Australia Post allegedly considered ditching post offices for automated kiosks, according to a report.
Australia Post allegedly considered ditching post offices for automated kiosks, according to a report.

Radical plan to ditch post offices

An Australia Post review revealed it was considering the drastic step of cutting letter deliveries and replacing branches with automated kiosks to cut costs.

According to a confidential strategic review from May 2018 seen by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, an analysis by PwC revealed Australia Post was facing an estimated loss of $426 million by 2021.

The review was fronted by Australia Post boss Christine Holgate and was handed over to the organisation's board.

It found Australia Post was "unnecessarily complex" and "business customers are not being adequately served", which led to "missed opportunities" and "poor" customer experience, according to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

The review also included several suggestions for cutting costs and improving performance, including reducing regular letter deliveries to just once a week, which could save $184 million per year but would lead to a delivery standard of up to 10 days for people in rural or remote locations.

The review was fronted by Australia Post boss Christine Holgate. Picture: Gary Ramage
The review was fronted by Australia Post boss Christine Holgate. Picture: Gary Ramage

Another option was to reduce the post office network and, in some cases, replace branches with "automated kiosks".

"Downsizing the network may involve a transition over time to smaller-footprint locations, moving back-of-house delivery activity to centralised locations and replacing full-service locations to small-footprint automated kiosks with parcel lockers," the document allegedly states.

An Australia Post spokesman would not comment on the specifics contained within the report but told news.com.au the document was now "outdated".

"May 2018 is now some time ago, so any assumptions made at that point in time would now be outdated and we will not comment on the contents of a confidential report," the spokesman said.

"We regularly review our strategies and seeks expert input for consideration by board and management.

"We know that many Aussies see Australia Post as the most present service provider in communities, ahead of schools, cafes, pubs and grocery stores. Australia Post is committed to continuing to be one of the most trusted service provider in regional and rural Australia."

Late last year it was revealed Ms Holgate was the country's highest paid civil servant after she earned more than $2.5 million in 2018/19.

Her wage was up from $1.646 million after being bolstered by $300,000 in extra bonuses and $224,500 in other long-term benefits, according to government documents reported by The Australian Financial Review.

The eye-watering figure does, however, pale in comparison to her predecessor Ahmed Fahour whose $6.8 million salary sparked widespread condemnation and led to former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull admitting "that remuneration is too high".

 

Originally published as Radical plan to ditch post offices