Group believes Australia Post losses are 'overstated'
PROPOSED changes to Australia Post services have prompted union officials to take their concerns to the streets.
Communication Workers Union (CWU) assistant national secretary Martin O'Nea was in Bundaberg yesterday as part of a national tour.
Mr O'Nea called on community members to sign a petition as part of an ongoing national campaign against Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull's and Australia Post's proposed changes.
However the Australia Post and the Federal Government defended the proposals, which are yet to be confirmed, but are part of a process to deal with Australia Post's falling profits.
Mr O'Nea said he wanted to inform the public about the proposals to massively increase prices while at the same time cutting services.
"We believe raising prices and cutting services will have a more detrimental effect on the service," he said.
"Australia Post is still profitable. We think losses are overstated.
"No doubt Australia Post has to adapt but we believe the changes are radical."
Mr O'Nea said the proposed changes included creating a two-speed service for stamped mail, deregulating the price of overnight delivery, slowing the regular mail to three days or longer and transferring regional mail sorting to metro sorting centres, slashing regional jobs.
But Australia Post denied regional centres would suffer and said it was absolutely committed to regional communities.
A spokeswoman said the proposed changes would help keep its network of over 4400 post offices open - including vital regional and rural post offices.
"Importantly, there will be no forced redundancies for employees likely impacted by new service changes and support programs are in place to ensure they are treated fairly, equitably and respectfully," she said.
"The rise of digital communications has resulted in the number of letters delivered per household to fall by one-third since volumes peaked in 2008. That means our posties are delivering 1.2 billion fewer letters than they did seven years ago.
"We are currently forecasting an enterprise-wide loss in 2015, the first since Australia Post was corporatised in 1989, as the losses in the mail service overwhelm other profitable parts of the business such as parcels.
The spokeswoman said Australia Post was proposing to introduce a new regular letters service delivered two days slower than the current timetable.
"People wanting to send mail to the existing schedule will pay more for a priority service," she said.
"We have also confirmed that we will seek approval from the ACCC to increase the current Basic Postage Rate (BPR) of 70c.
"Australia's 5.7 million concession cardholders will still be able to purchase a stamp at 60c with the MyPost Concession Account and Seasonal Greeting Cards will also be frozen at 65c."
In February, Mr Turnbull said that without reform the viability of local post offices throughout the country would be strained and taxpayers would be called on to subsidise Australia Post's losses of $6.6 billion over 10 years.