Australia Post

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Australia Post
Government-owned corporation (owned by the Commonwealth of Australia)
Industry Postal service
Predecessor Postmaster-General's Department
Founded 25 April 1809 (1809-04-25)
Headquarters Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Number of locations
4,429 metropolitan retail outlets[1]
2561 retail outlets in rural & remote areas[1]
Area served
Key people
John Stanhope (Board Member and Chairman)
Ahmed Fahour (Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer)
Products Postal services, Digital Services, Retail, Express post, Logistics, Printing Services
Revenue Increase A$ 5.8 billion (2013)[1]
A$403 million (2013)[1]
A$312 million (2013)[1]
Number of employees
32,732 (2013)[1]

Australia Post provides postal services in Australia and its overseas territories. "Australia Post" is the trading name, Australian Postal Corporation (formerly the Australian Postal Commission) is the Australian Government-owned entity responsible for the services.


The Sydney General Post Office (George Street façade) circa 1900
An old style post box in Marrickville, Sydney

The first Postmaster of New South Wales was an ex-convict, Isaac Nichols, who took the post in 1809 operating from his home in George Street, Sydney. His main job was to take charge of letters and parcels arriving by ship, to avoid the chaos of people rushing onto the ships as soon as they arrived at Sydney's wharves.

The Postal Act of 1825 allowed the governor to fix postage rates and appoint Postmasters outside Sydney, enabling the first organised postal service.[2]

Postal services grew throughout the Australian colonies as they were established.

A regular overland service between Sydney and Melbourne, Victoria began in 1838, as did embossed covers (the world's second, after William Dockwra established the London Penny Post in 1680) prepaid postage,[3] and by 1849 uniform postal rates were established by agreement between the colonies. Monthly steamship sea mail to the United Kingdom was established in 1856. The separate colonies joined the Universal Postal Union in 1891.

In 1901, the colonial mail systems were merged into the Postmaster-General's Department (or PMG). This body was responsible for telegraph and domestic telephone operations as well as postal mail. The world's first large-scale mechanical mail sorting system was introduced in Australia (according to Australia Post), and operational in the Sydney GPO in 1967. This coincided with the introduction of the current system of 4-digit Postcodes in Australia.[4]

On 1 July 1975, separate government commissions were created to undertake the operational responsibilities of the PMG. One of these was the Australian Postal Commission, trading as Australia Post. It later changed its name to the Australian Postal Corporation on 1 January 1989 when it was corporatised, although it still trades as Australia Post.

Under amendments to the APC Act that came into effect in March 2008, quarantine inspection officers from a prescribed state or territory are authorised to request Australia Post to open for inspection packets and parcels sent from interstate which they believe may contain quarantine material. The legislation also authorised Australia Post to remove from the mail stream articles that are suspected of being scam mail.[5]

On 26 June 2009, Australia Post celebrated its 200th anniversary.[5]

Future Ready Strategy (2010–present)[edit]

In February 2010, Ahmed Fahour was appointed MD and CEO of Australia Post.[6] In May 2010, he announced a new strategy dubbed "Future Ready" designed to reinvigorate Australia Post. This included a new organisation structure as well as a renewed foray into digital businesses under the "eServices" Strategic Business Unit.[7]

Current activities[edit]

Express (yellow) and normal (red) street posting boxes
Riverina Mail Sorting Centre in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales
Post office in Quilpie, Queensland

Over the last 15 years, Australia Post has broadened its product and service range and invested in major technology-based infrastructure programs. Today, it operates in three core areas: letters and associated services; retail merchandise and agency services; and parcels and logistics. It offers delivery services, retail products, financial services (such as bill payment and banking through its retail network), logistics and fulfilment services, and direct marketing and database management services. It also has a number of subsidiaries and joint ventures, including Sai Cheng Logistics International – a joint-venture logistics company established with China Post in 2005.

