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‘Hats off’: Australia Post backflips on ‘crippling’ delivery decision

Jessica Yun
·3-min read
(Source: Getty, delicious)
(Source: Getty, delicious)

Australia Post has announced it has decided against a crucial change to its delivery service that would have had a “crippling” impact on hundreds of small businesses across the country.

Until yesterday, the postal service was planning to stop delivering perishable goods after 30 June, citing complex regulation that differed across states.

The looming change sparked backlash from small businesses and fresh food producers from all across the country, particularly in regional and remote areas.

A petition was also established by farming lobby group AgForce Queensland, which had more than 14,000 signatures, to urge Australia Post to reconsider the decision.

In a statement today, Australia Post announced it would continue to ship perishable goods beyond July.

“We recognise the original date for ceasing perishable transport through our network would cause significant disruption to small businesses, many who have experienced significant growth in eCommerce sales during COVID-19,” said Australia Post acting CEO Rodney Boys.

A new industry working forum has also been put together to resolve the cross-state regulatory issues. This forum will be co-chaired by Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson and a representative from Australia Post.

The new forum would help Australia Post “better understand what our customer capabilities and needs are and work hand-in-hand with regulators to determine where changes may be required,” Boys said.

Billson was part of the wave of small businesses calling for the decision to be reversed, and on Wednesday said the abrupt decision could be “devastating”.

The small business ombudsman said he was encouraged by the postal service’s willingness to work with the industry to resolve issues across its delivery network and said he wanted to help eCommerce-driven small businesses that rely on the postal service to deliver their products.

The ombudsman and Australia Post will meet next Tuesday, while the industry forum will meet in May with a "view to hold regular sessions" thereafter.

Switching from AusPost could cost small businesses thousands

Pepe Saya founder Pierre Issa told Yahoo Finance that the decision reversal represented a “massive win” for both customers – who would continue to be able to receive items they buy online – as well as businesses across the country.

“The investment we’ve made from a business point of view into systems that support Australia Post logistics is huge. We never talk about those things,” he said.

But switching from these systems, and even changing the website, can come to thousands of dollars, Issa said.

“We’ve been [using] Australia Post now for six years. Our systems are well and truly embedded in our culture of how we do things.”

“Hats off to Australia Post, this is all I can say, for recognising and listening to the community,” he said.

“We’re not out to fry anyone. We’re just here to say, hey, look at this [again].”

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