Australia Post has announced that it will continue to deliver perishable goods across the country as it works on a solution to complex cross-state regulatory requirements.

Earlier in the week it had announced that it would cease the delivery of perishable items from 30 June, due to complex regulatory requirements, which differ across states and territories.

This announcement came as a blow to many small food producers who rely on Australia Post to deliver their goods across the country.

But the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has agreed to work with Australia Post on a solution, and an industry working forum has been established.

The forum, to be co-chaired by Small Business Ombudsman, Bruce Billson, will have representatives from industry bodies, the small business sector and producers to find possible solutions to the complex regulatory requirements for moving these goods through the delivery network.

Rodney Boys, Acting Group CEO and MD Australia Post, said this is an important and complex landscape that is best approached by working closely with customers, industry bodies and regulators.

“We recognise the original date for ceasing perishable transport through our network would cause significant disruption to small businesses, many who have experienced significant growth in e-commerce sales during COVID-19,” Boys said.

“Through this new forum, we will better understand what our customer capabilities and needs are and work hand-in-hand with regulators to determine, where changes may be required.

“I am so pleased Bruce Billson has agreed to co-chair this forum with Australia Post to develop a long-term, sustainable solution to support this growing e-commerce industry.”

Billson said he’s looking forward to working with Australia Post to ensure this essential service is available to small business food producers.

“We welcome this opportunity to work collaboratively with Australia Post to ensure small business food producers can continue to count on their delivery services,” he said.

“I am encouraged by the willingness of Australia Post and industry stakeholders to work together to help resolve any issues Australia Post is experiencing across its delivery network.

“So, let’s roll up our sleeves so that we can achieve a better outcome for e-commerce powered small businesses who rely on these essential postage services.”

Australia Post will continue to ship perishable goods as this forum continues to convene, with the first meeting between Australia Post and the Ombudsman to occur on 27 April.

The broader industry group will then meet in May, with a view to hold regular sessions with key regulatory bodies, government agencies and e-commerce experts.

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