Australia Post operates normal mail delivery as well as an express/courier service through Messenger Post.[8]

Australia Post is a government business enterprise. It is self-funding and uses its assets and resources to earn profits, which can be reinvested in the business or returned as dividends to its sole shareholder, the Commonwealth Government. Under its community service obligations, Australia Post is committed to providing an accessible, affordable and reliable letter service for all Australians wherever they reside. The corporation reaches more than 10 million Australian addresses; operates 6,990 postal outlets;[1] and serves more than a million customers in postal outlets every business day.

Under the Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989, letters up to 250 grams are reserved to Australia Post – other people and businesses can only carry them if they charge four times the basic postage rate. All of the other goods and services provided by Australia Post are sold in fully competitive markets and, in 2005–06, nearly 90 per cent of the corporation’s profit (from ordinary activities before net interest and tax) came from selling products and services in competitive markets.

Organisational structure and information[edit]

Ford Transit Australia Post van

Board members[edit]

  • John Stanhope (Chairman)
  • Brendan Fleiter (Deputy Chairman)
  • Ahmed Fahour (Managing Director & CEO)
  • Peter Carne
  • Talal Yassine
  • Susan Bitter
  • Michael D'Ascenzo

Executive Committee[edit]

  • Ahmed Fahour (Managing Director & Group CEO)
  • Ewen Stafford (Group Chief Operating Officer, Corporate and Commercial Services)
  • Christine Corbett (Executive General Manager, Postal Services)
  • Bob Black(Executive General Manager, Parcel and Express Services/CEO, StarTrack)
  • Chris Blake (Executive General Manager, Corporate Affairs & People)
  • Greg Sutherland (Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing and Customer Experience)
  • Andrew Walduck (Chief Information Officer, Information, Digital and Technology)
  • Janelle Hopkins (Group Chief Financial Officer)
  • Paul Burke (Corporate Secretary & General Manager Government Affairs)
  • Catherine Walsh (General Manager Human Resources, Group & Postal Services)


Empty cells have no data available for that year. All results as at 30 June of the year indicated.

Year Full-time staff Part-time staff Other staff Source
1993 31934 3999 Annual Report[dead link]
1994 31130 4204 5626 Annual Report[dead link]
1995 31621 4501 5253 Annual Report[dead link]
1996 32040 5689 7849 Annual Report[dead link]
1997 31111 6185 8466 Annual Report[dead link]
1998 29564 6961 9151 Annual Report[dead link]
1999 28205 6756 9776 Annual Report[dead link]
2000 26915 8482 9455 Annual Report[dead link]
2001 27079 8458 9660 Annual Report[dead link]
2002 26950 8812 9703 Annual Report[dead link]
2003 26394 9033 9557 Annual Report[dead link]
2004 26019 9030 9559 Annual Report[dead link]
2005 25851 8953 9570 Annual Report[dead link]
2006 25387 9196 6415 Annual Report[dead link]
2007 25026 9498 6247 Annual Report[dead link]
2008 25093 9936 Annual Report[dead link]
2009 25149 10360 8106 Annual Report[dead link]
2010 24205 10252 Annual Report[dead link]
2011 23369 10103 [9]
2012 23221 9810 Annual Report
2013 23526 8938 Annual Report

An index of all annual reports can be found here: Source: Australia Post Employee profile[dead link]

Facts and statistics[edit]

Nationwide there are 7,950 postal routes serviced by 10,000 "posties". Motorcycles (like the iconic Honda CT110) are used for delivery for around 6,600 routes, bicycles for 350 routes and walking for 1,000 routes. Electric bikes are also being trialled.[10] Cars are only used for the very longest routes. Until the 1960s the longest, and the world's longest, overland mail route was Meekatharra to Marble Bar, Western Australia. As there were few roads, a round trip took seven days. The current longest overland route is Norseman, Western Australia to Border Village, South Australia: 1,460 km (910 mi). The longest air service delivers to remote communities in the outback covering 1,790 km (1,110 mi) over two days.

The most isolated postbox is located on a dive platform on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.

The most isolated Post Office is located 217 km (135 mi) from Onslow, Western Australia, 32 km (20 mi) from the nearest customer. The highest Post Office is located in Perisher Ski Resort at 1720m above sea level.

