Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Mail delivery to take extra day across Benalla

Australia Post has made sweeping changes to its domestic mail business last month.

MONIQUE FREER April 2, 2014 4:10am

Residents in Benalla and district will need to allow an extra day for the delivery of postal mail outside the area after Australia Post made sweeping changes to its domestic mail business last month.

The change is a double blow for residents still embracing postal mail, after the basic postage rate rose from 60¢ to 70¢ this week.

Australia Post said both changes were made in response to rapidly declining mail volumes and an annual loss in the domestic mail business of $218.4million.

‘‘This means that some towns will have their service adjusted, with non-local mail between metro and regional areas taking two days to reach its destination,’’ an Australia Post spokesperson said.

‘‘We appreciate the impact this may have on some residents in these areas. However, losses in our domestic mail business have grown by almost 60 per cent to $218.4million last financial year and, if unchecked, would significantly impact our ability to continue to deliver an efficient and cost-effective national mail service.’’

Mail was previously sorted at five regional centres including Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and Gippsland.

A second effort to reduce the company’s financial loss came into effect on Monday, with the increase to the basic postal price.

‘‘The current stamp price no longer reflects the true cost of delivering each letter, and stamp price increases have not kept up with inflation,’’ Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour said.

‘‘We are always reluctant to increase the price of postage but we know that it’s absolutely necessary to maintain essential services and support our critical retail network of more than 4400 outlets.’’

Mr Fahour said a concession rate stamp would be introduced to offset the price increase for eligible customers.

‘‘We are very mindful of the potential cost-of-living impact this increase might have on Australians — particularly pensioners, job-seekers and low-income earners,’’ he said.

‘‘The 60¢ rate would be held until 2017, in effect maintaining the stamp price at the same cost for seven years for those 5.7million eligible Australian customers.’’

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