At last, a long overdue inquiry into Australia Post and its treatment of Licensees.
Below is our letter that was sent to interested senators prior to the recent senate inquiry.
re LPO Licencees and Australia Post
I have been asked to hurriedly prepare a short overview of my observations of the treatment by Australia Post of LPO Licensees. I have acted for a number of licensees over the last 5 to 10 years in relation to disputes with Australia Post.
The disputes invariably relate to alleged unfair treatment by Australia Post of the licensees.
The specific allegations and complaints vary from case to case but include allegations of;
(a) Unfair trade practices;
(b) Bullying conduct;
(c) Unjustified raids on LPO premises;
(d) Inadequate remuneration;
In my view, in most cases there was evidence to support the allegations. Also in my view, Australia Post generally takes a tough stance, forcing the licensee into substantial legal costs and an expensive distraction from his/her business. The LPO agreement requires disputes in the first instance to be dealt with at a mediation. If and when Australia Post agrees to some compromise to settle the dispute, the licensee is usually required to sign a confidentiality agreement which means that other licensees are not made aware of the compromise.
It has always struck me as strange that Australia Post takes such a hard line with licensees in circumstances where one would think, the maintenance of goodwill in the relationship should be a priority. However, I think that little regard is given to that factor and Australia Post’s primary focus appears to be on the best
financial outcome for Australia Post, usually to the financial detriment of the licensee.
It goes without saying that it is always a lop sided contest with the might of Australia Post up against the financially struggling and time–poor licensee.
I am happy to expand on these quickly prepared and very general observations should you wish me to do so.”
I received an email reply from Senator Bridget McKenzie on 10 December 2013 saying “I agree and it seems from evidence at the Senate inquiry on Friday that this is the case”.
Maybe there is relief in sight for licensees ! !
Contact Pat Campion, our specialist legal advisor on all matters relating to post office shop ownership and management.