Australia Post disclosed confidential information to law enforcement, security and other government agencies more than 10,000 times in 2013-14, an increase of 25 per cent over the past four years.
According to statistics released by the postal corporation, "specially protected" information, which includes information about letters and parcels and other private client information was provided to government agencies by Australia Post on 5635 occasions – more than twice the number four years ago.
Federal government investigators accessing specially protected information include the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Australian Customs Service, the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency.
Read more: Australia Post data shows more mail being accessed by government agencies.
Australian Post has refused to reveal how much managing director Ahmed Fahour was paid last financial year, as it reported a 35 per cent slide in profit from its crumbling letters delivery sector.
Mr Fahour was last year paid $4.8 million, which is believed to be a record for an Australia public servant. In comparison, the chief of the US Postal Service earned $384,229 in 2012.
Australia Post released its profit results for 2013-14 on Thursday and refused to disclose his salary until the annual report is tabled in Parliament in October.
An Australia Post spokeswoman said: “We are reporting our results today in line with other large GBEs [government business enterprises] and at the recommendation of our shareholder. The salary of the managing director and CEO will be made available in the annual report, yet to be tabled in Parliament.”
The lack of transparency has angered Printing Industry Association of Australia, which represents big mail users from the print and packaging industries.
Read more: Australia Post won’t divulge boss’s salary as letters profit dives 35 per cent.
Australia Post could be given the OK to end the everyday delivery of standard mail and introduce a two-tiered pricing system as early as year’s end, under reforms being considered by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Mr Turnbull is expected to present a rescue package for Australia Post, including three-day-a-week delivery for standard mail, to federal cabinet within months.
Mr Turnbull is also actively considering allowing the company to introduce a two-tiered pricing system, similar to Britain’s second-class mail service, for non-urgent letter deliveries. Customers wanting speedier letter delivery would pay more than the standard rate.
Safeguards for disadvantaged Australians, including pensioners, would be included in the reform package.
Read more: Australia Post deliveries could be reduced to three a week by end of year.
The postal workers’ union will contemplate industrial action over Australia Post’s plan to axe 900 jobs.
The federal government-owned corporation announced the cuts at 5pm on Tuesday, with its Melbourne head office expected to bear the brunt of the losses with jobs also to go in NSW and other states.
Managers and support staff are among those on the chopping block and Australia Post has ruled out any cuts to frontline services – including retail staff and posties.
Jim Metcher, from the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union, said the body was weighing up whether to strike.
‘We don’t rule out anything in terms of any campaigns to be conducted by the union, involving the workforce against Australia Post,’ Mr Metcher told AAP.
The union boss wrote to Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour, who reportedly earns $4.8 million a year, on Wednesday calling for a meeting to discuss the job cuts in detail.
via Australia Post workers consider striking.
The ACTU has slammed the almost $5 million salary being paid to Australia Post chief Ahmed Fahour as the government-owned company prepares to axe 900 staff.
The blast from the nation’s peak union body came amid a threat of industrial action in response to Australia Post’s confirmation on Tuesday of massive job cuts, the majority of which will be made at its headquarters in Melbourne over the next 12 months.
ACTU secretary Dave Oliver on Wednesday said the salary paid to Mr Fahour, a former National Australia Bank chief, is particularly extraordinary at a time when there are calls from business leaders and other high earners to lower wages and even drop the minimum wage.
‘Something is wrong when Australia Post chief Ahmed Fahour is paid millions a year but 900 workers, possibly more to come, are losing their jobs because of lack of profitability,’ Mr Oliver told AAP on Wednesday.
via Aust post chief's $4.8m a year criticised.
Australia Post will go the way of Kodak and the local video store without a fundamental transformation of the business, according to chief executive Ahmed Fahour, who confirmed the company would axe 900 jobs over the next 12 months.
Most of the job losses will come from Australia Post’s head office in Melbourne, with managerial, administrative and support roles most affected.
Mr Fahour also confirmed he was lobbying the federal government to relax Australia Post’s Community Services Obligation to deliver standard mail to homes five days a week.
Read more: Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour confirms 900 jobs will be axed.
Mail should be delivered daily in regional areas but it is fair to expect city residents to visit the post office more often to pick up their mail, according to Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss. The National Party leader accepts Australia Post faces a “crisis” because of a collapse in letter revenues.
Fairfax Media today reports that Australia Post is set to announce 900 job losses as early as Tuesday. Australia Post executives have lobbied the government to reduce its five-day mail service – which is currently required by legislation – to three days.
Read more: No sell-off but Australia Post delivery reduction to be felt by city dwellers.
The government has ruled out selling Australia Post for now, but says the future of our mail service is uncertain due to dwindling demand.
There are reports Australia Post is set to cut 900 jobs, as it tries to avoid losing billions of dollars under its current business plan.
Its 32,000 staff are expected to be informed of the cuts as early as Tuesday, with most positions to go in Sydney and Melbourne.
Everyday home delivery of standard-priced mail is expected to be another casualty, with the service to be cut back to two or three times a week providing approval can be sought to change government regulations.
Read more: Govt rules out Aust Post sale, for now.
Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says the Abbott government will not sell Australia Post, however it will proceed with a scoping study into the sale of the Royal Australian Mint.
There has been increasing speculation about the possible sale of the iconic postal delivery service after Treasurer Joe Hockey earlier this year left open the possibility of its privatisation.
Earlier this month Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims urged the government to sell assets to increase productivity, and former ACCC commissioner Stephen King came out strongly in favour of a sale of Australia Post.
Read more: Abbott government rules out privatisation of Australia Post.
Australia Post has revealed that its digital mailbox service left beta testing and has been formally released.
The digital mail service, intended to be a more secure version of email for bills and other important documents, went into public beta last year.
An Australia Post spokeswoman said the postal service continues to add providers supporting service.
In addition to the formal launch of the digital mailbox, Australia Post said it would also scale up its physical mail services, including year-round delivery on Saturdays. The announcement comes at a time when debate in the United States occurs around whether to kill Saturday deliveries to save money for the US Postal Service.
Read more: Australia Post digital mailbox exits beta – Computerworld.