April 28, 2021
Small business food producers who rely on Australia Post to deliver their perishable goods have been urged to get in touch with Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson.
The Ombudsman has been asked to work with Australia Post to resolve issues linked to the delivery of perishable goods.
Earlier this month, Australia Post announced it would no longer accept perishables through its network from June 30, citing complex food safety and regulatory requirements.
Days later, the corporation backflipped, reversing the decision after outrage from small producers, including a 14,000-signature petition.
Australia Post then announced that an industry working forum, to be co-chaired by Mr Billson, would be formed to work through cross-State regulatory issues.
The forum would also have representatives from industry bodies, the small business sector and producers.
Mr Billson met with Australia Post on Tuesday as part of this collaborative effort to resolve issues.
He described this first meeting as “productive”, saying he was looking forward to working closely with Australia Post and all relevant stakeholders to ensure small businesses can continue to count on essential delivery services of their products.
“This initial meeting with Australia Post gives me confidence that we can work together to identify what the problems are and to find solutions to make a pathway forward,” Mr Billson said.
“My office has made it clear to Australia Post that many small business food producers, especially those in regional areas, are reliant on the continuation of postage services to fulfil their orders.
“Australia Post has demonstrated a willingness to work through issues in its delivery network, including ongoing discussions with industry regulators.
“Our next steps include identifying case studies, finalising plans for consultation and forming an industry working forum to meet in May.
“Ensuring regulatory bodies, government agencies and e-commerce representatives are at the table to work towards a resolution to this important issue is necessary.
“In the meantime, my office is encouraging small business food producers who rely on Australia Post’s delivery services to get in contact with my office as we want to make sure they are a meaningful part of this conversation.
“Ultimately, this thorough consultation process is both about resolving the issues Australia Post identifies as well as ensuring essential services such as postage of goods are meeting the needs of small business food producers.”
Small business food producers can email firstname.lastname@example.org