Australia Post supports 10,800 jobs in rural and remote areas

08 March 2020 5 min. read

Economic inclusivity of some of the remote rural areas is a particular challenge for a geographically expansive country like Australia, although the large infrastructure laid down by Australia Post adds more than $800 million in economic benefits for these regions. Deloitte was commissioned to measure Australia Post’s economic impact.

The Big Four accounting and advisory firm has produced a detailed report that shows Australia Post’s economic impact in rural areas extends beyond just the direct benefits of connectivity. The report is based on responses from 2,000 Australians who live in “regional and remote areas” in the country.

While these areas receive access to a number of basic government services such as education, healthcare and government services, Deloitte suggests that these regions generally lag behind in terms of employment and growth. Urban areas in Australia house the lion’s share of economic activity, and the employment opportunities, income and equality in the rural areas is lower and less diverse.

Change in the perceived role of the post o ce in regional areas over the past  ve years

With more than 2,500 post offices, Australia Post is one of the key economic players in remote areas. These areas account for a significant portion of Australia Post’s operations across the country, with for instance a third of all financial transactions conducted by the company taking place in remote areas, as do 40% of total parcel collections.

According to the Deloitte Access Economics report, the concentration of activities in these areas has a number of far reaching benefits. One is e-commerce. Approximately half of regional Australians make an online purchase requiring delivery at least once a month, and the total value of e-commerce in regional areas is estimated to be over $10 billion. In numbers, almost 36 million parcels were collected in regional post offices and hubs last year.

Australia’s ecommerce environment is thriving, and Australia Post’s rural reach is ensuring that remote areas are a part of this growth story.

Perceived impact of the closure of a local post office closure

The organisation’s financial activity is also a strong benefit to remote areas, while the distribution of post offices across these regions acts as a means for regional businesses to connect the rest of the economy. As many as 96% of the respondents in the survey reported having a local post office. Business owners are taking advantage of this accessibility, with Deloitte reporting that business owners made as many as 25 visits to the post office over the last six months alone. All this adds up to substantial economic benefits for the region.

“Australia Post has a sizeable economic footprint through its own operations and purchases in regional, rural and remote communities. Its total economic contribution in regional and remote Australia was $806 million in gross regional product and 10,802 full-time equivalent jobs in FY2019,” states the report.

The survey also highlights that most business owners in remote regions appreciate the value of Australia Post’s local presence. Regional business owners are significantly more likely to have visited a post office in order to send parcels: 84% of this cohort have used this service at a post office in the past 6 months, compared with 74% of other regional residents.

Proportion of Regional and Remote Australian that used non-postal services at the post o ce in the past six months, by vulnerable cohort

Amongst other services, business owners are also more likely to have visited a post office to complete a banking transaction, with 33% having used this service at a post office in the past 6 months, compared with only 20% of other regional residents.

Broader, citizens in rural areas report that the local post office facilitates support that extends beyond the delivery of mail, parcels and services. Respondents reported that Australia Post further supports locals with complex applications, information on local events, support for local events, and skill development, among others.

Interestingly, in a rapidly digitising world, the role of a post office is seeming to only growing in stature. Conversely, if a local post office were to be closed, respondents anticipated that they would lose access to services and would grow increasingly isolated. These scenarios apply particularly to vulnerable segments of society.