Mail should be delivered daily in regional areas but it is fair to expect city residents to visit the post office more often to pick up their mail, according to Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss. The National Party leader accepts Australia Post faces a "crisis" because of a collapse in letter revenues.
Fairfax Media today reports that Australia Post is set to announce 900 job losses as early as Tuesday. Australia Post executives have lobbied the government to reduce its five-day mail service – which is currently required by legislation – to three days.
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Australia Post to axe 900 jobs
Hundreds of Australia Post workers are set to lose their jobs as the struggling company forecasts record losses. Nine news.
The union representing postal workers is calling for Australia Post to offer retraining for any sacked workers and, if possible, new jobs in the booming parcels division.
"Australia Post faces a crisis in the future in relation to its revenue from the standard letter deliveries," Mr Truss told the ABC's Insiders program. "The reality is we don't write the letters we once did. People use e-mails, they don't send Christmas cards, they send e-mail messages. The bulk mail, particularly in the cities, is now done by private distribution agencies. So there are real issues for Australia Post as the future goes on.
"[While] I think it will be a priority to try and maintain the mail services in remote areas, in regional communities, the pressure is more likely to be felt in the cities where the postal deliveries, the letter box deliveries around towns and cities may be substituted by an expectation that more people will go to the post office."
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government had no plans to accept the National Commission of Audit's recommendation to sell off Australia Post. But he said the company will need to reshape its business to respond to changing consumer demands.
"Australia Post obviously is facing some structural challenges," Mr Cormann told Sky News. "Job losses are always disappointing but the truth is Australians write fewer letters and clearly that is going to have an impact on Australia Post as a business."
Communications Electrical Plumbing Union postal and telecommunications secretary Jim Metcher said on Sunday: ''It's a terrible blow to lose jobs on this scale, but Australia Post is a big and evolving organisation and we'll be making the case that new roles should be found for people who want to continue their service.
''The decline in volume of small letter delivery, Australia Post's traditional service, does need to be addressed. But there is significant growth in new and emerging parts of the business, like parcel delivery.
"The union and its employees do not support Australia Post services being diminished or reduced for the sake of profit margins, additional margins to Australia Post or additional dividends to the Government."