This is the new brochure from Australia Post and what a brochure it is. Hang on, am I mistaken? This looks like a newsagency brochure. Street directories, copy paper, calendars, ink, toner, files, folders, batteries, calculators, fax rolls, shredders. Gee, my head tells me these are newsagency lines. Where are the stamps? Where are the other postal related products? Oh, that’s right, the Government owned Post Shops (the 865 Government stores) have the right to do things which are “incidental” to providing postal services.

Here is part of what I have written to the Minister responsible today — Senator Helen Coonan:

Enclosed is a copy of the Celebrate the Savings brochure from Australia Post for your information. This brochure demonstrates further abuse of the [Australian Postal Corporation] Act. Every page of the eight page brochure presents products which used to be the domain of newsagents. Having my own Government competing with me in this way is offensive. I would like the Government, as the owner of Australia Post, to explain to me how they can claim that the sale of the items listed below is incidental to supplying postal services:

UBD street directory … Reflex copy paper … Printer ink … Printer toner … Calendars … Post brand calculators (made in China) … USB sticks … Laminator … Shredder … Post branded stationery (made in China) … Post brand blank CDs (made in China) … Post branded CD-R (made in China) … Diaries … Fax rolls.

I cannot land consumers to my store for the same low cost of Australia Post. I cannot leverage a national brand like Australia Post to buy competitively. I cannot control my opening and closing hours. I cannot get the rent discount of an “essential service”. I do not have a government protected postal service brand with which to leverage the sale of unrelated items. How many newsagencies need to close as a result of Australia Post competition before we see action? For further details, visit Fletcher’s Newsagency Blog.