Local Post Boxes Parliament Speech

Mr PICTON (Kaurna) (13/05/2015, 15:22:00): I rise to talk about an important issue in the growing and new suburb of Seaford Meadows which, of course, as with all new suburbs, needs the associated infrastructure to go with the new houses that are moving in. Seaford Meadows now has many parks and gardens, and it has a railway station which this government built in the area, but some of the things that are raised with me when I doorknock and talk to people in Seaford Meadows are in regard to the infrastructure that you would not otherwise think of.

Late last year, two ideas were put to me in relation to things which this new suburb needed which I was happy to raise and I continue to raise; the first was a phone box in the area. Many people nowadays use mobiles, so it does not necessarily mean a lot, but for people who do not have a mobile or who have children who do not have a mobile having a phone box in the area is very important. I did think it would be quite difficult to convince Telstra to put one in, given that their budgets are always stretched, but I wrote a letter to Telstra and put in a submission, and they were able to say that they will be putting a phone box into the Seaford Meadows area. So I congratulate Telstra publicly on the attitude they have taken to helping out the people of Seaford Meadows.

In vast comparison to that, I have been trying to deal with Australia Post, and dealing with Australia Post on a very simple request to put a red postbox in the area—what they call a 'street postbox'—has been very difficult. I first wrote to Australia Post in September last year, saying:

Seaford Meadows is a rapidly expanding housing development in the southern metropolitan region, with over a thousand residences, but Australia Post has not yet installed a postbox in the suburb.

I believe it would be of great convenience to the residents of Seaford Meadows, if Australia Post were to install a postbox in this area.

I thought that should quite easily get a good response and that they would turn around and say, 'We've missed the mark here, let's install a postbox.' But I received a response in October last year from Cheryl Ondrasek, from Australia Post, and she said no, essentially, that they would not be installing a red postbox in this large growing suburb for two reasons: the first was that they had reviewed the SPB policy and there were two SPBs located within two kilometres of Seaford Meadows shopping centre, one on the corner of Cliff Avenue and Norseman Street and the other on the corner of Seaford Road and Flinders Avenue, 1.8 kilometres away. She states:

Further more, we do not believe a new SPB in Seaford Meadows would attract the minimum level of daily postings required to make it commercially viable (i.e. an average of 25 articles per day) at this stage.

I was very happy to take up that challenge. I sent a letter to every single resident in Seaford Meadows, with a survey and a petition, and received 159 responses to that petition, which is a very high percentage response rate to such a thing, asking whether they supported a postbox, which they did, and also asking how many articles per day they would post. If you add up all of the responses, it would be an average of 31.8 articles per day just on the basis of those 158 people.

I was very happy to provide that information to Australia Post, as well as the fact that the postbox would be at least a 20-minute walk away for people in Seaford Meadows, which is obviously difficult for people who cannot walk that far very easily. I also noted that Australia Post made $116 million profit after tax and that Telstra had been cooperative about the phone box. Last month (in April), I received a response to my letter and the survey and the petition, basically saying no again. Even though I wrote to the chief executive of Australia Post, Mr Ahmed Fahour—

The Hon. P. Caica: He wouldn't have responded to you; he didn't respond to you.

Mr PICTON: He did not respond to me, no, as the member for Colton predicted. I received a response from B. Crosbie (no first name), who is the board and shareholder liaison. He has said that, essentially, no, they will not be doing it because it is within two kilometres of the area. It is a very long letter, but that is essentially the gist of it.

So, I looked at the whole area of my electorate and thought, 'Well, is there anywhere that doesn't have a postbox within two kilometres of a residential area as per the Australia Post policy, because surely they are enforcing this policy everywhere?' and I was very interested to see that, no, Silver Sands in Aldinga does not have that. I have raised that with Australia Post and hope that they see the light of day.

I also note that I have raised this matter with the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman is now investigating this matter. So, I call on Australia Post to change their position and very quickly install a street postbox in Seaford Meadows.

 

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