Australia Post moves to increase stamp prices

Australia

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Concession stamps, available to 5.7 million Australians including pensioners and veterans, will still cost 60¢. The price of posting a greeting card over Christmas will also remain at 65¢.

Ms Holgate said it would have been irresponsible to go another year without raising the price of stamps, with growing costs and a growing population.

“I’m sure your own bills at home have gone up,” Ms Holgate said.

She said it would also help community post offices in rural areas, who take a commission from sales, as well as other licensed partners, to stay afloat.

Australia Post last year lost $190 million in its letters business, despite “significant efficiency savings” and a booming number of parcels being sent around the country.

“In the last financial year, we delivered a profit in line with that three years earlier. We did this with 820 million less letters delivered to over 700,000 more homes,” Ms Holgate said in a statement.

Australia Post managing director and chief executive Christine Holgate says the price increase is a catch-up.

Australia Post managing director and chief executive Christine Holgate says the price increase is a catch-up.Credit:AAP

“Our posties deliver to more than 12.1 million addresses across the country. It doesn’t matter if they have one letter or 100 for the address, they still need to drive past the letterbox each day.”

Australia Post lodged the notice to the ACCC this week, as part of a lengthy process that is expected to include public consultation.

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Ms Holgate said she expected the proposal to be accepted based on the company’s efficiencies.

ACCC commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said the watchdog would consider trends in the postal industry when assessing the proposed price increase.

“We will consider various issues including … whether Australia Post has adequately explored efficiency improvements before increasing its letter prices,” Ms Cifuentes said in a statement.

“We will welcome submissions on this proposal and will take into account the views of industry stakeholders, consumers and Australia Post itself.”

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.Credit:Matt Golding

The ACCC does not approve the price increase but will assess whether it meets competition and consumer legislation and then notify Australia Post whether it has any objections. It will release its draft proposal in November this year.

Australia Post estimates the 10 cent increase would cost the average household less than $1.50 a year even if they regularly post letters.

Charities will still get discounts. Australia Post will still offer businesses and government customers, who post about 97 per cent of letters, incentives to use mail.

Ms Holgate said only about 2 per cent of letters were posted by the general population with no concession.

Australia Post expects to send about 2 billion letters this year, and for that to decrease about 10 per cent next year.

The retail award rate had grown by 13 per cent since the last raise in the postage rate, Australia Post said, along with other costs.

In 2017, Ms Holgate replaced former chief executive Ahmed Fahour, who walked away with $10.8 million in parting pay including superannuation after quitting.

Ms Holgate’s pay was set by the Remuneration Tribunal at a maximum $2.75 million a year, with a fixed base salary of $1.37 million, according to reports at the time.

Rachel is a breaking news reporter for The Age.

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