AUSTRALIA Post franchisees are being urged to give evidence to a new Senate inquiry into the nation's post office network, amid claims of poor remuneration for package delivery.
The inquiry was launched last week by senators Ron Boswell of the Nationals, independent Nick Xenophon and John Madigan of the DLP.
It will examine claims from licensed post office owners from around the country that government payments to handle package delivery are not meeting the costs of the service.
The role of package delivery for Australia Post outlets has become a major issue in recent years, on the back of online shopping demand increasing deliveries.
Senator Boswell and fellow National Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie raised in the issue in party room meetings in Canberra last week, fearing regional post offices could be forced to close.
"The increase in online shopping means thousands more parcels are being handled by post offices than in previous years," Senator Boswell said.
"The number of parcels in international mail has more than doubled between 2006-2007 and 2010-11 to more than 48 million."
Senators Xenophon and Madigan have backed the inquiry, in an effort to help the 3000-odd franchisees meet the costs of delivering packages to homes.
"This issue affects everyone and it's vital that ordinary Australians have their say - especially those in smaller communities with fewer options for having their mail delivered," Senator Xenophon said.
"In fact it's so important, the committee has to finish its report by the end of the second week of the December. That means anyone who wants to have their say should speak up now."
The inquiry is open for public submissions until November 25, and must report by mid-December, in the lead up to the postal service's busiest time of the year.
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