Postcard from Australia Post

This morning I read about a letter taking two months to arrive in Melbourne and another posted by a woman to hersef in her home town that took 8 days to arrive.

Now, I understand the running a postal service isn't easy, particularly in a country as big and sparsely populated as Australia. Email is replacing printed material in so many areas. I've signed up for emailed bank statements largely because I would be charged $1.85 per sheet for anything that needs to be printed and posted, but nothing for an email. I don't send letters to friends or family, and bills come to my gmail mailbox, and so many other people do the same thing.

Also, any government that expects a mail service to run at a profit under these circumstances is living in fantasy land, it just can't happen as all of the examples above show.

Then you have Australia Post making $222 million loss last year whilst upping the cost of a standard letter to $1 and adding another $.50 if you want the "premium" service. I really do understand the appeal of a two-tier postal service. I grew up in the UK where they've had just that for a very long time now. Once the initial tantrums dissipated, the service ran pretty well for customers. Of course, it's a far, far smaller country with lots more people and that has an impact of delivery costs.

But, for a spokeswoman to declare that Australia Post is delivering world class service is offensive. 3 weeks for a package to cross the country, two months for a letter to get to Melbourne and eight days to move a few postcodes is nothing remotely like world class. Not unless we're talking about the third world, that is.

And to refuse to discuss the level of customer complaints because they're under no legal obligation to do so is hiding from the problem. Mind you, that last bit can be laid at the feet of successive governments.

So, Australia Post, what's next? The amount of mail you have to handle is going to dimish and increasing customer costs appears to have made things worse. What's the plan?

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