Fed up with Australia Post's cuts to country jobs and services, country postal workers and supporters protested outside Australia Post's Melbourne headquarters on October 6.
"The protest is being held because of an executive decision to downgrade country mail centres in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Morwell and Seymour", said Joan Doyle, Victorian secretary of the Communication Workers Union.
A postie on a motorbike delivered an oversized letter on behalf of all the regional centres. ACTU president Sharan Burrow and Victorian Labor Senator Gavin Marshall took the letter into Australia Post managers, who have refused to consult with the union on the matter.
Australia Post has begun transporting large amounts of mail out of regional areas to be sorted at Dandenong. "This will lead to the loss of many jobs in these towns", Doyle said. "Service will also suffer as it will add an additional day to the delivery time for many country residents and businesses, and lead to an inferior service with more returned and misdirected mail."
Doyle said the service cuts are being accompanied by attempts to privatise several country post offices and the contracting out of country delivery and transport jobs. "Whatever small savings there were for Australia Post — which makes $500 million profit annually — in this policy, it has a major social cost for our country communities", she said. "We want a commitment from Australia Post that it will not follow Telstra's path and abandon regional and rural Australia."