Australia Post backs down following perishable goods debacle

- April 23, 2021 2 MIN READ

Australia Post has backflipped on its decision to cease delivering perishable goods following a massive outcry from small business food producers and advocates.

Earlier this week the government-owned postal and delivery service had announced it would stop delivering perishables from June 30. The announcement was met with outcry from food producers and the Australian Small Business Ombudsman who suggested it would be devastating to local producers.

AusPost backflips on perishable goods

In a statement to media, Acting CEO Rodney Boys said AusPost had realised its error and was working  on a solution to ensure its small business customers could continue to trade.

“We recognise the original date for ceasing perishable transport through our network would cause significant disruption to small businesses, many who have experienced significant growth in e-commerce sales during COVID-19,” said Boys.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson says today’s decision by Australia Post to continue shipping perishable goods across the country will bring joyful relief to small business food producers.

Ombudsman to head up working group

Billson will co-chair an industry working forum, which will work collaboratively to resolve any issues Australia Post is experiencing across its delivery network, to support small business food producers.

“I look forward to working closely with Australia Post and all relevant stakeholders to ensure small businesses can continue to count on these essential delivery services,” Mr Billson says.

“Small business food producers, especially those in regional areas, are breathing a huge sigh of relief today that they can continue doing what they do best – growing their business – with confidence that their goods will be delivered by Australia Post.

“Australia Post has positioned itself as the delivery partner to small businesses and family enterprises, particularly to those businesses that moved to selling their products online as a result of the COVID crisis.

“This partnership has benefited both sides of the relationship and consumers.”

AusPost now doing right by customers

Previously the ombudsman had condemned Australia Post for its unilateral declaration to end vital delivery services. Now, Billson says, AusPost is doing the right thing.

Australia Post is doing the right thing for its small business customers by reversing this decision.

“Now is the time to be working together to identify what the problems are and to find solutions to make a pathway forward.

“Let’s roll up our sleeves so that we can achieve a much better outcome for e-commerce powered small businesses who rely on Australia Post to fulfil their orders.”

The Ombudsman will meet with Australia Post next week and then again with the broader industry group in May. Mr Billson will collaborate closely with his state-based Small Business Commissioner colleagues to ensure their valuable perspective and regulatory insights are part of the problem-solving approach.

Regular sessions will be held with key regulatory bodies, government agencies and e-commerce representatives to work towards a resolution on this important issue.

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