Australia Post

Last updated

Australian Postal Corporation
state-owned enterprise   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Industry Postal service
Predecessor Postmaster-General's Department
Founded1 July 1975;44 years ago (1975-07-01)
Number of locations
4,429 metropolitan retail outlets [1]
2561 retail outlets in rural & remote areas [1]
Area served
Key people
John Stanhope (Chairman of the Board)
Christine Holgate (CEO)
Products Postal services, Digital Services, Retail, Express post, Logistics, Printing Services
RevenueIncrease2.svg A$ 6.8 billion (2017) [2]
Increase2.svg A$ 400 million (2016)
Increase2.svg A$ 36 million (2016) [3]
Owner Commonwealth of Australia
Number of employees
32,732 (2013) [1]

The Australian Postal Corporation, operating as Australia Post (or AusPost), is the government business entreprise that provides postal services in Australia. The head office of Australia Post is located in Bourke Street, Melbourne, which also serves as a post office.


Australia Post is the successor of the Postmaster-General's Department (PMG), which was established at Federation in 1901 as the successor to the colonial post services. In 1975, the PMG was abolished and its postal functions were taken over by the Australian Postal Commission. The organisation's current name and structure were adopted in 1989 as part of a process of corporatisation.


The Sydney General Post Office (George Street facade) circa 1900 General Post Office Sydney.jpg
The Sydney General Post Office (George Street facade) circa 1900
A pillar box in Marrickville, Sydney Australian-old-postbox.jpg
A pillar box in Marrickville, Sydney

Before colonial control of mail started in 1809, mail was usually passed on by ad hoc arrangements made between transporters, storekeepers and settlers. These arrangements were flexible and depended on cooperation of the country people. It was common for early settlers to ride many miles out of their way to deliver neighbours' mail that had been collected from informal distribution points. [4]

The first organisation of a postal service in Australia commenced in 1809 with the appointment in Sydney of the first Postmaster of New South Wales. He was an English ex-convict, Isaac Nichols, who took the post 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 aboard ships as soon as they arrived at Sydney's wharves. Nichols would pick up the mail and post a list of recipients outside his house. [5] He would advertise in the Sydney Gazette the names of all those who received mail. Recipients paid a fixed price of one shilling per letter to collect mail from Nichols' home, with parcels costing more depending on how heavy they were. VIP addressees were accorded personal delivery by Nichols. [6]

The Postal Act of 1825 allowed the governor to fix postage rates and appoint postmasters outside Sydney, enabling the first organised postal service. [7] Letter deliveries began in 1828 and posting boxes first appeared in 1831. [6] Stamps were not required in those days, as the addressee paid for the letter, not the sender. [6]

Postal services grew throughout the Australian colonies as they were established. A regular overland service between Sydney and Melbourne, Port Phillip District began in 1838. Also in 1838, the first prepaid "stamped" letter sheets were introduced in Sydney. [6] By 1849, uniform postal rates were established by agreement between the colonies. Prepaid adhesive stamps were introduced in the 1850s. Victoria was the first to make prepayment by stamps compulsory in 1852. [6] Monthly steamship sea-mail to the United Kingdom was established in 1856. The separate colonies joined the Universal Postal Union in 1891.

Following federation in 1901, the colonial mail systems were merged into the Postmaster-General's Department (PMG). This body was responsible for telegraph and domestic telephone operations as well as postal mail. An airmail service was introduced in 1914. [6] The world's first large-scale mechanical mail sorting system was introduced in Australia (according to Australia Post),[ citation needed ] and operational in the Sydney GPO in 1967. This coincided with the introduction of the current system of 4-digit postcodes in Australia. [8]

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 became the Australian Postal Corporation on 1 January 1989 when it was corporatised. It continues to trade as Australia Post.

Under amendments to the APC Act that came into effect in March 2008, quarantine inspection officers of a 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 authorises Australia Post to remove from the mail articles that are suspected of being scam mail. [9]

The 200th anniversary of postal services was celebrated in 2009. [9]


"Future Ready" strategy (2010–2014)

In February 2010, Ahmed Fahour was appointed MD and CEO of Australia Post. [10] 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. [11]

However, in 2013, the corporation acknowledged that, though the strategy was successful in improving Australia Post's profitability and structure, it was insufficient in its contributions to their development as a financially self-sustaining business. [12]

Financial instability (2015–2016)

In September 2015 the corporation announced its first loss in 30 years. The A$222 million loss was down from a $116 million profit the previous year. Large decreases in addressed and stamped mail led to a $381 million loss in the mail delivery side of the business. Parcel delivery then accounted for over half of total revenue. Overall revenue was stable at $6.37 billion. [3]

A year later on Friday 26 August 2016, Australia Post returned to profit, on the back of strong parcel/courier performance and re-structuring. However mail performance reached an all-time low.

