Queensland LNP Senator Barry O’Sullivan has welcomed today’s announcement that Westpac banking services will soon be available at 571 Australia Post Office sites across Queensland, with news that 320 of the participating outlets will be in rural and regional parts of the state.
Senator O’Sullivan said the inclusion of Westpac Banking services at Australia Post sites would provide a much-needed additional revenue stream for privately-owned, Licensed Post Offices (LPOs).
According to Westpac, the deal will enable participating Australia Post Offices to offer Westpac customers traditional cash withdrawals, cash and cheque deposits, in-store identity checks for new customers and account balance enquiries.
“Post Offices are the maypole that many of our rural and regional communities are built around and so I am an enthusiastic supporter of anything that can generate greater revenue for these businesses,” Senator O’Sullivan said.
“As I have travelled through the state during the past year I have encountered countless stories of post office business owners struggling to pay their bills.
“There are also many local councils operating community post offices at a loss simply because they are trying to stop another service from leaving the town.
“If we are going to attract families to rural Australia, we need to provide basic services, and over-the-counter post office and banking facilities are an important part of that.”
Senator O’Sullivan was a participating member of a Senate Inquiry into Australia Post late last year that found thousands of Australia’s privately owned post offices were at risk of closure because some payments had not kept in pace with the consumer price index over the past 20 years.
The report pushed for urgent action to improve the profitability of privately owned post offices, especially in rural and regional centres.
In March, Australia Post revealed it had worked with the Federal Government on a submission to the ACCC to raise the price of the average stamp from 70 cents to $1. Under the scheme, stamps for concession card holders would be frozen at 60 cents and a special 65 cent Christmas stamp would be offered to Australians.
“The Senate Inquiry was a major turning point in getting political and business leaders to understand how important post offices are to maintaining solid living standards outside the metropolitan centres,” Senator O’Sullivan said.
“It is pleasing to see genuine efforts underway to address the issue.
“People across rural and regional Queensland want to see their post offices stay alive and profitable and this latest announcement by Westpac will provide a new business opportunity for our post office operators.”