Federal Government to introduce new Australia Post regulations

Volvo FH on a linehaul assignment for Australia Post.

Following public consultation and co-designed workforce trials, Australia Post will undergo reforms in an effort to achieve more efficient letter delivery while supporting the jobs of postal workers.

The Federal Government will introduce new regulations at Australia Post to boost productivity, increase its focus on parcels and improve long-term financial sustainability.

The reforms will allow Australia Post to invest in products and services for the future and boost the productivity of its workforce by freeing up its delivery and processing resources to support parcel delivery.

The Government claims that “changing consumer needs and growing digitisation” means Australia Post needs to modernise to keep pace with what Australians need and expect from their postal service.

In light of these challenges, Australia Post has worked cooperatively with its workforce and the Communication Workers Union to trial a new model for mail delivery at selected sites nationally.

The trials decreased the frequency of letter delivery, and in the initial stages have expanded delivery points by more than 10 per cent per round – enabling postal workers to carry up to 20 per cent more parcels and achieve real productivity improvements.

Australia Post intends to refine the model for a national roll out over the next twelve months.

This national expansion requires amendment to the current Australian Postal Corporation (Performance Standards) Regulations 2019.

Informed by the public consultation and feedback from a discussion paper launched in March, the Government plans to amend the existing delivery standards so that letter delivery frequency will be reduced to every second business day for 98 per cent of locations, whilst parcels will still be delivered daily.

To reflect the new delivery frequency, Australia Post will have an extra day to deliver regular letters across Australia.

In addition, the standards will mean that Australia Post can change the way it manages priority mail, which now accounts for around eight per cent of addressed letters, so it can deliver services at a more commercial rate and work with customers to set appropriate terms and conditions.

While Australia Post has kept businesses operating, supported local communities and brought Australians together for decades, Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, said it can’t stand still.

“Consumer and small business demands are changing, and Australia Post also needs to adapt,” she said.

“These new processes will mean Australia Post continues to deliver the high-quality letter service many Australians rely on, while also growing its booming parcel business for the benefit of consumers, small businesses and its hardworking staff.

“Modernising Australia Post will put it on a surer footing so it can deliver the essential community services Australians need – including those in rural, regional and remote areas.”

The current geographic classification for Australia Post retail outlets will also be updated to reflect the modern Australian Statistical Standards Geography Standard Remoteness Areas, rather than the 1991 Census currently used.

This is expected to have the net effect of reclassifying approximately 70 outlets to Remoteness Areas other than ‘Major Cities’.

The Government claims this will not impact the services provided at these outlets or the prescribed minimum numbers of post offices that Australia Post must retain, including in regional Australia.

Minister for Finance, Katy Gallagher, said Australia Post’s viability is essential.

“In an environment where customers are sending fewer letters and more parcels, it is important that the business structure of Australia Post reflects the needs of the modern Australian consumer,” she said.

“The fiscal sustainability of Australia Post is vital to the government’s ongoing commitment to provide high quality postal services to Australians.”

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts will consult on the amended delivery standards regulations early in 2024 before their implementation next year.

The Government will continue to monitor how it can work with Australia Post to build on these reforms and modernise operations to ensure the service remains competitive and delivers more for Australians.

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