Australian Newsagency Blog

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

Small Business Minister fails Business 101

Mark Fletcher
December 28th, 2006 · No Comments

The Federal Minister for Small Business, Fran Bailey, has responded to my November 16 letter about Australia Post. However, calling the Minister’s letter a response is inaccurate. One of her assistants has selected an off the shelf letter which is vaguely related and sent this to me.

My letter is specifically about the 865 Government owned Post Shop outlets and that many of the products they sell are not permitted under the Act under which Australia Post operates.

Rather than deal with my letter, the Minister reminds me that 3,611 Australia Post outlets are privately owned. My letter lists non postal items being sold by the Government business in competition with businesses like mine. The Minister writes about courier and related postal services. My letter raises the issue of Australia Post using its monopoly brand to land people in its stores for far less than I or any commercial business can. The Minister is silent on this.

The response by the Minister is grossly inadequate. It is a non response. If this were a High School assignment in business letter writing I would fail the student as they have not demonstrated any understanding of the original letter. From this letter I receive no confirmation that Minister Bailey actually read my letter nor that the Government understands the nature of my complaint.

The vague nature of the letter allows for the Minister an AWB type defence: she can claim she did not read my letter; that the response was prepared by an adviser; that her letter was factual.

There is a disconnect here Ms Bailey. I am a taxpayer bringing to you a serious problem caused by a Government owned enterprise, a problem which is costing jobs in small businesses like my newsagency. My take-away from your letter is that you care more about Australia Post than my small business. Your vague disconnected response is the latest in a stream of communication from this Government .

I urge the Government to amend the Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989 to limit what Australia Post can sell through its own retail outlets and to names postal items such as envelopes and Post branded packaging materials. Such would be the action of a Government committed to small business.

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