Australia Post will deliver parcels on Saturdays and extend guaranteed next-day Express Post letter and satchel delivery to households six days a week from the end of the year. In addition, Australia Post corporate outlets will also open on Saturdays nationwide.
Australia Post provides six-day service during the Christmas period and from this year these will be accessible all-year-round.
“The extension of weekend trading is a direct response to customer demand. Our customers have told us that they would like to see more services from us and this is the next step in growing our offering to meet those expectations,” said Australia Post Managing Director & CEO Ahmed Fahour.
“In addition to six days a week access to home delivery and stores, Australia Post has free access to online shopping Parcel Lockers that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week across Australia in over 160 locations.
“We also recognise that in today’s world we have to offer Australians access to our services in a trusted, convenient digital format. We’re not only expanding our range of trusted physical services but we’re also building digital infrastructure, such as our Digital Mailbox, that replicates the convenience, privacy, control, reliability and trust that we’ve always offered Australian consumers via our physical networks.
“The Digital Mailbox provides free of charge access to your mail from many providers including Telstra, AMP, Sydney Water, Yarra Valley Water, Brisbane City Council, on any internet enabled device, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If the mail is a bill, it can be paid directly through your mailbox and then digitally stored securely, free of charge.”
Mr Fahour however warned that Australia Post was at a critical point where losses from letter services have overtaken the profit made in its commercial parcels and retail services.
“Our projections show that with letter volume declines now accelerating to between 8 and 11 per cent per annum, our letter services, under current momentum, will lose $350 million this year and could grow to over $1 billion annually in losses. Without change and reform to letter services, we do not have the ability to absorb this loss and could, for the first time since corporatisation, become a cost to the government and ultimately the taxpayer,” he said.
“We believe we need to change today, while we are strong, so that this transition is done in an orderly way and so we can protect the community’s equity in our business. If we wait another 12 months it might be too late as the large losses from letters will overwhelm the organisation.
“It is clear to us that Australians trust our brand and want it to remain sustainable and relevant in the digital era. However, they also expect us to look after those in society who are more reliant on our services – the elderly, the disadvantaged, rural communities, small businesses and our employees.
“While we build and create a sustainable postal service for the digital world, we are taking important initiatives to look after our important stakeholders. Some recent examples are the introduction of the concession rate stamp that froze the cost of the basic domestic stamp at 60c for Federal Concession card holders and increased payments to Licensed Post Offices.
“In addition, we are carefully investing in increased training and development though our Post People First initiatives to provide retraining and redeployment opportunities for our staff.”
Mr Fahour also announced that from next year, in addition to the six-day-a-week guaranteed next-day Express Post letters and satchels service, all Australians would have access to a choice of speed (regular or priority) for letter delivery, similar to first and second class stamps in New Zealand, the UK and USA, following on from the introduction of a two speed letter service for Australian businesses on June 2.
“Even though 95 per cent of our mail is from businesses, corporates and government, we are pleased to be able to offer the same choice of speed to households in 2015,” he said.
“Australia Post will be a world leader in its postal services, offering choice and convenience through regular, priority and express mail services, plus express post delivery and extended opening of stores on Saturdays adding to our increased service offering. Australia Post 24/7 Parcel Lockers and digital mailbox will ensure that all Australians and Australian businesses can remain connected and have access to deliveries all day, every day, over an entire year.”