Australia Post price rise gets stamp of approval
A basic stamp price rise to $1.10 is on the cards from January next year.
Australia Post's plan to increase the cost of posting a standard letter by 10c has the blessing of the nation's consumer watchdog.
If given a final seal of approval, the stamp price for big letters up to 125g also will rise by 20c, to $2.20.
The price for big letters up to 250g will increase by 30c, to $3.30.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said: "We are satisfied that the proposed price increases are unlikely to result in Australia Post recovering more than its cost of providing monopoly letter services, given the forecast decline in letter volumes".
The ACCC will release a final decision after it receives a formal notification from Australia Post, likely next month. Federal government approval is also needed.
The cost of a basic stamp last rose in January, 2016 - up from 70c to $1.
Since then, the number of letters being sent has plummeted, and is tipped to slump further as many people switch over to email and online platforms.
Australia Post has opted to freeze concession stamp prices at 60c. Christmas "season's greetings" stamps will also remain at 65c, and priority labels at 50c.
The government-owned company blamed a sharp decline in its letter business for its 70 per cent fall in net profit to $40.6 million for the past financial year.
Its push for local stamp price increases follows recent 20c price rises to send letters overseas. Some international parcel prices were also jacked up by $2.
Earlier this year, Australia Post chief Christine Holgate told the Herald Sun 820 million fewer letters were being sent now compared to when the last basic domestic postage stamp price rise took place.
Australia Post has argued a price rise is needed to help keep post offices open, particularly in regional and rural areas, and to ensure regular deliveries.
It has said the rise would cost the average letter-sending household less than $1.50 extra a year.
Australia Post has made cost savings from changes, including introducing a two-speed letter delivery system, and having posties deliver more parcels, but the ACCC found it was yet to reach the efficiency levels of comparable overseas postal services.
"The ACCC will continue to monitor Australia Post's progress in this area in considering any future proposal for price increases," Ms Cifuentes said.