Opening of Australia Post superstore, Hervey Bay
**CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY**
As I’m sure many of you are aware, I sit on the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee for Communications. One of the things we frequently discuss is the threat digital disruption presents to traditional business models.
Record companies and television stations have to compete against streaming services. Newspapers compete against online classifieds and news portals. Bricks and mortar stores are competing against online retailers from around the world.
Smartphones and tablets have transformed the way we live. More than 12 million Australian adults have access to a smartphone and expect to be able to access services like Internet banking almost anywhere and at any time of the day.
While people are no longer using postal services in the same way they once did, people still expect to be able to send a letter at low cost, five days a week to any of the 11.4 million premises Australia Post delivers to across this vast country of ours. We’re sending a billion fewer letters annually than we were seven year ago, while at the same time delivery addresses are increasing by 150,000 premises a year. This represents a significant decrease in income for Australia Post.
The opening of this superstore in Hervey Bay shows that Australia Post is moving with the times and is committed to service delivery in regional Australia.
24/7 parcel lockers, self-service terminals for paying bills, tax file applications, travel and passport services: Australia Post is modernising and diversifying to meet the needs of customers.
Australia Post services are particularly important in regional Australia, where internet is typically not as fast, there are fewer private courier services and distances are greater. To many who live in tight knit towns, their local “postie” is so much more than the person who delivers their mail or smiles at them over the counter – they’re an integral part of the community: a neighbour, a friend!
While we are working to improve internet services in the bush through fixed wireless and fibre to the node, and enhancing road infrastructure, I’m pleased Australia Post is also investing in their regional customers.
Australia Post recently announced a $51.4 million boost over four years for their regional network of Licensed Post Offices and Community Postal Agencies. Twelve Hinkler-based postal services will benefit from the boost.
I thank you for inviting me here today. I’m thrilled that Hervey Bay has been chosen as a site for one of 50 superstores being built in regional Australia by 2020. I’m sure it will be well utilised by the Hinkler community.