New plan to undermine postal service
The main postal union, the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), says the announcement by the Federal Government that it is abandoning its deregulation of Australia Post is a smokescreen for plans to further undermine Australia's postal service. The union says it is no surprise that the government has given up on its original deregulation — which would have removed Australia Post's monopoly from all but the standard 45 cent letter service — because it had no community support and had been rejected by an all-party Senate Committee. The Government has drawn up a new plan following lobbying by the Ausdoc corporation, a business document exchange company which has expanded into mail delivery between businesses. It has been revealed that there is new and secretive legislation which will allow companies like Ausdoc to be exempted from the reserved services provisions of the postal regulatory regime. These provisions ensure that Australia Post has sufficient revenue to fund its universal service obligations, ensuring that all Australians have access to affordable basic postal services. The new legislation places this guarantee under threat. The Bill will: * provide preferential legislative treatment for a single private operator at the cost of the national provider of universal postal services; * effectively deregulate the business-to-business mail market, opening up approximately $700 million, or 40 percent, of Australia Post's reserved service revenue to full competition; * potentially jeopardise the funding of Australia's reserved postal services, including the standard letter service and other vital postal services, especially those in unprofitable rural and regional Australia, with the potential for differential pricing. The union's Communication Division Secretary, Brian Baulk, said it was ridiculous that the Howard Government was continuing with its ideological drive to undermine one of the world's best performing postal services. "The exposure of this new plan confirms the failure of this government to respond to community opposition to postal deregulation", said Mr Baulk. "The new plan by the government represents a secret attempt to hoodwink the Parliament and the public to let deregulation through. There's no way this will happen." The CEPU says that postal workers will not sit idly by and let the government destroy Australia's postal network. A renewed campaign will be launched in the near future against the legislation.