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Ombudsman opens “productive” talks with Australia Post on perishables

Small Business Ombudsman Bruce Billson has said the first meeting between himself and Australia Post to collaboratively find a solution to the issue of shipping perishable goods was “productive”.

The meeting comes after the logistics business caved last week to industry pressure after initially announced it would no longer ship perishable goods as of June 30, leaving many small businesses around the country without a means to ship 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,” 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 [and] my state-based Small Business Commissioner colleagues are also well-placed to play a key role in this problem-solving process if it is a matter of complex and differing food regulation requirements across the states.”

According to Billson it is ‘vital’ that all parties work together to achieve an outcome that will enable e-commerce businesses around the country to thrive, and for Australia Post to be able to continue the service with confidence.

The meeting is to be the first of many, with Billson having agreed to co-chair an industry working forum with Australia Post which will begin meeting in May.

“Through this new forum, we will better understand what our customer capabilities and needs are and work hand-in-hand with regulators to determine where changes may be required,” said Australia Post acting group chief executive Rodney Boys last week.

“I am so pleased Bruce Billson has agreed to co-chair this forum with Australia Post to develop long-term, sustainable solutions to support this growing e-commerce community.”

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