Australia Post has outlined the efforts it has had to undertake in order to keep the mail system moving through the COVID-19 crisis, and reiterated it’s calls for Government assistance.
On Monday, and last Friday, the Parliament voted on whether to allow Australia Post to cut the frequency of postie delivery rounds and extend mail delivery times.
The Labor party moved to disallow the regulations on both Friday and Monday, with Labor leader Anthony Albanese stating they will unfairly impact those living in regional areas that rely on postal services and could lead to job cuts – claims Australia Post has vehemently denied.
However, Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate said demand for parcels has exploded by 90 per cent during the pandemic, and that it had been operating at Christmas-level demand for the past ten weeks.
According to the Canberra Times, Australia Post had to charter 17 planes each day to keep up with demand after Qantas’ operations faltered. Additionally, 16 pop-up parcel-sorting facilities were being staffed by AusPost workers – some of which volunteered to do their part to keep operations running.
“We didn’t want to stand down our employees because there’s always that risk that if you don’t operate in a crisis you can become irrelevant,” Holgate said at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia state of the national forum on Tuesday.
And during the pandemic, 200,000 households shopped online for the first time, with many demanding parcels as soon as possible depsite delivery backlogs.
Last week, Australia Post committed to not forcing any postie to take redundancy payments, and that there are no plans to cut posties’ pay.
“[The] temporary changes will allow our business to keep pace with the way Australians are currently shopping, doing business, and connecting with each other,” Holgate said.
“The shift to online retail has dramatically increased during COVID, meaning that many Australian consumers and small businesses now rely on Australia Post to get their product to their customers as their main channel of business.”
Inside Retail has reached out to Australia Post for comment.