Australia’s postal market is open to any business for most postal services, although the main postal service for letters is Australia Post.

Australia’s postal market is competitive for most services but Australia Post has an exclusive right to deliver reserved letters – generally letters less than 250 grams. We administer the Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989 and the Australian Postal Corporation (Performance Standards) Regulations 2019.

The Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989 requires Australia Post to meet community service obligations, including performance standards defined in the regulations. Those performance standards include requirements about frequency, accuracy and speed of mail delivery, street posting boxes and retail outlets.

In cooperation with the Department of Finance, we also provide oversight of Australia Post as a government business enterprise, wholly owned by the Australian Government. The Australia Post Board and management are responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation. Australia Post is required by law to operate commercially and does not receive funding from the government.

COVID-19 Impacts

With many Australians staying and working at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia Post has experienced a significant surge in demand for parcel deliveries. To meet the unprecedented parcels demand, Australia Post has established at least 18 new or recommissioned parcel processing facilities, chartered additional freighter flights, is operating some of its processing facilities 24/7 and has employed hundreds of temporary staff.

Australia Post continues to monitor the situation closely and will take action in line with the advice of government and health authorities as the safety of its customers and workforce is its highest priority. It will continue to update customers on impacts to services and changes to processes through its website at www.auspost.com.au. Alternatively, Australia Post’s Customer Contact Centre can be contacted on 13 76 78 for updates.

Reforming Australia Post

On 21 April 2020 the Australian Government announced temporary regulatory relief to assist Australia Post to continue providing important postal services for all Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has temporarily adjusted Australia Post’s Performance Standards to reflect the operating constraints and limitations that have resulted from COVID-19. These adjustments provide Australia Post with flexibility to meet increased demand for online ordering and delivery as people practise social distancing.

Under the temporary changes, Australia Post will no longer provide its priority letters service. At the time that Australia Post sought relief, priority letters accounted for only 12 per cent of letter volumes.Australia Post will maintain its regular and express post services, and has introduced a priority type service for bulk mail customers that reflects COVID-19 operating constraints.

Australia Post is also transitioning to a temporary alternate day delivery model. This means that in metropolitan areas, Australia Post will deliver regular letters every second business day. Delivery frequency in regional, rural and remote Australia will not change, and post office boxes will continue to be serviced every business day.

Australia Post will also operate under a temporary relaxation in regulatory requirements:

  • its required delivery time for regular intrastate letters has been extended to five days after the day of posting
  • it has greater freedom in managing post offices while there is a pandemic, but will take all reasonable steps to keep outlets open.

The changes took effect on 16 May 2020 and will apply until 30 June 2021, subject to review. This timeframe acknowledges that Australia Post has one of the largest networks and extended workforces in Australia and structural adjustments such as these require significant transition periods.

Complaints

Australia Post is experiencing domestic and international delays to postal deliveries due to an increase in parcel volumes, following social distancing requirements, and the reduction and cancellation of passenger flights in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a first step, any issues or complaints should be raised directly with Australia Post. Customers can call 13 POST (13 76 78) or visit www.auspost.com.au/help-and-support to resolve common issues.

Should you encounter any issues with other parcel couriers or postal operators, please contact the operator directly to seek a resolution.

Should you not be satisfied with Australia Post’s handling of your complaint, a further option is to contact the Postal Industry Ombudsman (PIO). Information on the types of complaints the PIO can investigate is available on the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s website at ombudsman.gov.au/How-we-can-help/postal-industry-ombudsman.