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Ombudsman urges AusPost to defer ending shipments of perishables

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson has urged Australia Post to push back its decision to cease shipping perishable foods, saying it would likely cause a crushing blow to producers and agriculture businesses around the country.

The upcoming June 30 deadline should be deferred, Billson said, in order to work through the potential impacts the decision would have on already struggling Australian businesses.

“Given Australia Post has 80% share of the total delivery market, this abrupt decision could prove to be devastating to those small business food producers who rely on this essential postage service,” Mr Billson said.

“So many small businesses moved to selling their products online as a result of the COVID crisis. They need some additional time to consider what options they have to fulfil their orders.”

According to Billson, AusPost has expressed willingness to have discussions with industry regulators in order to smooth out the process, but whether it is willing to defer its stop date is unknown.

The decision has been hailed as a stab in the back by some small business owners, especially those in Tasmania, who warned recently the decision could leave their produce unable to reach mainland Australia.

“The government and government agencies have been telling us for the past 12 months [that] we’ve got to get online and get a social media presence because so many people are buying online,” said Chocolatier Ruby Delights owner Malcolm Ryan, according to the ABC.

“And then you get the carrier ripping the rug out from under us.

“If you [don’t have arrangements with other carriers], you’ll be left behind, and Australia Post is leaving us behind unless we get off our backsides and do something about it.”

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