MP Joel Fitzgibbon calls on Australia Post to give Lake Macquarie's elderly a fair go and maintain basic postal services

EQUITY: Member for Hunter, Joel Fitzgibbon, is calling on Australia Post to maintain its investment in Lake Macquarie post offices to ensure the basic service is provided to all, regardless of where they live. Picture: Glenn Hunt
EQUITY: Member for Hunter, Joel Fitzgibbon, is calling on Australia Post to maintain its investment in Lake Macquarie post offices to ensure the basic service is provided to all, regardless of where they live. Picture: Glenn Hunt

MP Joel Fitzgibbon has told Federal Parliament of the Westlakes community’s concerns about closures of their post offices in Booragul, Marmong Point, Teralba and Blackalls Park.

The post office in Woodrising will close in January.

The Member for Hunter questioned how committed Australia Post was to halting the trend.

“Many constituents have raised their concerns with me in relation to the closures and the big impact it is having on the frail and elderly in the local communities who do not drive or cannot access public transport,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

He highlighted his concerns in Parliament by speaking about the increasing occurrence of post office closures, particularly in rural and regional towns.

“Booragul, Marmong Point, Teralba, Blackalls Park and Woodrising are all wonderful townships and communities in my electorate,” he said.

“They are all around the western side of Lake Macquarie. What else do they have in common, Mr Deputy Speaker? They are all losing their local post offices.

“Their post offices either are already closed or are about to close, and I know that this is a common occurrence right across our great nation.

“Australia Post will say that they cannot secure people to run these licensed post offices any longer, and at first blush that seems a not unreasonable response to what is quite a crisis for many in our local communities.

“But I ask the question today: how hard are Australia Post really trying?

How hard are Australia Post really trying?

- Member for Hunter, Joel Fitzgibbon

“And since when does every aspect of every government business enterprise have to turn a profit?

“We could all think of tens, if not thousands, of examples where governments subsidise basic community services at the federal, state and local government level.”

Mr Fitzgibbon said Australia Post would point out it is already heavily subsidising the work of licensed post offices.

“But I also pose the question: how much is an appropriate level of investment to keep such basic services going in our community?” he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon said while demand for traditional letter services had declined “dramatically”, elderly residents without the means or the know-how to use email should not be forgotten.

“Those same people know that Australia Post made a profit of $146 million last financial year.”