From the 2009–10 Annual Report:

  • Handled 5.1 billion mail items.
  • Revenue of $4.87 billion.
  • Profit (before tax) of $103.0 million.
  • Delivered 96.1% of letters on time or early.
  • Just over half of Australia Post's revenue comes from delivering letters, the rest comes from other activities.
  • Processed 194 million agency-based bill payment transactions, 30 million banking transactions and over 1 million passport applications.
  • Australia Post has over 4,415 outlets, with over 2,531 in rural and remote areas
  • Australia Post has over 16,039 street posting boxes
  • Australia Post has over 34,400 employees
  • Australia Post owns Star Track Express.
  • All undelivered items go to the mail redistribution centres, which attempt to return the items to their sender.

In 2013, Australian Post had a loss rate of approximate 4%.

In February 2015, Australia Post reported a 56% fall in its half-year profit from 2014, at a loss of A$151m. They have also forecast their first full-year loss in over 30 years. Managing Director, Ahmed Fahour, noted this ties in with the worldwide decline of letter volumes over the past seven years.[11]

Products and services[edit]

Australia Post operates in three core markets: letters and associated services; agency services and retail merchandise; and parcels and logistics that span both domestic and international markets.

Letters and associated services[edit]

Australia Post collects, processes and distributes letters for the entire Australian community and between Australia and other countries overseas. It also offers bulk mail delivery services for businesses and community organisations and provides research, advice, consumer list rental, and profiling and segmentation services to help businesses target their objectives and customers, along with other associated services.

Postal services[edit]

While postal services of letters and parcels are one of the original areas of Australia Post, it has also diversified its operations into the provision of other services including agency services, business-to-business integration and logistics and supply chain management (see below).

Postage rate[edit]

Basic domestic[edit]

The basic postage rate for a small letter has increased over the years due to inflation but influenced in recent years by a complex interplay between Australia Post's monopoly over small items, and need to provide service to all Australian addresses at the mandated basic rate.

In July 2009, Australia Post requested the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to approve a stamp price rise in 2010 to 60 cents but the ACCC declined the approval of the price rise, however in April 2010, Australia Post resubmitted the proposed postal stamp rise. The ACCC approved this request on 28 May 2010 and it was published in the Government Gazette on 9 June 2010.[12][13][14]

In December 2013, due to the heavy decline in mail usage due to competition from email, etc., Australia Post requested an increase in the base rate to 70c.[15]

  •   4¢ – 1966 (Introduction of decimal currency)
  •   5¢ – 1967
  •   6¢ – 1970
  •   7¢ – 1971
  • 10¢ – 1974
  • 18¢ – 1975
  • 20¢ – 1978
  • 22¢ – 1980
  • 24¢ – 1981
  • 27¢ – 1982
  • 30¢ – 1983
  • 33¢ – 1985
  • 36¢ – 1986
  • 37¢ – 1987
  • 39¢ – 1988
  • 41¢ – 1989 [16]
  • 43¢ – 1990 (effective 3 September 1990)
  • 45¢ – 1992 (effective 2 January 1992) [17]
  • 45¢ – 2000 (effective 1 July 2000. With the introduction of the GST, the rate effectively decreased for business as the GST claimable component of the postage rate was 4¢, leaving a cost to business users of just 41¢. For the public though there was no change to the price)
  • 50¢ – 2003 (effective 13 January 2003) [18]
  • 55¢ – 2008 (effective 1 September 2008)
  • 60¢ – 2010 (effective 28 June 2010)
  • 70¢ – 2014 (effective 31 March 2014) [19]
Large letters[edit]

Since about 2005, larger letters have been charged a round multiple of the base postage rate, which is helpful to customers if they do not have stocks of the more expensive stamps.

  • DL –   70¢ (one 70¢) - A4 folded in 3
  • A5 – 140¢ (two 70¢)
  • A4 – 350¢ (five 70¢)

Agency services and retail merchandise[edit]

Agency services: Australia Post provides third-party agency services that connect consumers, businesses and government bodies such as bill payment services, banking services and identity services. Australia Post also offers personal finance products, such as car and travel insurance[20] and currency conversion.

