Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

The Howard Government: Putting Australia’s Interests First (circa 2001)

Mark Fletcher
June 24th, 2005 · 1 Comment

The internet is a cache of gems. I just found this Election 2001 document, Delivering The Future from the Liberal Party.

The document talks about Australia Post and the Liberal commitment to public ownership, the Universal Service Obligation and a bright future of good service for Post customers.

It has this to say about small business:

The availability of affordable postal products and services is essential to the operation of any small business. Whether it’s sending out accounts, sending items COD or business banking at the local post office, small business relies heavily on the broad range of services provided by Australia Post.

To assist small business in accessing postal services and obtaining information on the best products and services to meet their needs, the Coalition will work with Australia Post in establishing dedicated Small Business Units in each State and Territory. These units will be responsible for providing advice and assistance to small business operators and act as the first point of contact in relation to disputes.

The document does not talk about Australia Post competing with small businesses such as newsagents. Sure, it’s not part of the party’s policy. It should be. The Liberal party and all parties for that matter should adopt a policy of Australia Post exiting retail or the government divesting itself of Australia Post retail outlets with such divestment allowable only to individuals or companies operating businesses below a certain size.

The Liberal manifesto is quick to point out what it considers to be the Labor party’s failings in relation to Australia Post. Today, four years on, small business ought to be up in arms about the Australia Post story and the Liberal party failings to deliver for small business.

Here we have a government owned enterprise competing against small businesses like my own on non traditional Australia Post product such as ink jet cartridges, greeting cards, paper, pens and other basic stationery items.

The Howard Government ought to show that it is a friend of small business by introducing a policy of non competition with small business. It has no business owned these Australia Post retail stores – not now that they are clones of newsagencies.

If the government wants to be in retail why not open up against Coles and Woolworths? Ridiculous I know but think back to a Post Office fifteen years ago and visit one today. The difference is amazing. Small business owners are the losers.

Those driving Australia Post have got away with their commercialisation strategy for long enough. It’s time the government brought in a policy which created a level playing field. It’s time for the government to deliver for small business.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Shaylan // Sep 27, 2006 at 10:46 PM

    An important factor to consider is that the first one to five years of small business operation can be critical in the survival of a new business. Thirty percent of small businesses are considered unsuccessful in the first year of operation. A further 10% are considered unsuccessful at the end of a further four years (ABS Cat. No. 8127.0). Small business performance would still be at least as good as the all industry average, and in some cases, significantly better than larger sized businesses if they can tap into business coaching centres. Therefore Real Leaders is fulfilling a vital and much needed service in the current context in Australia.

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