May 08, 2014

Horse 1671 - Going Postal Before The Post Office Goes To The Dogs
Australia Post chairman John Stanhope said a user-pays postal system was a viable option after the company's letter operations ­suffered a $218 million loss last year because the public had sent fewer letters than ever.
The user-pays model means residents would pay an annual bill in addition to the stamp price, which increased from 60¢ to 70¢ in March.
"If you want it fast, you pay for it," Mr Stanhope said.
"You want it more related to the cost base, so if you are happy enough for your letter to be delivered less frequently then you pay less, if you want it more frequent you pay more, if you want it express you pay more, so you pay for the level of service," he told Fairfax Media following a Trans-Tasman lunch in Melbourne on Tuesday.
- Sydney Morning Herald, 7th May 2014

What a top idea!
I'm thinking completely crazily right now, so hear me out. Maybe we could have a system where the sender pays in advance for the mail to be delivered and the proof of that payment could be affixed to the mail in some way. We could even affix that proof in the top right hand corner of our mail.
I don't know, perhaps we could charge a small fee, say about 60 or 70 cents, for a letter to be sent and more for large letters and parcels and maybe we could even have a different kind of fee for a faster, less call it "Express" postal delivery service.
I don't know, maybe someone has had the idea of a uniform low rate of Postage before. I could be wrong about that though.

I have a distinct problem with the idea that Australia Post is toying with. Okay, fair enough that if you want more frequent deliveries then you pay more and less deliveries then you pay less but what happens if multiple "customers" have different delivery plans on the same street?

What happens for instance if for just one street, Banana Street in Banana Town:
- the residents at Numbers 3, 9, 11, 17, 25, 2, 8, 14, 16, 18, Banana Public School and 32 are on daily delivery schedules
- the residents at Numbers 1, 5, 7, 13, 19, 21, 23, 27, 29, 31, 4, 6, 10, 12, 20, 22, and 30 are on 3-day delivery schedules
- the residents at Numbers 33 and 28 are on a weekly schedule, and
- Mr Bun, the grumpy man at number 15 gets his mail from the post office?

Postman Pat still has to travel down Banana Street every single day after leaving Banana Post Office. One some days he doesn't deliver to houses but still have to pass by them. Where are the "savings" to be made here? And what if lots of people decide that they want to be like Mr Bun, the grumpy man at number 15? Suddenly, Banana Post Office has to keep all of those letters and parcels on-site, where they might pile up for days; whereas previously, they'd have been moved out as part of the regular mail delivery run, which by the way still has to be done.
It's enough to drive you... well... er... down Banana Street (but not delivering the mail to those people who haven't paid for a daily service obviously).

Also from the same article:
Former boss of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Graeme Samuel repeated his view at the same lunch that the service should be sold by the federal government, joining other powerful supporters including former chairman David Mortimer and the Business Council of Australia.
''Of course it should be privatised and of course it will be subject to the mother of all scare campaigns,'' Mr Samuel recently told Fairfax. ''We will hear about how it will remove services from the bush but if people look at the arguments rationally, they just don’t stack up.
- Sydney Morning Herald, 7th May 2014

This wouldn't by any chance be the same Graeme Samuel who once was the executive director of Macquarie Bank would it? The same Graeme Samuel who was a founder of corporate "advisors" Grant Samuel & Associates?

I wonder where Graeme Samuel's connections lie. Maybe with the IPA? Wouldn't it be curious if the IPA's position was also to privatise Australia Post (No.48)? I don't suppose that the Commission of Audit just happens to agree with that as well does it? Oops, maybe it does:
The Commission recommends that a number of entities be privatised including in the near
term: Australian Hearing Services; Snowy Hydro Limited; ASC Pty Ltd; and Defence Housing
Australia. In the medium term the Australian Postal Corporation; Moorebank Intermodal
Company Limited; Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited; Royal Australian Mint; and
COMCAR should be privatised.
- Page xxviii, Commission of Audit, Phase One, Feb 2014

What's Mr Samuel's interest in having Australia Post privatised? What does he gain personally from all of this? Perhaps he is casting his eye over the profits of Australia Post and is thinking that maybe, he personally deserves a slice of those.
Group profit of $281 million and strong profit growth of 16.6 per cent - the second year of profit growth under the current "Future Ready" strategy.
- Australia Post, 11 Oct 2012.

I'm growing suspicious of news articles like this. There seems to be a cabal of people who are loosely connected, with the intent of finding the few remaining government services and stealing them from the good and fair people of Australia; given what happened with the privatisation of the Royal Mail in the UK, I think that we should be very very suspicious of people like Graeme Samuel.

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