Thursday, 18 June 2020
Unbelievably, this week the government has voted to slash postal deliveries at least 19 times. The Morrison government is determined to change daily postal delivery to two days a week and reduce letter-delivery time from three days after posting to five business days; effectively, seven days. COVID-19 has reminded us about the negative consequences of social isolation. We want to be able to connect, but not everybody has the NBN or the money to pay for internet services and not everyone can get onto Zoom, and this government is trying to cut letter-delivery services that particularly older people in my electorate rely on.
Letters and cards mean a great deal to people in Dunkley. Here's just a very small sample of what they've been telling me. For Helen, it's the only way she gets to communicate with her grandbubba, and cards are a way to send a special message. Tracy's elderly relatives get excited when they get a card in the mail, because it lets them know that they're being thought of. Janet's 87-year-old neighbour doesn't have a computer. Pete is dismayed that Australia Post has been destroyed. Geoff has pointed out to me that he feels cuts to Australia Post service delivery have been going on for at least 18 months and he doesn't at all believe that this is really a COVID-19 measure from the government. He fears that these changes are intended to be permanent. Geoff's fears are shared by people across my electorate and by the Labor members of this place, and that's why we're fighting this government's regulation.
We know that the demand for parcel delivery has increased. It's forecast to increase by 20 to 25 per cent over the next few years, well ahead of pre-COVID forecast of 10 per cent. Parcel deliveries are up 65 per cent because of online shopping. It's going to be booming, so why is this not an opportunity to preserve and create jobs in Australia Post? Isn't that what we all want: job creation? The government talks the talk about JobMaker, but in the next breath puts a regulation into the parliament which will lead to job losses at Australia Post. It's about laying off unionised workers and shifting workload to contractors; cutting some jobs, transitioning others onto lower wages. Job cuts and reduced postal services are not on for my community, and using COVID-19 as cover to do it and pretend it's temporary is just unacceptable. That's why I voted against the government's regulation every time. It's why Labor has been fighting it, tooth and nail, every day in the parliament this week, and it's why Labor will keep fighting for it. To the people in Dunkley who have contacted me by email, phone or on Facebook: you can be assured we won't let this rest.