'Snail mail' can't get slower

A much more equitable system would be to implement the two day service across the board

IT'S not easy taking over a privatised government business. People are used to a certain level of service which can’t possibly achieved while remaining in the black.

With this in mind, we feel a certain level for the Australia Post management team trying to balance the increasingly uncompetitive domestic mail business.

However, their plan to cut its next day letter service from regional towns to capital cities cannot be allowed to proceed.

As it is, rural leaders are working as hard as they can to try and attract business to areas, but are constantly struggling against infrastructure that does not stack up in comparison to what is on offer in urban areas.

Poor roads, non-existent public transport and slow Internet - rural business owners already have factors pushing them behind the eight ball in terms of competitiveness.

Now, add to that a slower mail service.

We know that "snail mail" isn't what it used to be, but it is still critical for the transfer of important documents.

Member for Mallee Andrew Broad is one of many rural people disappointed that Australia Post is reducing its regional services.

"While I accept that freight and logistics are expensive and there are costs pressures, and volumes are reduced through electronic communication, being able to shift physical products in a timely manner is essential to being able to conduct first world businesses in regional Australia," he said.

A much more equitable system would be to implement the two-day service across the board, with the option for businesses to pay for a premium service that allowed for overnight delivery.

That way, those who value the service can have it, and those that don’t have no grounds to complain.

We recognise the difficulties for businesses such as Australia Post or the telcos to cover the vast distances of rural Australia effectively, but government cannot allow this urban-rural divide to continue to grow.

Let’s not forget that the comfortable existence of suburbanites is made possible by the high quality food and fibre produced in rural areas.

It should be a given that residents across Australia have equal access to certain facilities to allow them to run their businesses.

In spite of its high cost, improving infrastructure and supporting service providers operating in rural areas is not going to be a dead investment for the government – far from it.

Already, rural Australia contributes a disproportionate amount to gross domestic product (GDP) through the massive contributions of the mining and agriculture sectors.

Should the right business tools be in place, there will be a chance to grow this exponentially over coming years and capitalise on the opportunities the Asian Century presents to both soft and hard commodities industries in Australia.

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

is the national grains writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
A matter of opinionA selection of editorials from around the Fairfax Agricultural Media group covering the issues of the week.


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