Member for Hunter questions continued closure of Lake Macquarie post offices

LAKE Macquarie’s post offices have been gradually closing over the past couple of years and Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon has had enough. 

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Mr. Fitzgibbon questioned why Australia Post has closed four offices in his electorate despite many locals still relying on the postal service.

Booragul, Marmong Point, Teralba and Blackalls Park post offices have closed in recent years and Woodrising will shut its doors in January 2018. 

“They are all around the western side of Lake Macquarie. What else do they have in common, Mr Deputy Speaker? They are all losing their local post offices,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. 

“Their post offices either are already closed or are about to close, and I know that this is a common occurrence right across our great nation.

“Many constituents have raised their concerns with me in relation to the closures and the big impact it is having on the frail and elderly in the local communities who do not drive or cannot access public transport.” 

Australia Post have previously stated they are unable to find people willing to run the licensed post offices any longer, but Mr. Fitzgibbon questioned that position. 

“How hard are Australia Post really trying? And since when does every aspect of every government business enterprise have to turn a profit? We could all think of tens, if not thousands, of examples where governments subsidise basic community services at the federal, state and local government level,” Mr. Fitzgibbon asked. 

“I know Australia Post will also say that it is already heavily subsidising the work of our licensed post offices, but I also pose the question: how much is an appropriate level of investment to keep such basic services going in our community?”. 

The Member for Hunter acknowledged the decreasing use of the mail service and rise of the digital age in communication methods, but suggested Australia Post was in a position to subsidise the continued operation of some offices given it made a $146 million profit last financial year.