While we are a big, national organisation with one of Australia’s largest workforces and network of sites, we are also local and we are personal. We connect people within communities and we listen to what they need.
Our international customer network continues to grow with the expansion of our service offering and the development of partnerships in markets such as New Zealand and Asia. Our digital product offering continues to attract new business and consumer customers, with innovative products and user-friendly interfaces, providing secure, convenient options.
At Australia Post, we have offered basic banking transaction services on behalf of Australian financial institutions for over 100 years. This service has always been vital in rural and remote areas of Australia, but it has become even more important with the closure of many regional bank branches over recent decades. We estimate there are about 1,550 communities across Australia, today, that have a post office, but no bank branch. As a result, we are increasingly becoming the teller of the nation.
In late 2018, we signed historic new agreements with three of the big four banks (CBA, NAB and Westpac) that will help to guarantee the future of essential banking services, via post offices, in communities across Australia. Subsequently, by the end of the financial year, a further 71 of our financial institution partners committed to new Bank@Post agreements.
Importantly, these agreements include a new Community Representation Fee and revised transaction fees that will enable critical investment in the post office network, so that we can provide a safe, reliable banking service; boost funding to our LPO partners; and continue to support communities across Australia.
We supported these new Bank@Post agreements, by launching a Keep Banking Local promotional campaign and, as a result of this publicity, we saw an increase in the number of banking transactions and size of deposits in the second half of the year.
Delivering through hardship
During periods of hardship, community connections become even more vital for people – to access the basics required to live and work and to provide support to others. Many of our communities faced hardship during the year, with floods, fires and drought impacting our regional and rural communities significantly.
These conditions impacted our people, our customers and our business. Deliveries were restricted where roads were cut by floodwaters, and facilities were impacted by water damage and power outages. The safety of our people remained at the forefront during this time, as we adjusted our operations to deal with the disruption.
We heard of many stories of resilience coming out of this difficult time, with employees going above and beyond to find urgent packages and lending a hand to help clean up damage to workmates’ properties.
We supported rural communities during the drought by donating $200,000 through the sale of our Drought Relief stamps and organising a hay drop with Rural Aid Australia, to deliver hay to Broken Hill. We also accepted over the counter donations for the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal, matched employee drought relief donations to organisations through our Workplace Giving platform and donated $100,000 to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal to assist with drought recovery and support.
Embodying the spirit of Everyone Matters, our sites right across the country supported drought-affected communities by raising funds through barbecues and events, donating clothing and food and delivering packages to those in need.
CASE STUDY: Finding a way
Our communities were faced with hardship this year from the devastating floods in Queensland and damaging fires in Tasmania and Victoria.
As well as impacting their lives at home, our people had to find ways to continue to do their job while our networks and facilities were being impacted. Business Hubs Area Manager Sue Riley from Queensland did just that.
She was instrumental in the clean up and recovery efforts for staff impacted by the Townsville Floods, coordinating and delivering care packages to staff and the local community, and providing vital emotional support to those in need.
She went above and beyond helping with the clean-up efforts in staff homes after the flooding – not afraid to do the heavy lifting – wielding a shovel and a broom.
And when Sue found that the flood waters were preventing care packages getting through to people at Ayr, she worked with Kirsty Cullen at Ayr Post Office to get a flatbed tilt truck to put the van on and get it across the flood water.
Sue’s efforts were recognised with the Find a Way Award at our Community and Consumer Awards evening. Sue was recognised for her preparedness to find a way to get the job done and, in the process, create a better future for her colleagues, our customers and the community.