Stamps going up to $1

What can you buy for $1?

You certainly can’t buy a newspaper. The Herald Sun costs $1.40 on weekdays; The Age costs $2.50; The Australian is $2.70.

So I’m finding it difficult to be too outraged at standard stamps going up to $1. In fact this letter in Saturday’s Age perfectly sums up how I feel about it:

For $1, I can send a letter from the most out-of-the-way PO in the local store in Victoria for delivery to the most remote location in the Kimberley. What else can I buy for $1? Not much. Can a competitor deliver a letter from one side of Sunbury to the other for $1? No. People still use mail when it is the appropriate method. We long ago switched to fax then email where appropriate, including because they are cheaper and quicker. The price increase from hardly anything to not much will not change most decisions. Please, public, stop complaining about this trivial price increase.

Don Hampshire, Sunbury

70 cent stamps, 2015

Granted, it’s a jump from the old price of 70 cents.

Notably, concession stamps are available for concession card holders — up to 50 per year, at 60 cents each, so hopefully those on lower incomes (including seniors) who still send a lot of letters won’t feel a huge impact.

But for most of us, technology means regular letters are just not something we send as often as we used to. I still send a few Christmas cards in December, but I probably receive more parcels (via online shopping) than I send letters.

On the occasion that I do send letters, a dollar (or even $1.50 for “Priority”) for transporting physical paper, whether it’s across the city or across the country, still feels like a bargain to me.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

12 replies on “Stamps going up to $1”

Don’t get me started on what a rip-off The Age is, particularly when the paper is about 10 pages thick at this time of year.

Sure, put up the price and make people pay more for a worse service. I am sure that will go FINE Australia Post.

Already is really annoying when I hardly have a lunch break to have to go and post something. Even going on Saturdays is not too goo. I used to have a better relationship with the Caulfield North branch and they get a lot of annoying customers.

Large letters are a different story. Can’t exactly send movies and games across the country for the price of a single stamp. Anyone who has sold something of the sort on the internet (eBay, Gumtree, Amazon etc.) will know how difficult it is trying to send low-cost items. To send a DVD or PlayStation 2, Xbox/360 or GameCube/Wii/U game it costs $3 if it weighs over 125g (and only if it’s under 20mm thick including the packaging itself), and that doesn’t include tracking or signature on delivery (Registered Post costs an extra $3 or so). Blu-Ray discs and PS3/PS4 or Xbox One games usually cost $2 at the counter due to the lower weight (unless the instruction manual pushes it over 125g again, or if it has multiple discs). The only alternative is Parcel Post which bumps up the price to $7.45. Do I need to mention that Australia Post practically halved their mail delivery service too? We’re not talking about diminishing a badly-performing bus timetable here, this is the Australian Postal Corporation covering the whole country!

I read somewhere that under some international postal convention, international postal deliveries of parcels only pay the destination postal service the price of a domestic letter, not the price that would be paid by a domestic parcel of the same size. This may be one reason for the postal price hike.

To the best of my knowledge, international postal delivery of parcels doesn’t pay the destination service anything. Nothing at all. It costs Australia Post huge amounts to deliver all those ebay and amazon packages. And they get zero revenue for it. The high cost of postage makes buying anything from an Australian supplier prohibitively expensive. The international agreement was devised by the Europeans 150 years ago, when they expected roughly symmetric volumes of mail between their countries, so the costs would balance out.

The concerns I have are the existing huge difference in price when a parcel is more than 20mm thick, and the puny entitlement (50/yr) for concession card holders.

A job seeker will need much more – I’d say 500 concession stamps per year (and it’s probably better to do it on a monthly rate – 42 per month). They reckon that 80% of job advertisements are still advertised on dead-tree media (it’s probably 100% in some industries) and the Centrelink rules said 8 applications per fortnight, which Eric Abetz wanted to increase substantially. And then you have job seekers in Footscray unable to get broadband (that is to say, no ADSL or similar, at any price). But I think any job seeker doing an honest effort might clock up double that, anyway, and I’ve heard of a few who’s fired off 800+ applications.

Now if Australia Post wants to specifically target job seekers for the increased entitlement (leaving others at 50/yr) I’d have no problem.

[Footscray: read as “various suburbs dotted all over the large cities of Australia, where there’s no NBN nor ADSL due to cruddy copper or any number of other excuses Telstra might have, as well as, of course, most rural locations”]

As I understand it, only standard stamps are regulated. Australia Post can and does determine its own pricing for parcels, large letters, express post, and other products.

@Tom/@enno, not sure — Wikpedia says:

In 1969, the UPU introduced a new system of payment where fees were payable between countries according to the difference in the total weight of mail between them. These fees were called terminal dues. Ultimately, this new system was fairer when traffic was heavier in one direction than the other.

See also: Why does the U.S. deliver foreign mail when we don’t get any money for the stamps? — this has some of the history.

@Nick, a couple of thoughts…

I doubt 80% of job ads are offline, other than in the sense that I recall a figure like 80% of job vacancies not being advertised publicly at all.

Footscray has ADSL, and some parts are apparently getting NBN soon. The question might be whether those on limited incomes can afford broadband and computer access, but if I were in that situation, I’d be making for the local library. (Footscray is gentrifying fast by the way, with many $1 million+ properties now.)

Clarification: various people in various suburbs are told that ADSL access is not available, on a fairly regular basis. I’ve seen reports from Footscray, Springvale, (Brisbane suburb I can’t remember), Point Cook, and numerous reports on the Gold Coast. Of course you can pay $10,000+ to Telstra to do a transposition (or some such trickery), but that’s like telling someone in Rowville to pay $200m+ if they want a train line.

Yes, the NBN is slowly improving things.

Don Hampshire, competition is not allowed. AUS Post has been a monopoly for decades or possibly 205 years.

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