AUSTRALIA Post continues to play a vital role in the movement of parcels, the Freight and Trade Alliance has argued in a submission.

The FTA submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications, included input from several working groups including the E-Commerce Reference Group (ECRG) which is composed of big online players Alibaba, e-Bay and Amazon.

In the submission, FTA director Paul Zalai noted that during the pandemic, e-commerce had rapidly evolved from being “a convenient way to buy, sell and transport goods to becoming an important way of maintaining business continuity and safely servicing the population’s consumption needs” during isolation.

Mr Zalai noted that the 2019 Australia Post annual report showed a collapse in the number of letters during the past 12 years, whereas the domestic parcel business had enjoyed solid growth.

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“But these two services, letters and parcels, should not be seen as mutually exclusive. Rather, both benefit one another, as revenue from delivery of goods has helped Australia Post sustain its nationwide network and maintain its letter delivery business,” Mr Zalai said.

“With continued investment and growth in the parcel business, Australia Post will not only be able to better perform as an essential last-mile delivery service, but it will also be better positioned to serve the community as a letter carrier.”

Mr Zalai also praised a memorandum of understanding between Australia Post and the Communications Union to protect employee conditions during the pandemic.

The MOU is to see letter delivery occur every second day with some posties redeployed to deliver and process parcels.

“In a time of extreme need, the above approach is seen as a pragmatic solution and an appropriate policy outcome,” Mr Zalai said. “The need for an extended arrangement is highlighted by the COVID19 outbreak currently being experienced in Victoria and must be maintained.”

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