The Commission of Audit #COA, chaired by former Business Council leader Tony Shepherd, has called for the privatisation of Australia Post (AP). The Business Council is strongly backing the privatisation of AP.
The report says “AP is likely to experience significant pressure on its profitability due to the ongoing decline in letter volumes. This presents a major risk to the Budget and a risk to the continued delivery of postal services to the public without reform of Australia Post’s community service obligations and cost structure, and/or privatisation.”
The report also says AP has put forward a proposal to take over and modernise the delivery of a range of government services, particularly those delivered by the Department of Human Services (DHS). The scoping study would need to examine community service obligations in letter delivery and other 'reserved’ services'.
The proposal focuses on the integration of DHS service points within AP’s network of over 4,400 retail outlets and its role as a trusted provider of third party services. All DHS functions, other than strategic policy development, would be integrated into AP. According to the report, 334 Centrelink service centres, 126 rehabilitation centres and 139 standalone Medicare offices would be amalgamated into AP’s network. In addition, 334 new ‘Supercentres’ would be established to offer DHS and AP services.
AP would bring improved convenience for clients by developing digital alternatives – initially through acquiring the myGov platform operated by DHS – and through the Australia Post Digital Mailbox. The proposal is predicated on a one-off investment cost of $1.5billion to $2billion and AP has projected it to deliver net benefits of $1 billion to $1.2 billion annually.
The proposal claims to deliver total staffing reductions of about 9,000 people, with 5,000 from DHS and 4,000 from AP (that’s more than 12% of AP employees), resulting in some $700 million of lower costs.
The AP proposal would be rolled out over five years from 2015. At this time, the Commission has not undertaken a detailed verification of the estimates of costs and benefits of the proposal provided by AP.
Privatisation will certainly be resisted by your union. Any attempt to privatise AP would attract a lot of opposition especially from rural Australia where the post office is the backbone of a small town. But even in the city the general public is not ready to have anybody else delivering to their door. See our website: www.handsoffaussiepost.org.au