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Red letter day: Australia Post sets record with 2.5 million deliveries

Business

Australia Post is believed to have recorded the busiest delivery day in its history, with more than 2.5 million parcels and letters dropped off around the country yesterday.

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But the service is struggling to keep up with demand and is plagued with delays, particularly in Victoria where online shopping is booming but the workforce is limited by the lockdown.

“In Victoria, we’re really under strain, I don’t think there’s any other way to say that,” Colin Hindle, Australia Post’s head of network implementation, said.

“We’ve still got extra processing sites, but with the restrictions … the reduction in manpower with the increase in volume, that’s going to put any business under strain.”There is an average one-day delay for parcel delivery in New South Wales, while in Victoria it is three to four days, the company confirmed.

Essential products are being prioritised.

Australia Post has had to shrink its Victorian headcount by a third during the busiest shift of the day, move staff to split shifts and allow time for extra cleaning.

It has asked major retailers to stop posting on weekends and is sending Victorian parcels to NSW to be sorted as it tries to reduce the backlog.

Chief executive Christine Holgate said the operating costs were huge because of the lockdown.

“We’re having to charter planes … I have 18 pop-up processing facilities … I spent $20 million extra on PPE [personal protective equipment] for our people. They are extreme extra costs,” Holgate said.

Holgate has given her strongest indication yet that she and her executive team may take bonuses, despite ruling it out on March 31 this year.

“It’s pretty black and white … the [executive team] has led our business through one of the most challenging periods … and yet they’ve still delivered a fantastic result,” she said.

“I’m very proud of them. Whether they get paid a bonus of not, the board can decide.”

Last week, the company posted a record $7.5 billion in revenue for the 2019-2020 financial year, largely driven by the boom in parcels.

Staff have already been given a $650 “thank you payment” for their work during the pandemic.

-ABC

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