Resignation of Ahmed Fahour (2017)

In February 2017, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull criticised CEO Fahour's $5.6 million annual salary, saying "As the Prime Minister and a taxpayer, I've spoken to the chairman today. I think that salary, that remuneration, is too high." [13] On Thursday 23 February 2017, Fahour announced his resignation, effective July 2017, telling media that the decision was not related to discussion of his salary. [14]

Operational development

Express (yellow) and normal (red) street posting boxes Australia Post boxes.jpg
Express (yellow) and normal (red) street posting boxes
Riverina Mail sorting centre in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales Australia Post Mail Sorting Centre.jpg
Riverina Mail sorting centre in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales
Post office in Quilpie, Queensland Quilpie post office2007.JPG
Post office in Quilpie, Queensland

Responding to competitive pressures, Australia Post continued to broaden its product and service range in 2019, having invested in extensive technology-based infrastructure programmes. [15] It operates in three core areas: letters and associated services; retail merchandise and agency services; and parcels and logistics. It has a number of subsidiaries and joint ventures, including Sai Cheng Logistics International—a joint-venture logistics company [16] established with China Post in 2005.

Australia Post operates regular mail delivery as well as an express/courier service through Messenger Post (Now trading as Startrack Courier). [17] It delivers mail every day of the week.

Australia Post is self-funding and uses its assets and resources to generate 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. When the basic domestic letter rate was increased to $1.00 on 4 January 2016, [18] there were no changes to prices of concession stamps or seasonal greeting stamps, which remained at 60 cents and 65 cents respectively. At the same time, a category of "Priority" mail was introduced (as distinct from "Regular"), under which delivery standards were varied and a 50-cent Priority label was required as additional payment for the better standard. [19]

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

Board members [20]

Executive committee


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

Job cuts

In June 2015 Australia Post announced that in view of mounting losses, and especially the accelerating decline in its letter delivery service, it would reduce its workforce by 1,900 over three years through voluntary redundancies. At the time, mail delivery losses were approaching $500 million for the 2014 – 15 financial year. [21]

Facts and statistics

Nationwide there are 7,950 postal routes serviced by 10,000 "posties". Motorcycles (including the Honda CT110) are used for delivery on about 6,600 routes, bicycles on 350 routes and walking for 1,000 routes. Electric-assisted bicycles were introduced in Victoria in 2011. [22] Cars and trucks are used on only the 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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

According to the 2019 Annual Report, Australia Post:

and had:

Undelivered items go to the mail redistribution centres, which attempt to return the items to their senders.

In February 2015, Australia Post reported a 56% fall in its half-year profit from 2014, a loss of A$151m. The first full-year loss in over 30 years was forecast. Managing Director, Ahmed Fahour noted this tied in with a worldwide decline of letter volumes over the past seven years. [23]

In February 2017 it was reported Fahour's reforms reduced potential 2015-16 losses, to A$138 million. [24]

Products and services

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

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

Post boxes at the Canberra GPO in 2018 Post boxes at the Canberra GPO March 2018.jpg
Post boxes at the Canberra GPO in 2018

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

Basic domestic

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. [25] [26] [27]

On 26 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. [28]

On 4 January 2016, due to the heavy decline in mail usage due to competition from email, etc., Australia Post requested an increase in the base rate to $1.00.

  •   1d – 1911
  •   2d – 1920
  •   3d – 1950
  •   5d – 1959
  •   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 [29]
  • 43¢ – 1990 (effective 3 September 1990)
  • 45¢ – 1992 (effective 2 January 1992) [30]
  • 45¢ – 2000 (effective 1 July 2000. With the introduction of the GST, the postage component was decreased to absorb the new GST cost, so for the public there was no change in stamp prices. For businesses the GST claimable component of the postage rate was 4¢, leaving a reduced cost to business users of just 41¢.
  • 50¢ – 2003 (effective 13 January 2003) [31]
  • 55¢ – 2008 (effective 1 September 2008)
  • 60¢ – 2010 (effective 28 June 2010)
  • 70¢ – 2014 (effective 31 March 2014) [32]
  • $1.00 – 2016 (effective 4 January 2016) [19]
Large letters

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.

