House debates

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Petition: Sebastopol Post Office

4:20 pm

Photo of Ms Catherine KingMs Catherine King (Ballarat, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development) Share this | | Hansard source

Late last year, the Sebastopol community was given the news that their post office would be closing and its services relocated to the next suburb over, denying accessible postal services to those who don't drive, who are older or who just have a bit of trouble getting around. Instead of standing by and accepting this, the proud community of Sebas stood up and got organised and began to make their voices heard. The redoubtable Joan Brown, who is in her 80s, along with Ian Rowe, Gail Locke and many other engaged community members, began a community campaign; they staged protests, wrote letters, made phone calls and circulated a petition over the summer.

Today, the petition has been mostly accepted by the petitions committee. I'll be presenting that petition. The petition has roughly 1,080 signatures, ranging from those who've just moved into the community to those who've lived there all of their lives. As you'd expect, many of the petitioners are older residents who rely on the post office and its services, particularly those who live in the Rosebank Retirement Village.

Unfortunately, the minister and the CEO of Australia Post are yet to heed the calls of the community, pushing ahead earlier this month with the plan to close the post office. Despite this setback, the campaign is not over. The post office building is still there. The facilities are ready. All that is needed is a new licence and a new operator and the Sebastopol Post Office can quickly be up and running again.

Australia Post exists to provide a service to the community. By closing this post office, essential services are being denied to the people of Sebastopol. Sebastopol has over 10,000 residents, with almost 20 per cent of those aged over 65. That's more than enough of a population to support a local post office. At the same time, the population of Delacombe has the highest annual growth rate in the state and is projected to reach almost 20,000 by 2036. Yes, Delacombe needs a post office, but so does Sebastopol. These two communities should not be played off against one another in their need for services.

I once more join with the Sebastopol community in urging the Morrison government and Australia Post to save the Sebastopol Post Office. It's not too late. All it needs is for the government to take action and for Australia Post to hear the calls of our community. This post office has been providing services, particularly banking services, in this local community for some time, and I can assure the House in the strongest possible terms that the residents of Sebastopol are not going to be quiet about this issue. I know Australia Post has been seeking to try and ensure that that does occur, but we won't be silent.

I seek leave to present the petition but also to table, alongside the petition, the additional signatures of 1,080 concerned residents of the Sebastopol community.

Leave granted.

Photo of Lucy WicksLucy Wicks (Robertson, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The document will be forwarded to the petitions committee for consideration and will be accepted subject to confirmation by the committee that it conforms with standing orders.