


Further information: Phillip Tardif (0419) 491 166, (02) 6277 4803 (w)