  • 260 x 360 x 20mm – Up to 125g - $2 [33]
  • 260 x 360 x 20mm - Up to 250g - $3 [33]
  • 260 x 360 x 20mm – Up to 500g - $5 [33]

A large letter, including packaging, cannot be more than 20mm thick or larger than 260x360mm, otherwise it will be considered a parcel, which as of 2019 costs a minimum of $8.30 (up to 500 grams). [34]

Agency services and retail merchandise

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 [35] and currency conversion.

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

Parcels and logistics

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 Postal Lockers.jpg
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

Australia Post offers a number of digital services outside of their main mail/parcel/logistics area. These include employment screening [36] , online payment services [37] and a digital identity platform. [38]

Parcel lockers

Australia Post now offers parcel lockers at over 330 locations near Post Offices, supermarkets and train stations. These lockers are free to use for Australia Post deliveries. Once delivered, the package must be picked up within 48 hours. [39]


A Toyota HiAce with StarTrack Courier Van lettering 2005-2010 Toyota HiAce (KDH200R) LWB van, Australia Post StarTrack Courier (2018-11-27).jpg
A Toyota HiAce with StarTrack Courier Van lettering

On 23 December 2003, Australia Post and Qantas went into a joint venture to acquire StarTrack from the company's founder, Greg Poche.

On 18 May 2011 it was announced the merger of the retail division of Australian airExpress (AaE) with StarTrack. StarTrack will be a solely retail-focused business and AaE will focus solely on domestic air linehaul and cargo terminal operations. The changes follow a review of the businesses guided by AUX Investments, a company established in 2010 to guide the review and provide streamlined governance across the businesses. [40]

In November 2012, Australia Post bought the 50% of the company owned by Qantas. As part of the deal, Australia Post divested itself of its 50% interest in Australian airExpress to Qantas. [41] [42]

On 7 May 2014, StarTrack was rebranded to include Australia Post Post horn in the StarTrack blue colours. StarTrack also took responsibility of Australia Post's "Messenger Post couriers" under the StarTrack brand as "StarTrack Courier" [43]


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. These delivery drivers are usually contractors as opposed to actual Australia Post employees. [44]

The relationship between Australia Post and its franchised retail outlets, being the Licensed Post Offices (LPOs) and Community Postal Agencies (CPAs), has had claims of unsustainable business practices made by individuals and the LPO Group, [45] before the Australian Senate undertook an inquiry in 2014. A unanimous report from the inquiry resulted in a range of outcomes and recommendations, including some increased payments and the establishment of an independently chaired stakeholder forum. [46] [47]

Trademark dispute

In May 2015 Australia Post had a legal battle with Sendle, a transnational courier using the slogan "Post without the office". Australia Post claimed that the term was deceptively similar to their trademark and what they stand for. Sendle argued that there was no similarity and that in fact, they were differentiating from Australia Post. Two years were spent in the trademark dispute, which resulted in Sendle winning the case. [48]


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

Letterboxes for farms and sparsely located rural houses are often made from 44-gallon or smaller barrels. Such boxes were formerly 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

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  45. url=
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Year Full-time staff Part-time staff Other staff Source
1993 31934 3999 [1]
1994 31130 4204 5626 [2]
1995 31621 4501 5253 [3]
1996 32040 5689 7849 [4]
1997 31111 6185 8466 [5]
1998 29564 6961 9151 [6]
1999 28205 6756 9776 [7]
2000 26915 8482 9455 [8]
2001 27079 8458 9660 [9]
2002 26950 8812 9703 [10]
2003 26394 9033 9557 [11]
2004 26019 9030 9559 [12]
2005 25851 8953 9570 [13]
2006 25387 9196 6415 [14]
2007 25026 9498 6247 [15]
2008 25093 9936 [16]
2009 25149 10360 8106 [17]
2010 24205 10252 [18]
2011 23369 10103 [19]
2012 23221 9810 [20]
2013 23526 8938 [21]
2013 27315 8613 [22]
2014 27098 8195 [23]
2015 27098 8195 [24]
2019 27785 7316 [25]
  1. Annual Report
  2. Annual Report
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  6. Annual Report
  7. Annual Report
  8. Annual Report
  9. Annual Report
  10. Annual Report
  11. Annual Report
  12. Annual Report
  13. Annual Report
  14. Annual Report
  15. Annual Report
  16. Annual Report
  17. Annual Report
  18. Annual Report
  19. Annual Report
  20. Annual Report
  21. Annual Report
  22. page 139
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  24. page 123
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