Letterboxing wins COVID essential service classification

The Real Media Collective says letterbox distribution is now officially considered an essential supply chain service – a move that further bolsters print during COVID.

Up until now the letterbox distribution sector has been in limbo-land with authorities classifying it under Australia Post or independent contracting. As a result of this, the letterbox distribution sector has not been formally recognised as an essential service which has put it at risk during COVID lockdowns.

The Real Media Collective CEO Kellie Northwood says letterboxing will now join print manufacturing and be classified as an essential supply chain service so it can still operate in lockdowns.

Northwood said this now means all of the Collective’s member sectors – paper, print, mail, publishing and letterbox distribution – are included in the able to operate list from the government.

She also pointed that Victoria’s Acting Premier, James Merlino, also referenced the importance of letterbox distribution during his press conference yesterday announcing the lockdown extension for Melbourne.

“There has always been a lot of questions about letterboxing – does it fit under distribution? Does it fit under Australia Post? Or independent contracting?,” Northwood told Sprinter.

“Letterboxing often falls under postal services, which is Australia Post, but we are not Australia Post so we sit in a limbo land despite having a very safe delivery mode. We have had to work to get letterboxing included under the print media, postage, mail side which is what we have done.

“Printing is often pushed under manufacturing but letterbox distribution is not manufacturing so we are pleased to get it across the line as mail communication is really important during a pandemic and even more so I was thrilled that the Acting Premier (James Merlino) even spoke about the importance of letterboxing in his press conference (yesterday).”

Northwood said the decision to recognise letterboxing as an essential service in line with printing has come after TRMC lobbied the government about the industry’s COVID safe protocols.

“We have provided to government throughout the entire COVID pandemic our industry’s safety protocols, warehouse style operations and our limitation of staff only into our premises. To have all our member categories secured to operate is a good outcome for our members and we will be issuing a notice to all members highlighting the changes and that we must remain vigilant to ensure our industry can remain open for business,” she said.

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