Australian Newsagency Blog

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

Government owned Australia Post makes drought worse for newsagents

Mark Fletcher
January 30th, 2007 · 4 Comments

The latest stationery catalogue released by Australia Post as part of their push deeper into newsagent territory is working. As posted here before, my question for Senator Coonan, the Minister responsible for the Government owned Australia Post, is what part of the Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989 permits Australia Post to sell shredders, dictionaries, maths and other software packs, calculators, USB sticks, safes, office labelers and the many other office products in the catalogue?

I wrote to Senator Coonan on September 26 and am yet to receive a credible response. This lack of accountability shames the Federal Government. That it allows and even encourages its own retail network of 863 100% Government owned stores aggressively pursue products well covered by small business newsagents makes a mockery of its small business credentials.

I should note that one of Senator Coonan’s assistants did respond but the letter did not address any of my letter. I wrote again on December 5 and have only received a brief letter indicating that the Minister will respond. One day maybe. In the meantime, the Government profits from sales taken from my newsagency.

A big disappointment in this catalogue is the introduction by Australia Post of the Smiggle stationery range. While they have every right to place their product wherever they can, I would have been happier seeing them support a small business network established in their space rather than supporting a government business trying to chase the small business network out of town.

As I have said in recent posts on this topic:

Government ownership and regulation makes Australia Post stores destination stores. My newsagency does not have this monopoly advantage. Australia Post is abusing this advantage to encroach more and more into space previously the domain of newsagencies, some supermarkets and stationery stores. 

I cannot land consumers to my store for the same low cost of Australia Post.

I cannot leverage a national brand like Australia Post to buy competitively.

I cannot control my opening and closing hours.

I cannot get the rent discount of an “essential service”.

I do not have a government protected postal service brand with which to leverage the sale of unrelated items.

When farmers talk of the impact of droughts the government steps in with assistance. When auto makers talk of the impact of cheap imports the government steps in and helps. When newsagents talk of the impact of Australia Post the government ignores us.

Australia Post is our drought. For many years now it has been draining newsagencies of revenue. Many are close to death.

How many newsagencies need to close as a result of Australia Post competition before we see action?


Category: Australia Post · Newsagency challenges

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Not to be taken seriously // Jan 30, 2007 at 10:37 AM

    I went to the Smiggle site. I do not understand it. What is this site for. Being Flash it obviously isn’t about being found in search engines.


  • 2 mark fletcher // Jan 30, 2007 at 2:43 PM

    It’s about stationery for girls.


  • 3 Max // May 3, 2007 at 12:12 PM

    Smiggle is more than just for girls people. It’s actually a well priced avenue to experience stationery usually reserved for boutique shops at silly prices.
    The site’s a little slow if you don’t have a decent PC or internet with enough bandwidth.


  • 4 C Stephens // May 4, 2007 at 4:35 PM

    You suggested I read the whole blog (Is Windows Vista a dog of a magazine, 3 May 07) and I’ve started.

    … stationery catalogue released by Australia Post as part of their push deeper into newsagent territory.

    Whose territory? Stationery would be stationers’ territory, wouldn’t it?

    C Stephens
    CEO, 40+yrs biz experience


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