Retail Merchandise: A variety of complementary products, packaging products, collectibles and post office boxes and locked bags are offer across the vast network of Australia Post outlets in Australia.[citation needed]

Parcels and logistics[edit]

Australia Post postal lockers located next to the Annandale Post Office, Booth Street, Annandale, NSW, Australia. Customers can retrieve parcels 24 hours a day with a PIN.

Australia Post collects, processes and delivers single parcels or multi-parcel consignments all across Australia and internationally. It also provides complete end-to-end supply chain capabilities, from manufacturer (domestic or international) to consumer with integrated logistics services and a broad range of distribution options to track and trace deliveries.[citation needed]

Digital Services[edit]

In 2011 Australia Post announced the launch of its Digital Mailbox. The service will allow businesses, government entities and customers to communicate through a secure online portal. The service provides secure digital delivery service to see and action all their transaction mail. The secure digital vault will allow consumers to store important documents and will be available on mobile and desktop. Australia Post Digital MailBox is announced to launch in October 2012 [21]


Australia Post has had a long and difficult relationship with the Communication Workers Union. The union has claimed that contractors provide a poor parcel delivery service, with a newspaper reporting anecdotes of unsatisfactory performance during the peak Christmas period, including a propensity to insert "delivery failure" cards into mailboxes rather than attempting delivery of packages, thus requiring the customer to travel to their local post office to collect items personally.

However, these delivery drivers are usually contractors as opposed to actual auspost employees.[22]

Letter boxes[edit]

Letter boxes for houses and units (condominium) are mostly standard items bought from hardware stores.

Letter boxes for farms and sparsely located rural houses are often made from say 44 gallon barrels, and decorated to look like animals and somesuch. Such boxes used to numbered using the Rural Mail Box system, but they are now numbered according to distance travelled on a main road. Rural letter boxes are located on the road and not the farm.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Australia Post: Annual Report 2012-13
  2. ^ Australia Post 2003 Annual Report
  3. ^ "DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE. Sales by Auction advertised in this paper which will take place between this and our next publication. THIS DAY.". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW). 24 November 1838. p. 2. Retrieved 2014-09-17. 
  4. ^ Store Finder: History and Assignment of Postcodes
  5. ^ a b "History of Australia Post". Australian Government, Department of Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy. 27 May 2011. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-09. 
  6. ^ Johnston, Eric (23 December 2009). "Rudd's banker stamps his mark on post office". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  7. ^ Durie, John (18 June 2010). "Australia Post expands into electronic applications". The Australian. 
  8. ^ Home
  9. ^ Australia Post: Annual Report 2010-11
  10. ^ "The postie's pushie returns, with added oomph, and a green message". The Age (Melbourne). 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Australia Post seeks postage increase". Inside Retailing. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2010. [dead link]
  13. ^ Doherty, Elissa (13 April 2010). "Australia Post wants to raise the cost of stamp by five cents". Herald Sun. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  14. ^ "Commonwealth Gazette, Edition 22, 2010". 9 June 2010. p. 1148. [dead link]
  15. ^ The Australian, 26 December 2013, page 1
  16. ^ "Postage to rise by 2c a letter on July 1". The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney). 15 April 1989. p. 5. 
  17. ^ "Treasury Submission to the National Competition Council Review of the Australian Postal Corporation Act". reflecting an increase in the standard postage stamp price from 41 cents to 45 cents between September 1990 and January 1992 
  18. ^ "ACCC announces final decision on postal prices". The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today announced its final decision not to object to Australia Post's request to increase the price of the basic postage stamp from 45 cents to 50c. The increase, which will take effect from January 2003, will see the price of the basic postage stamp rise for the first time in 10 years 
  19. ^ "Stamp prices". Australia Post. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  20. ^ Gluyas, Richard (2 September 2009). "Australia Post pushes into insurance". The Australian. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  21. ^ "Media release: Australia Post Digital MailBox to launch in October 2012". Australia Post. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  22. ^ Ham, Larissa (13 January 2012). "Stamp out illegal posties: union". Sydney morning Herald. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 

External links[edit]