‘Inundated’ Australia Post announces plan to deal with ‘unprecedented’ volume – ABC Rural

Australia Post customers who have waited as long as six weeks for letters and parcels to be delivered say they are fed up with the service.

Mail key points

Key points:

  • An Australia Post representative says the service is being “inundated” and is operating under peak period conditions on a consistent basis
  • Residents in WA who have been waiting for goods to arrive say they are particularly annoyed by the slowness of express post items
  • Australia Post has announced a plan to retrain 2,000 employees in a bid to deal with what it says is “unprecedented” volume

Karratha mother Renee Marshall said she had ordered syringes for her diabetic dog’s insulin early last month, but they still had not arrived.

Ms Marshall said her family had paid to have the goods sent via express post, which usually took less than a week.

“It was early March that we put in our order for the syringes,” she said.

Ms Marshall said if the syringes do not arrive within the next week, their family pet, Nurphy could be in serious trouble.

“It makes me anxious, really anxious,” she said.

The Marshall family are also celebrating their daughter’s 11th birthday this week, but with local shops running low on supplies and parcels delayed, Ms Marshall says her daughter might not be able to receive her gifts.

“We just go with the punches and just do the best we can,” she said.

“[We] hope her day, as well as all the other kids who have had birthdays and missed out on their parties and what not, is the best [it can be].”

Pilbara wildlife carer Rose Best is in the same boat.

She said she was “furious” after a small express post parcel she mailed from Karratha took more than two weeks to arrive in New South Wales.

“If express post is not available, then just say so,” she said.

Mail services flooded

Tim Whittaker from Australia Post said it had been “inundated”, with some postage categories experiencing a 200 per cent increase in demand compared with April 2019.

A significant increase in online shopping has caused the spike, according to Mr Whittaker.

“We’re getting a huge volume of people ordering online and parcels coming through the system,” he said.

“Take that coupled with social distancing measures that we need to implement to protect our people and also to protect the community, we’re seeing less people in our facilities being able to sort parcels and being able to get them out on the road quicker.”

Essential parcels such as medical supplies and express post are being prioritised, but Mr Whittaker said the situation was “not ideal”.


Retraining program announced

Meanwhile, Australia Post has announced it will retrain 2,000 motorbike posties to help manage the “unprecedented parcel volumes” of mail being sent across the country during the coronavirus pandemic.

The riders will be retrained to process or deliver parcels in vans, according to chief executive and managing director Christine Holgate.

“One point eight million parcels being sent each day are too large to be delivered by a traditional postie as people purchase items to allow them to stay at home,” she said.

State secretary for the communications union Shane Murphy said the service was struggling with the huge surge in demand.

“Millions of Australians who may have not done it before are now ordering online,” Mr Murphy said.

“We are not in normal circumstances, as everybody is living and feeling at the moment with this pandemic.

An Australia Post spokesperson said while parcel volumes have increased to levels similar to Christmas time, letter deliveries have almost halved.

“Around 97 per cent of our letter volumes come from businesses,” they said.

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