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Australia Post sell -off would 'devastate' rural towns

Small town hub: Bruce Keeley at Braidwood Post Office, which he has run for 16 years.

Small town hub: Bruce Keeley at Braidwood Post Office, which he has run for 16 years. Photo: Andrew Meares

Selling Australia Post would devastate rural and regional communities, according to one of the country's small town post office operators.

Bruce Keeley, who owns Braidwood Post Office in the NSW southern tablelands, said he was optimistic for the future of community post offices, despite reports the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission supported the sale of Australia Post. Mr Keeley said he had seen the notion of a sale come and go several times since he bought his business nearly 16 years ago.

But any sale that caused closures of small town post offices would be devastating to rural and regional communities.

"If the mail service was removed as it functions now, it would be a devastating thing," he said.

"Some people drive a 100-kilometre round trip to pick up an item. If there was no facility to provide that service to the people of Braidwood or any other little town like us, what would they do?"

Stressing that he spoke as a small business owner, not on behalf of Australia Post, the 62-year-old said while privatising the postal service might create uncertainty for licensees, rural communities would lose out if their post offices closed.

Post offices served as hubs for small towns, he said.

Mr Keeley said his post office offered passport application and other services, without which Braidwood residents would need to drive an hour to Canberra or 45 minutes to Batemans Bay.

40 comments

  • This is madness. How stupid can we be to even consider this. I ask any Australian who thinks this might be a good idea to go to ANY other country you can name and compare the services provided by their postal services and that provided by Australia Post. Australia Post provides the best mail service in the world. The old saying " You don't know what you have 'til it's gone" applies here. Hands off Tony!

    Commenter
    Rick
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    January 07, 2014, 8:59AM
    • Imagine if it was the U.S. Postal Service being sold off.........there would be a revolution against the government.

      Commenter
      Bazza
      Date and time
      January 07, 2014, 10:54AM
    • yep...total madness, considering the size of Australia.
      I mean ...we are not like UK where we could cycle from one end to another in a day.
      Rural communties need a postal service...privatisation of post would effectively shut them away from the rest of Australia I feel.
      Privatisation usually means that rural communities suffer, ....look what happened to rural communities with banking, soon as the Commonwealth bank was privateised, the banks up and left the rural communities.
      I have no doubt the postal service would cut right back in service just the same if it was privatised, as they would see the small rural communities as costing them too much money, because the private businesses are all about most profit going to the top dogs in the organisation....

      Commenter
      Mort
      Date and time
      January 07, 2014, 12:03PM
  • Very sloppy and sensationalist headline and opening line, you should be ashamed. The content clearly refers to the possible impact of post office closures in rural towns and removal of the mail service.. There is absolutely no reason to believe either of these would necessarily occur, or occur any faster than they already are, as a result of privatisation.

    Commenter
    Casper
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    January 07, 2014, 9:05AM
    • There is absolutely no justification for privatisation in the first place. $312 million in profit, guaranteed nation wide service, 30,000+ jobs. Leave it as it is.

      Commenter
      AJB
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      January 07, 2014, 10:12AM
    • Well of course that wasn't the point of my comment but it would be one side of a reasonable debate - unfortunately the sensationalist nature of this article, masquerading as journalism, won't promote or enable a proper dedate.

      Commenter
      Casper
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      January 07, 2014, 10:47AM
    • With you on that one AJB. Privatisation has been spectacularly unsuccessful at doing anything other than decreasing service levels and increasing prices.
      Eg QANTAS, Telstra, Electricity.
      Businesses need to make profit, Governments can choose to subsidise, break even or profit depending on circumstances.
      Leave well enough alone.

      Commenter
      Chris
      Location
      Kiama
      Date and time
      January 07, 2014, 11:15AM
  • Coming from New Zealand, where we got rid of the stand alone, small town post office 30 years ago I can categorically state that it won't be devastating for small communities. Postal services here have continued as part of other businesses and have now been supplemented by State run banking services. Until the decline in general post as a result of the internet, I would have said we have enjoyed a much improved service.

    When I was travelling through the States a few years ago, I was bemused by the Federally protected, Socialist monolith known as the USPS. Expensive, slow and cumbersome with facilities that vastly outstripped the demand for it's services, I wasn't surprised to learn that it loses more than a billion dollars a year.

    Commenter
    jestriding
    Location
    NZ
    Date and time
    January 07, 2014, 9:12AM
    • If Australia Post is a 'government owned socialist monolith', what does it become once its a private monopoly?

      Commenter
      AJB
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      January 07, 2014, 10:22AM
    • "Socialist monolith"?! I get the feeling that you consider anything publicly owned as socialist. 'It loses a billion a year'? So what?! Considering the population of the US, then it's hardly an issue. It's also a public service, so why does it have to make a profit? Aus Post is great. If it lost the same equivalent per capita, it would only be around $50 million a year. That's nowhere near outrageous. Considering the monetary expense of the Iraq war, it's not really an issue at all.
      Private systems always benefit those who can pay more. It loses its priority to deliver services the entire population and becomes something entirely devoted to profit.

      Commenter
      meatatarian
      Date and time
      January 07, 2014, 10:23AM

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