Reading the latest Australia Post catalogue it is clear that the operators of the government owned and protected corporation will put the needs of their shareholders and protectors, the federal government, ahead of the needs of small businesses.
We newsagents complain but what are we doing?
Unlike supermarkets, convenience stores and others winning business from those who might otherwise have shopped at our businesses, Australia Presents us an opportunity because of the government ownership.
A relentless, professional and co-ordinated campaign could get the politicians to have to make a decision. They go on about competition policy yet for selfish reasons ignore their own advice. I think that they are weak on this.
The problem is that Australia Post is not a broad small business issue. It is an issue particular to newsagency businesses.
It frustrates me that politicians on all sides support this government owned business and through their support permit it to continue to target small businesses, like newsagencies. They have to decide whether they want profits from Australia Post or jobs in newsagencies.
Look at the items on the front cover of the catalogue. What do they have to do with postal services?
Section 14 of the Act requires Australia Post to provide a postal service first and foremost:
The principal function of Australia Post is to supply postal services within Australia and between Australia and places outside Australia.
Section 15 talks about permitted subsidiary functions:
A subsidiary function of Australia Post is to carry on, outside Australia, any business or activity relating to postal services.
Section 16 talks about other permitted functions:
Functions incidental businesses and activities
(1) The functions of Australia Post include the carrying on, within or outside Australia, of any business or activity that is incidental to: (a) the supplying of postal services under section 14; or (b) the carrying on of any business or activity under section 15.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the functions of Australia Post include the carrying on, within or outside Australia, of any business or activity that is capable of being conveniently carried on: (a) by the use of resources that are not immediately required in carrying out Australia Post’s principal or subsidiary function; or (b) in the course of: (i) supplying postal services under section 14; or (ii) carrying on any business or activity under section 15.
The last federal government and the current one have permitted Australia Post to take millions of dollars in revenue from small business. The situation is getting worse.