Thursday, 28 August 2008
La Trobe Electorate: Australia Post
I rise today to discuss the urgent need for an Australia Post office in Parkhill Plaza in Berwick, which is part of the Timbarra Estate. The population of Berwick, especially in the Timbarra Estate, is growing each week, and it must be coming up to nearly 5,000 residents living in that vicinity. We have existing Australia Post offices in Berwick in the main street and also in Narre Warren.
People like Mr Terry Hornbuckle and Mr Ron Stevens are amongst Berwick residents from Timbarra who have been for some time campaigning to have a post office established at the Parkhill Plaza Shopping Centre. Unfortunately, these attempts have so far been unsuccessful. Many residents who have written to me about this issue, such as Mrs Shirley Cain and Mrs Noreen Winterton, are elderly and experience much discomfort when forced to stand for extended periods. Additional staff at the Berwick main street post office have not assuaged these service matters, meaning that Berwick residents continue to wait in lengthy queues to be served. Part of the problem is obviously that residents from the Timbarra Estate are coming down to the main street of Berwick.
I have raised this matter with both the former minister and the current Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, who have in turn approached Australia Post about this matter. Each time Australia Post has declined my request for an additional Australia Post office at the Parkhill Plaza, stating that its community service obligation is that 90 per cent of residents in the metropolitan area must be within 2.5 kilometres of an Australia Post office. This does not take into account the patronage of these existing post offices, which is at capacity, and ignores examples where Australia Post offices are less than 2.5 kilometres apart. What is more, the collapse of the national electronic payment company Bill Express means that residents of Berwick have no option but to join the lengthy queues at Australia Post offices in the Berwick main street and Narre Warren to pay their bills.
Consider this: if a post office were located at Parkhill Plaza, many residents, and especially elderly residents, who currently drive to the facilities at Berwick and Narre Warren could instead have a leisurely stroll to the Parkhill Plaza. This would be good for their health and the environment. More importantly, Australia Post must do the right thing for the residents of Timbarra. It seems absolutely ridiculous that Australia Post ignores the wishes of the residents of the ever growing Timbarra Estate.