Australia Post is to invest an additional A$16m (US$11.3m) each year to support the sustainability of its 2,800 post offices.
This investment follows an agreement made with licensed post offices (LPO) in 2019 which to date has contributed A$55m (US$39m) in additional payments to licensees over the past two financial years. Licensees will start to see payment increases from March 1, 2022, backdated to January 1, 2022, with other changes taking effect from June 1, 2022.
Paul Graham, CEO and managing director of Australia Post Group, said, “We are working with our licensee partners to ensure they can keep pace with changing customer needs, serve their community and grow their business. Our post office licensees are hardworking small-business owners who are integral to how we deliver for Australia. They are the central hub in communities right across the country, support small businesses to grow and thrive, keep people connected and are a key part of the local economy.
“The role of the local post office has never been more critical than it has over the last two years as we all grappled with the impacts of Covid-19. The local post office is providing access to vital services that would not be easily accessible otherwise. Changes include that LPO operators will now receive increased Community Service Payments of up to A$3,000 (US$3,000) per year (based on the average daily customer service volumes) in place of the current fixed representation allowance. Licensees will also be eligible for new incentive payments that reward excellence in operational compliance and the achievement of performance targets.
“Additionally, annual minimum payment allowances will also increase by A$2,500 [US$1,775] for LPOs in metropolitan areas, A$5,000 [US$3550] for those in rural areas, and A$10,000 [US$7,100] for those in remote locations, ensuring the smallest LPOs remain viable and can continue to support their local communities who rely on their services. I would like to acknowledge and thank the Licensed Post Office Group for the considerable time it has put into this process and the Post Office Agents Association Limited for its valued input and participation in these discussions.”
Bob Chizzoniti, director of Post Office Agents Association Limited (POAAL), said, “POAAL’s dedicated team has worked hard to scrutinize Australia Post’s proposals over an extended period. Negotiations with Australia Post can be tough, but POAAL has managed to secure numerous concessions from Australia Post and improvements to the proposed payment scheme revisions. POAAL has been resolute in its efforts to achieve a workable and simple payment scheme for licensees. We have not budged in our demands for Australia Post to resolve various issues connected to licensee payments. In particular, we fought hard to ensure licensees in rural and remote Australia weren’t disadvantaged by any changes. These changes to LPO payments will result in licensees being better off overall, including licensees in rural and remote Australia.”
Angela Cramp, executive director of Licensed Post Office Group, said, “After a lengthy and constructive consultative process with Australia Post, we’re very pleased to see these new payments come into effect, recognizing licensees for their dedication, hard work and the way in which they support their local communities.”