A BIG jump in the cost of mailing a standard letter and longer delivery times from January 4 threaten basic communication rural people depend on, according to the Country Womens Association (CWA).
From next Monday, the basic postage rate will jump 43 per cent from 70 cents to $1 for what Australia Post describes as regular delivery – up to two business days longer than what will be known as a priority service costing another 50 cents and offering delivery within one to four business days, depending on destination.
Some critics of the changes argue Australia Post is charging more for an inferior service, while the post service says the reforms are necessary for it to maintain a five-day-a-week service.
CWA Riverina Group president, Ann Adams, said the priority service would cost 114 per cent more than the current 70-cent stamp and offer no better service.
“It’s horrible, I just can’t believe it,” Mrs Adams said.
She said the price hikes might backfire on Australia Post by driving down demand for its struggling letter services even further.
“I still like to send greeting cards to people, but I will think twice about it now,” Mrs Adams said.
“I think people will say ‘ blow it, I’ll send an email instead’.”
Mrs Adams said increased mailing costs would also slug volunteer organisations such as the CWA that do a lot of mailing.
“It’s going to be a great expense for us as an association,” said Mrs Adams as she prepared to send out new year letters to members.
“It’s going to put a big burden on us financially, taking away money we could put into donations.”
Gretchen Sleeman, of San Isidore, has criticised Australia Post in the past for not delivering some mail quickly. As the latest changes loomed, Mrs Sleeman wondered about the plight of people who received letters from government departments and others more than a week after they were mailed but demanding a reply within 14 days.
“They will have to make allowances in setting up their schedules from now on,” Mrs Sleeman said. She also wondered how long the 60 cents concession rate for regular delivery for pensioners would last.
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