Senate Inquiry Extended – Interim Report Released

UPDATE: Submissions still being accepted via APH website HERE

Due to an overwhelming number of submissions and issues raised, the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee has made the decision to extend the Senate Inquiry entitled: Performance, importance and role of Australia Post in Australian communities and its operations in relation to licensed post offices - until March 31, 2014.

The interim report can be accessed here (if you cannot download the document from the APH website, download the document here: Interim report.pdf)

The Committee acknowledges the depth of issues raised, particularly by LPOs through individual submissions, witnesses at the Senate Inquiry Hearing and submissions made by stakeholders.

The Committee explored the immediate and long term challenges facing both Australia Post and LPOs. It goes without saying that both entities need to be successful into the future to ensure Australian communities are able to access our world class postal service and the armada of additional services Australians depend on.

A couple of noteworthy passages from the report:

1.10 In terms of the relationship between Australia Post and LPOs, the committee received a large volume of evidence from licensees. This included evidence from peak body groups representing licensees as well as many submissions from individual licensees themselves. Key issues raised by licensees included problems relating to the LPO Agreement; payment arrangements between Australia Post and licensees (including, for example, remuneration arrangements for mail processing and delivery, and the linkage of payment increases to the BPR); and the overall viability of the LPO model under the current trading arrangements.10 Other concerns included allegations of the transfer of LPO customers from those LPOs to Australia Post;11 and the level of margins offered by Australia Post on postage and retail products.12
10 See, for example, Licensed Post Office Group, Committee Hansard, 6 December 2013, pp 1–
11; POAAL, Submission 9, pp 4 and 15.
11 See, for example, POAAL, Submission 9, p. 24.
12 See, for example, POAAL, Submission 9, p. 7.
Committee comment
1.11 During the committee's hearing, it became apparent that there are numerous issues for the committee to consider in relation to the performance of Australia Post and its relationship with LPOs. Evidence was given that many LPO operators are struggling to survive to the point where some off-site employment is undertaken to fund their operation. It is evident it has now become a fight for survival and must be considered a matter of urgency. To do nothing would put the future of hundreds of LPOs, principally in rural and regional areas, at risk. These are important and complex issues which the committee considers require further deliberations.

The Committee has deferred recommendations pending the outcomes of current discussions between Australia Post, the Government and industry groups. The Senate Committee say the discussions will be "watched with interest". 

LPOG being one of those stakeholders is vigorously campaigning for an acceptable outcome for LPOs. While these discussions are happening behind closed doors, be assured we are putting our best talent forward to offer up solutions that ensure the viability of LPOs.