Australia Post’s NT manager has rubbished claims the postal service is sitting on “stockpiles” of packages waiting to be distributed across the Darwin region, as Territorians flood the company with complaints over long delays receiving shipments.
NT manager Fiona McKenzie says it’s been a difficult time for Australia Post, which has seen record high volumes of packages across the national network in the lead up to the busy Christmas season.
“There’s been a lot of online shopping and we’ve seen behaviour change during the coronavirus [pandemic] that people have been buying online more, less bricks and mortar retail shopping and switching to online volumes,” Ms McKenzie told ABC Radio Friday morning.
“The volumes … have been bigger than our peak Christmas period last year.
“All I can say is, we know that Australians are relying on us, and we are all working extremely hard to deliver the letters and parcels to people.”
Ms McKenzie said Australia Post has recently opened a second facility in Darwin and has added over 20 Christmas casuals in the NT to gear up for a busier than normal holiday season.
She is urging everyone to post their Christmas shipments early this year to avoid disappointment.
Australia Post has hired approximately 4,000 positions nationwide for an unprecedented Christmas scenario in the network’s operations due to coronavirus restrictions.
However, delays in deliveries across the Darwin region have led to Aus Post being bombarded with complaints, with many taking to social media to air their disappointment. Some have suggested packages that have arrived in Darwin are inexplicably taking weeks to be delivered from the Winnellie processing facility.
“Last week I had a parcel marked missing by Aus Post after it stayed at Winnellie for 6 weeks,” one unhappy customer wrote on Facebook this week. “Yesterday I had to mark another enquiry yet again after another parcel was processed and then stuck at Winnellie for 2 weeks. What on earth?”
Ms McKenzie said the coronavirus pandemic has led to changes in the way the company delivers, adding that while there is an increased volume in parcels, there is a decrease in flights that come into the Territory over this period due to travel restrictions.
She denied that they are sitting on stockpiles of letters and parcels waiting to be dispatched from their warehouse.
“No, we don’t have stock – we don’t have stockpiles sitting waiting for dispatch,” she said.
She added that they’ve made alternative delivery arrangements.
“We’re using rather than passenger flights, we’re using private planes, we’ve changed our method of getting the post into Australia, into Darwin.”
She said they couldn’t provide a timeline as to when deliveries would go back to pre-COVID-19 operations as flights coming in and out of the Territory are out of their control.
“We are working extremely hard at Australia Post, to get everything out for Christmas,” Ms McKenzie said. “We want it to be a very Merry Christmas for everybody.”
Blaming flights and COVID-19 for the delays was called into question on Friday by one ABC Radio listener who claimed general mail had until recently come on an express road train, but that changes to outsource the road train service has led to the delays.